The Travelling Pixie in Utrecht, Netherlands
20150629: Utrecht; Netherlands [Day 1]
Finally we embarked on our long awaited vacation to the Netherlands! There are a few dozen places on my “Places I want to Travel to” list, but why the Netherlands this time? Well, three weeks before the trip I was on skyscanner.com looking for cheap flight tickets. But as it’s pretty near the date we’re travelling, all the prices were too expensive – at least £200 for a round-trip from London. So when I clicked in to search for flight tickets to Amsterdam, I was sooooooo happy when a round-trip ticket costed only about £100 per person! So I quickly clicked on the buy now! button for a trip to the Netherlands from 29/June to 03/July this Summer!
Due to the lack of planning for the trip, we ended up booking for a two-night stay in Utrecht and another two-night stay in Amsterdam. I realised when we got to Utrecht that it actually is such a small city that a 1-night stay would definitely be enough!
Anyways, we took a taxi to London Southend Airport at 03:30 on 29/June. The ride took slightly over an hour with no traffic and was actually pretty expensive for a taxi to the airport, coming to £68! A normal ride from our home to London Heathrow would take only £30 with simplyairports.co.uk – I always take a taxi from their website because it’s one of the cheapest airport taxi services in London.
Our flight was actually at 7am, but I always go really early in consideration of any traffic jams or delays going through airport security, I had a really awful experience before where we almost missed a flight because there was so much hassle going on when we were trying to pass through airport security! When we got to the airport, it was around 4:30am – so early that the counters weren’t even ready for check-in!
London Southend Airport is actually one of the smallest airports I’ve ever been to. The whole airport only has a check-in counter for EasyJet, there’s virtually no queue at all anywhere, plus it took only 10 minutes to get from the check-in counter, through security, to the boarding gate. There’s one huge ‘diner’-restaurant/bar right facing the boarding gate for those who needs to grab a quick breakfast before their flight.
We took our time with breakfast and waiting around for the flight. Finally it was time for boarding, and soon we were aboard the flight to Amsterdam Shiphol Airport! The flight was extraordinarily short, we landed in 35-40 minutes after take-off! – Again one of the shortest flights I’ve ever taken!
We travelled to Utrecht via train as soon as we arrived the Amsterdam Airport, and begun our 5-day vacation! The train tickets to Utrecht was €9.50 per person, although its €1 cheaper for train tickets with an OV-Card (works the same way as an Oyster Card for the London Tube but works for the whole of the Netherlands including trains, subways and trams), we didn’t bother getting one as there is a non-refundable €8.00 deposit for the card, so it would only be worth to get one if we make 8 trips or more – but we get unlimited travelling with the Amsterdam City Card anyway inside Amsterdam, so we would definitely not make 8 trips.
As soon as we got to Utrecht, we walked from the train station to the apartment we booked right in the centre of the Old City, the walk took about 15 minutes.
Address: F.C. Dondersstraat 15, 3572 JA Utrecht, Netherlands
Phone: +31 30 231 7100
We got this booking via booking.com for €165 for two nights – a pretty good deal considering the size of the apartment. The only catch was that we had to share our toilet with three other flats on the same floor, however we had our own shower in the room! – this is just weird.. but our stay there was pleasant overall. We had our own kitchen area as well as a living room area with a tv and a Pirates of the Caribbean 1 DVD in the cupboard lol!
We started walking around the old city and around Utrecht after we settled down in the apartment.
I’ve seen images of the windmills online so I was desperate to go and see them! Turns out there was only one windmill in Utrecht, we ended up walking around the neighbourhood that wasn’t part of the Old City.
So here we are at the windmill! It’s beautiful! We didn’t get to go inside cuz I was guessing that those people walking out of the windmill actually live there? They’re definitely tourists but you could probably book a vacation there, cuz they kept going in and out of the windmill bringing food for their little picnic!
On the way back to the Old City, we came across this beautiful brick wall and blue bike. Couldn’t resist to take a photo with it!
Netherlands is definitely the country of bikes, as well as bike theft as we were told! Unlike Denmark, bikes would definitely get stolen if a bike-lock wasn’t on it. Or in fact, it would get stolen even if a bike lock was on it!
We didn’t do much on the first day of our trip, we ended up having dinner at one of the restaurants on the Dom Square, and going to bed early as we woke up waaaaay to early for the morning flight.
Stay tuned for the rest of my trip, I’m sorry for posting this up so late, but these few days were really so hectic with house-moving and other issues! x