The Netherlands – Utrecht

St Willibrordkerk, Train More and Random Sightseeing

On our way from Amsterdam to Utrecht we accidentally got on the ‘first class’ part of train, but we didn’t bother changing as the doors closed before we could hop onto the next carriage. While we were watching Bobs Burgers the ticket lady came through our area, we shat bricks and said hello, but she kept walking. I was extremely paranoid.

We got to our Hostel which had super steep stairs and did some admin stuff like booking our next places, updating the blog and went food shopping. We got cash out at Rabobank and with our Citibank cards there weren’t any fees. We didn’t realise that the Jumbo Supermarkets are a lot cheaper than the Plus supermarkets, so we made a note for our next food shop.

We decided to explore later that night and went to St Willibrordkerk church, which was close to our Hostel. I also bought a week pass for 35 euros to Train More gym – they had bumper plates, kettlebells and a rower; I was sold.

While I was at the gym, Ricky had a phone interview with a recruiter for a job in Ireland. After that he did some Duolingo, uploaded photos and relaxed.

We went for a walk and stumbled on the water museum (really cool looking), windmill restaurant, canals, Janskerkhof church and made our way home. We were going to do the light tour (Trajectum Lumen) but didn’t get dark until like 10:30 (we left around 9:30).

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(Water Tower)

DOM Tower, Meener Smackers and Free Beer Tour

Overnight we discovered one of our roomies (6 bed dorm) was an absolute weirdo, Ricky renamed him ‘Fuckhead coughing, balls out, fart butt wanker’. We went to the shops, pharmacy and music store across the road before heading out to do touristy things.

Our first stop was the DOM tower/St Martin’s Catherdal. The church is cool outside but the inside wasn’t much to look at; the little garden within it is nice. We got to the bottom of the tower to find out it was 9EU for 1 hour, so we didn’t bother.

We hired kayaks and went on the intermediate length route around the canals. It took us 2 hours and $10 EU each, definitely worth it!

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We had a couple of hiccups along the way (we got the hang of it eventually), but I did get pushed into a thorn bush and we went the wrong direction once. Some of the canals within Utrecht are not assessable by boat, so you can only go down these canals by kayaks.

We went back to hostel for lunch and booked some stuff for our next leg of the trip. I went to the gym while Ricky cooked dinner. When we sat down to eat it, the meat smelt really funny to me. The expiry date was that day so I didn’t want to risk it (Ricky already ate a few pieces and didn’t end up getting sick) .

Our 2nd attempt at dinner was at Meener Smackers (Mister Smackers); a really popular burger place. Ricky even made the comment ‘possibly the best I’ve ever had’, he got the Mister Smackers + Egg.

After burgers, we wandered around for a while and went to Restaurant Oudaen. We asked about the brewery tour and were told that  you need a minimum of 10 people, but the bar staff told us to go downstairs and speak to the brewer anyway. He (Ralph – Assistant Brewer) said he’d give us a tour after the current group left so we left and bummed around near the canals for a while. We awkwardly sat on a bench for 20minutes while some drunk uni students were yelling things to us from their top floor; did we understand them? Not one bit.

After the time was up, we went down and  had a good 10 minute tour with some free samples. We tipped him  and he was really thankful/wasn’t expecting anything at all then went upstairs and had some beers. I had the Ouwe Daen (wheat beer – the best we’ve had) and Ricky had the Tripel (the Tripel from the Amsterdam brewery was nicer but this was still good).

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After that it was getting dark so we did the Trajectum Lumen tour (1-9 at least anyway). The first two weren’t working but after that all good, surprisingly fun following the map and looking out for them. By the time we got to 9 it was around 11:30 and I had to pee so we went home.

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HEMA, Botanical Gardens and Rietveld Schroeder House

We woke up late and witnessed some incredibly awkward moments with weirdo guy and our poor new Romanian friend Cristina. After breakfast and multiple coffees we went shopping for Ricky to buy more undies and socks. We found that HEMA was the cheapest, think Target crossed with IKEA. We went food shopping at the Jumbo and quickly came back to meet Christina at 2pm to go to the botanical gardens. We got to meet Lola, the hostel dog (black Labrador).

We took the bus to the Botanical gardens (7.5 adult, 2.5 student to enter) incl. Fort Hoofddijk. It was actually pretty good, a lot bigger than we first expected walking around the inner lake area.

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After spending about 2 hours wandering the garden we walked about 2km to the Rietveld Schroeder house, arriving at 4.45 (closes at 5). Not that we were planning on doing a tour, but it was 15.5 for adults and 8.5 for students. The house was very cool on the outside (especially given it’s from 1924) but don’t think it’s worth the money to go in, would definitely recommend to see it though.

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The walk back to the Hostel was really nice, about 2km and we got to go through Wilhemapark. We both had quick showers and made some dinner, so we could meet up with our other roomie, Melissa who is Canadian. We went back to Restaurant Oudaen and Cristina met us there as well with her Portuguese boyfriend, Christiano. We had beers and played Briscola for about an hour. The beers we had were the Ouwe Daen, Lentebock, Tripel and Dubble Daen; Ricky was torn between the last two. He really wanted to try the Stout and the Herfstbock but they didn’t have them.

We all went back to the hostel, had tea (party animals!!) and played more Briscola in the common room and then played bullshit until about 12:30 and went to bed. We got yelled at by weirdo guy because he wanted to watch the walking dead in the common room without head phones. The Dutch girls in the corner were making too much noise so he’d crank the TV; which resulted in reception ripping weirdo guy a new one.

Notes:

Accomodation: Stone Hostel

Trajectum Lumen: Download the app to get around. We only got up to number 10.

Fun Facts: coffee shop = weed, cafe = coffee, coffee bar = unknown.

Night kayaking: Only runs once a fortnight, try to tee it up if you can, looks awesome!

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