I’ve wanted to go to Utrecht for a while, ever since I found this Guardian list of top places to visit this year, and Utrecht was one of them.
It seems quite fashionable to visit the 2nd, 3rd or even 4th city in a country now. It’s like you’re saying ‘I’m so cool I don’t even visit the obvious places when I go somewhere’.
Consequently the hip place to go becomes Utrecht rather than Amsterdam, Porto rather than Lisbon, Brisbane rather than Sydney or Melbourne, etc, etc.
Actually, Utrecht wasn’t a bad choice. It has a very relaxed, laid-back feel and comes over as a very liveable city, although you’d have to pick it up and dump it down in the middle of the Mediterranean for me to seriously consider living there. I was lucky with the weather; most of the year it could rival London for rain and grey skies.
Utrecht was the start for the Tour de France bike race this year, and the city is not letting us forget that. I was there just a couple of days before the kick off (pedal off?).
The city is dominated by Dom tower (really you can see it from just about anywhere). This is, apparently, the highest church tower in the country. There are 465 steps if you want to climb to the top. In the 33 degree heat on the day I visited, I didn’t. However I read later that you can see as far as Amsterdam from the tower, so maybe I should have made the effort.
Instead I wandered into the Cloister garden next door.