sat 24 feb 2007 19:48:21 raamgracht
was tourist in utrecht
i just got back from utrecht.
you would never know from getting off at the train staion -- with the convention center on one side and a huge sprawling shopping mall on the other -- that utrecht is actually a lovely city. at first i was panicking because i could not find a way out to the street. like any evil shopping mall, the hoog catherijne mall people don't *want* you to escape. i told miss b it reminded me of las vegas and how the casinos conspire to make you walk through them. as far as i can tell, there is no way to get from utrecht centraal station directly to utrecht city centrum, without walking through the shopping center. i find that singularly bizarre and frightening. as winston bayne puts it: "it's the world, man. it goes on and on forever, just like this."
but once you actually get there, utrecht has got some very pretty places in it.
miss b walked me around town. she showed me the domtoren, which is a tower 112 meters tall, built in the 1300s. there's a tall archway through the middle of it, you can walk under and then cross the square that used to be the nave of the church, but the nave blew down in a tornado in august 1674.
and we walked around an old klooster garden, and we walked along the kade by some of the werfkelders on the oude gracht. a werfkelder (wharf cellar) is a cool space, it's under the street but comes out at canal level. and in one place there's a nice old tunnel leading down from the street to the werf. she said there are catacombs beneath the city hall too, where sometimes there are kinky parties. we had lunch at a place called de winkel van sinkel, which used to be a department store but is now a ballroom/restaurant. then we went to de slegte and looked at some books, and then it was about 1800 and getting dark, so i decided i'd better head back.
so many nice locations in utrecht, i want to go shoot something there.
when i go to a place like that, it makes me feel like i did years ago, when i was always a tourist whenever i came to holland. same thing happened to me that day i went to walk around haarlem with cathelijne last fall. it's kind of a nice feeling, being a tourist.