July 20 ...
("Children dike" in Dutch) is a small village situated in a polder at
the confluence of the Lek and Noord rivers. To drain the polder, a system of
19 windmills was built around 1740. This group of mills is the largest
concentration of old windmills in the Netherlands. The windmills of
Kinderdijk are one of the best-known Dutch tourist sites.
was not good when we drove from Antwerp to Kinderdijk. Luckily when we
arrived in Kinderdijk, the rain had stopped and it was a pleasant day to
stroll around the windmills (although we missed the rainbow and no much of
blue sky...). We bought the tickets so we can visit 2 of the windmills
which are served as working museums.
- Kasteel De Haar
Haar Castle is the biggest and most luxurious castle in the Netherlands. It
is one of the top European historic houses. The medieval House De Haar dates
from the 13th century. It fell into disrepair in the 18th and 19th
centuries. Architect Pierre Cuypers (famous for his designs of the
Rijksmuseum and the Central Station in Amsterdam) restored and rebuilt De
Haar for baron Etienne van Zuylen van Nijevelt van de Haar from 1892 till
1912. Like a real fairy-tale castle it rises majestically from
135-acre parkland with impressive trees, old gardens and ponds.
- Concert Hall (TivoliVredenburg)
SHS Symphonic Band performed as part
of WASBE (World Association for
Symphonic Bands and Ensembles) Conference at the Grote Zaal (Great Hall) of
the TivoliVredenburg in Utrecht. The TivoliVredenburg is a
contemporary music complex with five halls designed acoustically for a
specific music genre. Design work began in 2005 with fellow
architects Jo Coenen and Thijs Asselbergs, and official opening ceremonies
began 27 June 2014, with the venue being inaugurated by King
Willem-Alexander on 3 July 2014.
July 21 ...
- Sunrise at Kinderdijk
We stayed in Papendrecht (~ 8 km from
Kinderdijk) on the night before so we could get to Kinderdijk easily for the
sunrise. With the tall reeds along the bank of the canal, it was
harder than expected to find some good photo spots for windmills and sunrise
together. Although it had a little bit too much of low cloud in the
east to have a splendid sunrise, it was still a nice morning to start with.
- St Martin's Cathedral (Domkerk)
& Dom Tower (Domtoren)
toward Utrecht after the sunrise. Utrecht's ancient city center
features many buildings and structures dated as far back as
the High Middle Ages (11th -- 13th centuries). It has been the religious
center of the Netherlands since the 8th century. Utrecht was the most
important city in the Netherlands until the Dutch Golden Age, when it was
surpassed by Amsterdam as the country's cultural center and most populous
Utrecht's cityscape is dominated by the Dom Tower, the tallest
belfry in the Netherlands (112.5 meters) and originally part of
the Cathedral of Saint Martin. A chapel devoted to Saint Martin
on (or close to) the site of the current building was established by Saint
Willibrord around 695. The church was repeatedly destroyed by fires
and then rebuilt for the next few hundred years. The
construction of the Gothic St Martin's Cathedral was officially started in
1254, but was actually began in 1284 and was stopped in 1520. By the
beginning of the 16th century, both money and enthusiasm had run out, and
the nave was never completely finished. On 1 August 1674 the still
unfinished and insufficiently supported nave collapsed during a
massive storm that caused a tornado.
The Dom tower was part of the Cathedral of Saint
Martin, and was built between 1321 and 1382. Since the unfinished nave
collapsed in 1674 the Dom tower became a free standing tower. Due to the
tight space in the tower, the tower can only be visited as part of a guided
tour which the expert guide took us on a historical journey through all the
rooms and galleries.
- Museum Speelklok
Museum Speelklok is a special place with a wide collection of different
self-playing musical instruments such as music clocks, music boxes, or even
a self-playing orchestras, etc. I think this is one of the most
interesting museums in the entire Europe trip this time. You must join
the tour (it's free and given hourly) to be able to see the magic behind the
boxes and to listen to the wonderful music these machines produced. I
found a YouTube video
showing the fantastic "Orchestrion"
which we only saw the inside but did not have a chance to see it play.
- Janskerk (St Johnís Church)
The Janskerk was founded shortly after
1040 by bishop Bernold of Utrecht. In the Middle Ages, it was one of the
cityís five collegiate churches which, together, formed a cluster in the
shape of a cross, known as the Utrecht church cross; the others were the
Dom, St Salvatorís Church/Salvatorkerk, St Peterís Church/Pieterskerk and St
Maryís Church/Mariakerk. In 1580, the public practice of the
Catholic faith was prohibited in Utrecht, and the Janskerk lost its function
as a collegiate church. As a consequence, statues and altars were removed
from the church, and the chancel became the city library and then the
university library. In 1656, the church came into the possession of the
Reformed Church. As the result of a tornado, in the years that followed the
Janskerk increasingly fell into disrepair. It was not until the 20th century
that the church was restored through long-term renovation works.
After the concert, we went back to Museum Speelklok
(since they did not take our ticket this morning :-)) to see some exhibition
which we did not have time to cover in the morning.
- Utrecht Canal
We walked to the canal and found a place to have a
drink before dinner. Woanyu found a restaurant Humphrey's just right
under the canal bridge (or in the canal cellar) which has decor of various
red tones, golden chandeliers, lush fabrics and art nouveau chairs and
tables, and a very good 3-course meal (even for non-food-lover like me).
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