Edit Blog Post
Published: July 16th 2009
There is a Chinese proverb that goes like "When one is his own country, one depends on his family. When one is abroad, one depends on his friends". I have traveled enough by now to appreciate the second part of this saying. Yesterday I decided to visit my Dutch friend Peter in the 4th largest city in the Netherlands, Utrecht. It turned out to be an unexpected high note of the trip so far.
Amsterdam is an international city swamped with tourists, particularly young tourists, many came probably with a single purpose in mind. The downside of that is...you do not get to see how the Dutch people live and interact with them. Well, it was a good decision to go visit Utreckt, the fourth largest city in the Netherlands.
I went to Amsterdam Centraal, the hub to go anywhere in the Netherlands, and took one of their highly efficient trains to Utreckt. A young Dutch couple on the train kindly reminded me when it was time for me to get off the train. It was very nice of them.
It was an utterly pleasant stay. Everywhere in Utreckt is so relaxing and beautiful. Peter showed me various
churches, landmarks and the rural scenes of Utreckt. We biked around the town and discussed Dutch history, politics, immigration and other host of issues. At the end of the day, we had dinner beside the canal. If staying in Amsterdam stimulated the senses, then Utreckt really calmed them down.
I also tasted the traditional Dutch delicacy of swallowing haring raw. Absolutely delicious.
One unexpected episode occurred while we were visiting one of the surviving Roman Catholic Churches in Utreckt. The custodian of the Church, who graduated from the University of Delft, had the kindness to let us in, even though it was right at the closing time. At the end of our sojourn, he demonstrated a project he was implementing at the Church. The idea is to use mirrors, light and projectors, to present the interior of the Church, including the paintings, the architectures right on the Church door and the surrounding walls so that pedestrians will be able to see the rotating views of the Church interiors without entering the Church. This is a brilliant idea and involves some sophisticated modeling and calculations. I found the idea marvelous and was please by the unexpected encounter.
Well, as for today, I am going to bike around the city and see various museums. So I do not want to stay in front of the screen for too long. Will I continue on the high plateau of wonderful experiences, or yesterday will be shown to be an one-off high note. I guess we will see...
Until next time.
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