“How many bicycles are there in Utrecht?”
“More than people,” my Dutch friend assured me.
“How many do you have?” I asked.
“Three”, was the answer. (One for everyday use, one sporty one for longer rides, and one old one that she could leave around for longer without having to worry about it getting stolen).
I could see why, as Utrecht is made for cycling. The first thing we noticed after heading out of the train station was the wide bicycle lanes and huge bicycle parking areas. On a Friday night, lots of young people were cycling along chatting and laughing, some riding on the back of others’ bicycles. We had the chance to try out the bike lanes ourselves on Sunday when my friend lent my husband and I bikes so that the three of us could go for a ride. It was my first time on a Dutch bike, which felt totally different to my German bike, as the handlebars were different and it only had back-pedal brakes. It was fun to try it out, and comforting to know that in Utrecht, bikes have priority over cars.
We spent most of the weekend just relaxing, walking around in the lovely spring weather and admiring the brick houses and canals. The town of 300 000 also had many cafes and restaurants and all the food we ate was really good. There’s certain foods you should try in the Netherlands; bitterballen, croquettes, fries with peanut sauce, poffertjies, ontbijtkoek, salted licorice, chocolate sprinkles, local cheeses and beers…in fact, I love the food of the Netherlands. You can find nice soft, bread and rolls in all the shops, including raisin bread, and there was even a bakery with scones.
Many Dutch people recommend visiting Utrecht; they say it has the canals of Amsterdam but without all the tourists. I’d highly recommend it too. Here are some photos from our weekend.