Setting Up House in Utrecht

We have now been in the Netherlands two weeks.   About 6 days ago, we moved from “The Cave”, our initial hotel-apartment, to our “semi-permanent” apartment at Wijde Begijnestraat 86.  Translated, that means we live at apartment number 86 on the street called Wijde Begijnestraat.

However, since we arrived 14 days ago, we’ve visited a number of cities.  As I write, I’m in a hotel room in a lovely sea-side town called Egmond aan Zee (pronounced  ”Eckhht-mand on Zay”) where we are attending a conference for Dutch emergency medicine physicians. Michael gave his excellent paper today and it seemed well-received.

Okay, back to the street and apartment where we live.  Like many streets in Utrecht, it doesn’t go in a straight line, but this one, Wijde Begijnestraat, takes the cake:  it is V-shaped.  So in this picture…

…the white building with the awning in the middle actually is the tip of the “V”, and Wijde Begijnestraat goes up both the left and right side from that point.  We actually live on the left side of the V, opposite those two turquoise balconies you can see in the distance.

Confusing as this dual-directional street can be it is additionally confounding because several streets in the immediate vicinity have the unpronounceable “Begijnestraat” as partof their name. Hence:

And there are a couple more:

I received some weird looks taking photos of street signs, let me tell you.

On to the interior of our apartment.  It is comfy and pretty adequate for two people and by Dutch standards, a pretty roomy 1-bedroom flat.  (Technically it’s a 2-bedroom but you couldn’t fit a bed into the second one, maybe a crib if you took everything else out.)  Here’s a view of the right side of the living room.  The open door (notice the door prop) leads to the front hall, bedroom(s) and bath.  In the foreground is the dining room table which I use as my desk.

Here is the left side of the living room, also showing our little balcony.  The room has a great deal of natural light, which is quite lovely, but it is a fairly small space.  Anyone who comes to visit would either have to squeeze onto one of the loveseats or sleep on the floor and risk getting stepped on by Michael when he strolls in to make his a.m. coffee.

and the kitchenette, contiguous to the dining area: 

and finally, our bed – which takes up 99% of the “master” bedroom, or “kamer”:

and the so-called “2nd kamer”:

So, any of you planning on coming for a visit, plan on bringing a sleeping bag!

So, where’s the Red Light District?

This is what Michael keeps asking…every day.  Neither one of us has figured that one out yet.  Or if there really is one in Utrecht, we sure aren’t living in or on the edge of it as far as we can tell.  Unlike Amsterdam, there are no half-naked women posing in broad windows, nor are there provocative signs advertising women, boys or toys.  (Well, I guess there a couple of small sex shops, a couple of streets over, but I honestly didn’t notice them until going over pictures.  They are that unobtrusive and innocuous.)  But we do have a couple of head shops, aka the local “coffee house”.)

When we return to Utrecht this weekend, I will finish up the next installment.  Until then, it’s happy living and train-hopping in the Netherlands!

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