Monday, January 25, 2010

A winter walk in Austerlitz

It’s snowed again last weekend and its going to be -9C tonight in Utrecht (-12C up north). Early this month the Netherlands and Europe was plague with a snowstorm, one after the other, snow was 30 centimeters deep and I heard—while I was in Mexico, that Amsterdam Schiphol Airport was shut down because of very bad weather. I hope that’s not going to happen again although I’ll be a hypocrite if I say I don’t love snow.

It is lovely to go out when the grounds are covered with snow (and not snowing anymore), so Dutchman and I had a nice walk yesterday in Austerlitz in Utrechtse Heuvelrug forest. The Utrechtse Heuvelrug is H-U-G-E, this wooded area stretches from Zeist all the way down to Rhenen near Wageningen snaking along the path of the River Lek bordering Utrecht and Gelderland provinces. Austerlitz is located near Driebergen, Zeist and Maarn, a place where I would love to relocate if we find the right house there.

A sign board from the forest management -- Welkom in Austerlitz! We saw die hard joggers and there were a few couples out for a walk on that crisp Sunday.

Lovely horses on the snow field, nice contrast from the black and white background. Next foto is a junction in the forest with a bench and a bikers monument fountain (it has a nice bronze plaque around it with embossed figures of people on their bikes).

The wooden statue shows the direction to an old camp in the forest. On the middle foto is a map of Austerlitz and surroundings. Foto on the right is a row of trees and a fietspad (a bike path).

We probably walked six to seven kilometers, maybe more until it was dark. We noticed a lot of bike routes in the area too, which is another great outdoor weekend activity, well for the sporty types, cycle from one village and forest to another.

A few weeks ago before I went to Mexico, we also did a nature walk in Lage Vuursche, actually another winter in wonderland walk and I will post a separate entry and fotos of this after I’m done with my Mexican series—there’s three more entries to go!

A few more fotos here: Austerlitz, Utrecht - The Netherlands

A lonely snow covered path in the forest which looks bald now because its winter time. Next foto is the evidence that I have, one way or another, gotten lost between the bushes, and had to comb myself out of it.

I’m a sucker for charming cafes and restaurants to stop by after a long walk in the forest, so in a way we got lucky that we picked Austerlitz—thank you google, because the parking area of one of the entrances to the forest is across a theater café called the Beauforthuis, with its high arched glass windows, bell tower and lofty ceilings you’d mistake the restaurant for a mid-size church, which technically previously was.

Arriving in the theater café—it badly needs a face-and-interior lift and they are accepting donations by the way, a piano concert by a pianist Dutchman recognized from TV is just about to commence. It was past 6PM. We ordered our drinks and sat in the café while the concert began in the adjoining theater and this sour looking guy stood guarding the door making sure those with no tickets—like us, don’t find ourselves pretending to be lost inside, hehe.

I’ve checked out the list of artists scheduled on their weekend program and thought perhaps in another week or two, maybe three, we come back in the area, do a different walking route this time, somewhere nearby, then afterwards treat ourselves with some hapas (Dutch tapas) and watch a concert of our choice in the theater café.

Visit Period: January 2010
Destination: Austerlitz (Zeist - Utrecht), The Netherlands

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