Monday, August 17, 2009

Canal biking in Oudegracht

Um, why is it like this? That if you are a local you tend to overlook the most basic touristy attraction of your place. Utrecht has been my home for 7 years. I actually turned 7 years in existence in the Netherlands last 14 August, funny, I just remembered now! Wow, time flew out the window so fast. I should write a meaningful post about this anniversary in this blog. 7 long years.

Anyway, there are 2 things I would like to do in Utrecht that most tourists did: 1) Climb the celebrated 11th century Dom Tower and 2) Take a boat ride through the Oudegracht and the Nieuwegracht.

Waterfiets aka canal bike, the suggested route (see on the map with the dark blue line) is via Oudegracht and Nieuwegracht. Unlike the canals of Amsterdam, Utrecht is peaceful and smaller, you can enjoy a bit of serenity and the town feel in the city.

Venetian gondolas of real Italian replicas. Utrecht has quite a number of bridges and the canal banks are not far from side to side. In the main part of the Oudegracht by the big shops, the canal banks are flanked with cafes and restaurants.

These are some of the Oudegracht views I love, unchanged throughout the changes in time.
I did the second choice although not quite really. Dutchman and I did the canal bike ride weeks ago and we were screaming at each other because none of us could pedal the right way. Now that makes us a fantastic duo. Other tourists on their canal bikes were already eyeing us apprehensively, out of their way, afraid we might collide into them, haha. We just can’t seem to wheel the canal bike straight? we always end up smacking the canal ridge or going backwards, lol. What a joker really.

It took us a while to figure out how to maneuver the canal bike and by then we lost half an hour already of – “Why can’t you glide straight?” “Leave it to me; you are useless with these things.” “For goodness sake, we will slam into that houseboat!” “Watch out!!!”

Stressful; this is a great team building activity for strong type individuals in a relationship, where both want to be the captain of the ship. That’s why relationships only last when you are friends with your partner. I’m glad we are friends; we can laugh about our temper and our stupidity.

Relaxing by a canal terras, there are many of them in Oudegracht; some of these houses cost a lot of money and if you have a car you need to take into consideration parking which is always a hassle and expensive. That's the Dom Tower on the third foto. I'm going to climb her one day.

These rows of lean antiquated buildings always have a dramatic aura in them. On the canal bike, it says - Keep to the right but respect the privacy of the houseboats. Towards Nieuwegracht, there are many houseboats. Families live in them and they are not cheap.

This is right under the Vismarkt bridge and looking towards Utrecht old city hall (the one in yellow). These gorgeous edifices are preserved and if you look under the buildings, you see cellars, they are used to store the spices and wares the Netherlands traded during the Golden Age under the flagship of the VOC.

More fotos can be found here: Oudegracht, Utrecht - The Netherlands

Enjoy the images of Utrecht from the Oudegracht (old canal). We enjoyed it and now that we know how to maneuver the canal bikes, we plan to do this again together with our nieces and nephew. Soon.

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