05 May, 2009

Roaming Around Utrecht and the Countryside with Friends

This past week we were happy to see our friends Andrew and Tracy come to visit us in Luxembourg for a weekend before they head to Liege in Belgium and Amsterdam in the Netherlands, before meeting back up with them a few days later in Utrecht.

They arrived on a Friday in Luxembourg and we stayed in our flat and had a bit of a traditional dinner that we eat in Luxembourg which consisted of amongst other things...sausage and beer! On Saturday we took in some of the sites in Luxembourg City for the better part of the day and then we headed off to Orval in Belgium for lunch and a visit to the abbey. Later that evening we headed back into Luxembourg City for dinner at Mousel Cantine which is a great Luxembourgish restaurant in the Clausen section of the Grund.

After going back to work for Monday and Tuesday, Paula and I packed up the little hatchback and were off to Utrecht, where Andrew and I used to live along with a bunch of other American's and folks from all over the world on a special project. This trip was all pleasure...no work...or at least not that much work. Just a bunch of emails on my Blackberry. We arrived in Utrecht after about 3 and 1/2 hours on the roam and just in time for lunch.

After parking the park and checking into the hotel, we jumped on a train to Bodegraven, a little town about 20 minutes outside of Utrecht to visit a great Dutch brewery called De Molen which just happens to be in an old windmill (molen). We arrived just in time to have lunch and a few beers. As expected, the food and the beer were fantastic and the scenery was cool as well. There were no other patrons in the restaurant at the time so we got great attention from the brewer dude except for when he went out shopping and outside to smoke. After lunch and a few drinks we headed into their small but stacked beer store where I was a kid in a candy store! They have beers from all over the world including their own beers, tons of hard to find Belgian beers, American beers and a nice selection of beers from Scandanavia. I think I purchased something like 12 or more bottles, several big ones but we came prepared with a bottle bag and a backpack.

On the way back to the train we stopped in a bike store and Paula bought a nice set of saddle bags with flowers for her bike back home. Then we jumped on a train for Utrecht and to meet Andrew and Tracy at our hotel.

Check out our pictures from De Molen

After a quick stop at our hotel in Utrecht, Paula and I headed out through town to the main shopping, eating, drinking and general good time area right along the beautiful Oudegracht canal. We were on a mission to find some seats at Cafe Belge which is my favorite bar from the days of hanging out in Utrecht back in 2000. This bar has a great view of the canal and a fantastic Belgian beer selection and is really a locals bars. We arrived and were lucky to find a table right at front with 4 seats for when Andrew and Tracy arrived a bit later. Thanks to newish smoking laws in the Netherlands, the bar was smoke free so we were able to enjoy our beers without the extra taste in the air! Andrew and Tracy arrived maybe an hour later and we had a few more beers before heading off on a little walk down memory lane through the little streets of Utrecht. It was nice to pass by some of the shops, restaurants and bars that we used to frequent in Utrecht.

We were also in the middle of Queen's Night which is a crazy party night before Queen's Day. They were setting up all kinds of stages for dancing and late night partying when we were walking through town looking for a place for dinner. There were also a bunch of boats floating down the canal with partygoers and a few dudes sitting on couches in front of stores, drinking beers. Good party atmosphere. We updated up having dinner on the Oudegracht at Casa Di David which is right on the water. This was one of our favorite restaurants when living in Utrecht a few years back.

More words to come soon....

In the meantime, check out pictures of our Utrecht wandering and pictures from our biking adventures!



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