Utrecht is a wonderful city to hang out, but it seems it’s not that popular among the tourists visiting The Netherlands. Utrecht is best known for the university, which has more than 30000 students each year. You can meet so many young people walking on the streets, cycling or sitting in the cafes. Because of that, the atmosphere in the city is very lively.
Utrecht looks like Amsterdam – there are canals and bridges, many restaurants and attractions. But probably due to the smaller size of the city, Utrecht seems so cozy. Imagine it’s December and there is Christmas decoration everywhere. It smells like waffles. Across the street, a man sells tulips and you can hear the melody of an accordion.
Domtoren is the most famous landmark in Utrecht and its symbol. The tower is 112 meters high and it’s the tallest church tower in the Netherlands. Moreover, there is quite an interesting story. The tower was built in the 14th century. The construction lasted more than 60 years. The tower was originally part of the cathedral “St. Martin”(Domkerk). There was a tornado in Utrecht a few centuries later. It caused great damage to the cathedral, but not the tower. Residents concluded that this is an omen and never connected the two buildings again.
The starting point of the guided tour is the tourist center next to the tower, where you can also buy tickets for other attractions. You have to leave your luggage in the lockers at the tourist center. That’s because the stairs are quite narrow and any sizeable luggage might cause difficulty.
We entered the tower from the building next door and then we heard the safety instructions. Our climb started with several wide steps and we found ourselves in a room. That’s the chapel of St. Michael. According to our guide, the place is perfect for weddings and formal dinners.
After that, we entered an old door and continued up to a narrow and winding staircase. After a few spins, a little before we got dizzy, we entered into another room called the Museum. There we learned more about the history of the building, we looked at some old books and documents and we saw a model of the bell tower.
Afterwards, we continued to climb the spiral staircase. Behind another door, we found ourselves in a new room. There we saw a dozen of enormous bells. The largest one is called Salvator. It’s remarkably huge – weighs 8.200 kg and has a diameter of 227 cm.
The bells are 50 in total weighing more than 32.000 kg. Every fifteen minutes you can hear different melodies from the tower. That’s not all. Every Saturday a lady named Malgosia Fiebig, plays beautiful melodies on the bells from a special room at the top of the tower.
The last stop is the panorama terrace. Some people say that in clear weather you can see Amsterdam from the tower. Well, in our case it was not clear at all, but, at least, we enjoyed the incredible view above Utrecht.
It’s time to go downstairs. Looks scary, right?
We took combined tickets so after our visit in Domtoren ended we went at the Museum of Self-playing Musical Instruments – Speelklok.
This is truly a fun place. They have all kinds of music boxes, playing parlor clocks, large and small lantern, mechanical pianos and organs.
The most amusing part is that we had the opportunity to try some unusual devices to create music.
In a small, dark room, we watched a movie and we learned how music has appeared in people’s homes, long before the radio was invented.
If I have to express my experience at the Museum Speelklok with one word it could be “cheerful”. We really enjoyed it.
Have you ever been in Utrecht? What do you thing about these music boxes?