Saturday, April 23, 2016

Saturday, April 23, 2016: Aalsmeer to Utrecht on back roads; Flower Parade

This morning the weather was typical Dutch, cloudy, but spots of blue sky.  The forecast was for rain later in the day.  Since it is nice this morning we decided to take the ‘back roads’ to the city of Utrecht. Our hostess, TJ, went with us today. Cal drove and she told him which way to go, while I relaxed in the back seat, not having to navigate maps today.  

On our way to Utrecht, we drove along the Vecht River and on the opposite side of river from where many Manor homes are built.  We were able to get some good photos of those lovely homes.  The ones on the side of the river where we were driving were in the shade and we did not photograph any of them. 

This road took us through the village of Bruekelen (Brooklyn).  Brooklyn, New York was named after this town and the spelling was changed to English. We have been to this town before, in fact we have good memories of this town, but today we continued to drive to Utrecht.
Crossing the Vecht River

Houses along the Vecht River

Nijenrode Business University, along the Vecht River

We parked in Utrecht and walked around the old city, enjoying their unique canals.  The canals are lower than the street, thus warehouses are below the streets with doors opening to the canals   Some of these warehouses are now shops, restaurants, etc. We stopped and enjoyed a cup of coffee at a cafĂ© along the street where we could sit in the sun (like the rest of the Dutch).  The temperature was chilly this morning, but being in the sun was perfect. Also before we left Utrecht we bought some frites (French fries) with traditional sauces (sate sauce & frites sauce).  This is the last for traditional Dutch food!
Famous Dutch Street Organ

Marriage Couple in front of the Church Tower

Church Tower

Cloister with Church and Tower

Utrecht Canal

Canal Ride

Those Marvelous Dutch Bakeries

One Last Dutch French Fries (Friets) with either Mayonnaise or Peanut Sauce - Lekker

After leaving Utrecht we drove more ‘back roads’ along canals, to the small village of Haarzuilens, where a lovely castle, De Haar, is located.  But oh did we get into a traffic jam in this small village – traffic was simply stopped!  They were having a medieval fest on the grounds of the castle.  Cars and people were everywhere – about 20- 25% of the people were dressed in costumes.

We finally were able to leave town and went through the villages of Kockengen and Portengen before following the Amstel River north to the main road back to TJ’s home.  It was a beautiful charming drive today.  Old Dutch landscapes, villages, and lush green countryside. 
Country Scenes along the Canal

A Lazy Afternoon

Jams for Sale by the Honor System

This evening we drove about 20 minutes to a location where we could watch a parade of floats made of flowers grown from bulbs, grown in this area.  It was lovely.  They used the hyacinth blooms for the white, purple & pink colors; tulips for the red and orange colors; daffodils for the yellow colors; bulbs themselves for the brown color; the featured flower this year was the black tulip (dark purple) made with deep purple hyacinths.  The parade was lovely, but it was chilly – about 45 degrees! 

Angry Birds

Little Dutch Boy and Girl

We are leaving for home in the morning.  We have seen and done a lot in the past month - there has been something new each day with a variety of experiences.  All has gone very well. It was great to spend time with our daughter, and to see special friends.