First thing you need to know about us is that, here at Freaky Foody, we are a kind of nomad souls. We’ve been in many places, and we can easily say that one of our favourite city is Utrecht.
Utrecht is only 35 km far from Amsterdam, it’s not a big city and it’s quite popular for its famous University and canals.
We’ve been there several times, but a couples of years ago we’ve spent 6 months there at the beginning of our Dutch adventure. After quite a long time spent in The Netherlands, we can easily list our four favourite places that will make your trip more comfortable and enjoyable.
Here we’ll present you some interesting places for three basic traveller’s activities, suitable also for the laziest adventurers ever: sleeping; drinking; eating.
The Strowis has been our starting point every time we went to The Netherlands. It’s a small and picturesque hostel, located in a seventeenth century building right in the city center and it’s only 15 minutes-walking distance from the Central Station of Utrecht.
The story of the hostel needs to be heard…or better read in the backside of the café’s menu. Everything begun when the Automobile Centre Utrecht (ACU), in the near Voorstraat, had been squatted. However, not even back at this times it was easy to keep a place open, so in order to not lose it they decided to create a bigger project that included also the creation of the Strowis Hostel, which opened its doors on 1998.
The heritage of the seventeenth century structure and the squat vibe of the background story of the Strowis created a unique hostel. The atmosphere is warm and charming at the same time, definitely gezelligheid (the Dutch word for cosy). There’s a perfect balance between attention to details and spontaneous glints of anarchy – perfectly visible in the garden – which is something that we’ve seen only in this country.
Let’s be more pragmatic now. The rooms (private or bedded rooms) have everything you need: personal courtesy light (I feel so grateful when I found it in a hostel!); clean shared bathrooms; a kitchen with a view on the lovely garden; shared refrigerator to keep some fresh food; lockers; laundry service and a wonderful breakfast (note: breakfast is quite an issue in The Netherlands, because you always have to pay it separately). Last but not least, the easygoing environment and the side events – like afternoon concerts and expositions – make more easy to meet the others hostel’s dwellers and enjoy your stay.
When it comes to beers, The Netherlands have nothing to fear from the near Belgium. The Kafé Belgiё is located in the central vein of Utrecht: Oudegracht, the main and more beautiful canal of the city.
Here beer lovers will find one of the hugest beer menu we’ve ever seen…and we’ve tried most of them, and we can tell you they are all simply good.
The never-ending offer of this small café includes mainly Belgian and Dutch beers. Some famous like Chimay or La Chouffe, some strangely promising like Delirium Tremens, some undefinable like the perhaps too much fruity Belle-Vue Kriek (we have to confess that once we asked for it because the name was appealing…but, seriously? A cherry beer?!). Highlights and must-taste are the seasonal beers and those from local breweries…but here we have to confess again: at one point we just had too much beer and we cannot really remember any other name!
‘t Oude Pothuys.
If you can still walk and stand after your visit at the Kafé Belgiё, we would suggest you to just cross the street, or better, cross the bridge over the Oudegracht, and go straightforward to the Pothuys.
The Pothuys is a brown bar, basically the Dutch version of a pub. Every day they host talented musicians, making the Pothuys the perfect place to listen some really good music in its jazzy but still tavern-ish atmosphere.
Here you will find not only very good music and drinks but very good food as well. The menu offers some delicious Dutch evergreens like bitterballen and mini kaassoufflés (you cannot actually say that you have visited The Netherlands if you didn’t try both of them!) If you’ll go there to have dinner you will have plenty of choices between meet, fish and vegetarian dishes, all of them based on rich tastes, fresh and also organic ingredients and generous portion. Highlight: the Fraanse Kaasfondue, or in other words the French Cheese Fondue, definitely our favorite choice.
After having all this food and drinks maybe it would be a good idea to take a walk through the city: visit the Dom Church and its Tower(remember to not miss the little café inside the church), say hello to the creepy rabbit statue in Voorstraat, wondering around Wilhelminapark and getting lost through the streets of the center.
Additional Tip: we highly recommend to make a visit to the cultural center ACU to find good music, good food and good people: check it here.