Every four months, owner Gerrit Vos turns his showroom into a

Every four months, owner Gerrit Vos turns his showroom into a

Utrecht is a hidden gem in Amsterdam’s shadow

Thanks to some bikes and a replica bags online bunny, this summer an international audience will discover what the locals already know: Utrecht is a vibrant, architecturally distinctive and happening place hidden in the shadow of Amsterdam, high replica bags its famous neighbor to the north.

Replica Bags Wholesale My most recent visit to the Dutch city of 330,000 was in early February, when one of the few signs of its anointment as the host of the “Grand Depart” for this year’s Tour de France was a minimalist statue of a red bicycle in the town center. In July, the world famous bike race will stage its start here before moving on to France, a two day event expected to draw a couple hundred bike racers and upwards of 750,000 spectators. A 100 day countdown of celebratory activities kicks off March 26. Replica Bags Wholesale

Even without such recommended you read fanfare, replica designer backpacks Utrecht, in the Netherlands, is lively. With more than 70,000 students at the city’s two universities, there’s always something going on and a lot of people going out. I live an hour away, in the opposite direction from Amsterdam, so I drove in and brought my bike. Because many replica bags from china tourists arrive by train from Amsterdam, a 30 minute trip, I started my tour at the station which means at the mall. Yep, the only route from aaa replica bags the central station into a medieval town full of character is through a modern shopping center devoid of it, a sad fact that will happily change with a planned, years long station overhaul. Many locals pride themselves in hating the Hoog Catharijne mall, but there are a couple things worth checking out before you head into town.

First, there’s the aforementioned bunny. The mall presents your earliest opportunity to meet Miffy in this incarnation a 6 foot tall plastic statue, which kids (and some adults) hug, cheap designer bags replica kiss and https://www.simpsonsbox.com climb over but it will not be the last: If you don’t already high quality replica bags know Miffy, you will by the time you leave Utrecht. The beloved bunny star of children’s books that have sold more than 85 million copies in dozens replica designer bags wholesale of languages, plus two television series and a movie was created by native son Dick Bruna. Although you wouldn’t know it by her baby smooth skin, Miffy (who goes by Nijntje in Dutch) just turned 60. To celebrate, she gets two new museum exhibits and a turn as the best replica bags online Tour de France’s mascot, with her likeness topping the race’s pace cars.

replica Purse The Miffy sculpture on Nijntje Pleintje (Miffy Square) in Utrecht was made by Marc Bruna, the son of creator Dick Bruna, to good quality replica bags honor the beloved children’s book character. (Selina Kok/For The Washington Post) replica Purse

Fake Designer Bags One worthwhile stop before fleeing the mall is a little known overlook from the top floor of the V department store. Take four escalators up to reach its restaurant and patio, from which the eastern expanse replica designer bags of the city unfolds, including the 368 foot Dom Tower, an Utrecht landmark. Later, if you’re able, you should climb the Dom’s 465 steps to the top for a stellar view of the region all the way to Amsterdam, 25 miles away, on a clear day. Fake Designer Bags

aaa replica designer handbags Although Utrecht is walkable, from here you might want to rent a bike and join the multitude of two wheelers. I cycled toward the via the still sleepy Oudegracht (“Old Canal”), a high quality designer replica curving brick lined street that by the afternoon would become clogged with pedestrians. The Oudegracht, Utrecht’s version of a promenade, follows the city’s main waterway and is lined with shops and bustling cafes. aaa replica designer handbags

purse replica handbags Below street level, along the 11th century canals, lies the city’s most distinctive architectural feature: its system of brick wharfs and cellars. The wharfs started as docking areas for delivery boats, while the cellars were used for storage. These days, many of the narrow, deep cellars serve as apartments and businesses. Stairways allow you to climb from canal level to street level, and many restaurants have water facing patios both up and downstairs. From spring through fall, a designer replica luggage parade of best replica bags tour boats, private buy replica bags online motorboats, paddle boats and kayaks traverse the waterways, turning Oudegracht into an even merrier destination. purse replica handbags

Designer Replica Bags Utrecht, high end replica bags considered one of the world’s best cycling cities, is a fitting starting point for this year’s Tour de France. (FocusEurope/Alamy) Designer Replica Bags

wholesale replica designer handbags My visit to the was quick, because most wings were closed for a renovation adding exhibit space and an airier design, which has since been completed. The permanent collection here contains both historical and contemporary works and includes a fantastic assortment of furniture by Dutch architects and designers Piet Klaarhamer and his famed student, Gerrit Rietveld, who created the iconic “Red and Blue Chair,” the furniture version of a Mondrian painting. The museum also oversees the Rietveld Schrder House, 10 minutes away by bicycle (and if you’re still on foot, you can borrow a bike from the museum). The house, reflecting the early 20th century De Stijl movement, is on the best replica designer bags UNESCO World best replica designer Heritage List. wholesale replica designer handbags

In the bunny department, the exhibit “Miffy, From 1955 to Today,” runs from summer to early fall and has areas for adults and children. On Sept.

replica handbags online A short hop across the street and also part of the museum is the Dick Bruna House, a paean to all things Nijntje (and her creator) and soon to be renamed the Miffy Museum. The building closes July 6 for a complete refurbishment, with an expected reopening in December. I hope they keep my favorite part a small room whose walls are plastered with Miffy books in dozens of languages. replica handbags online

Replica Handbags Rounding out the rabbit hunt, I tracked down the cute Miffy traffic lights in front of the Bijenkorf department store and the Miffy sculpture on the Nijntje Pleintje (it means square, and the name rhymes in Dutch). The diminutive bronze statue was made luxury replica bags by Bruna’s son, Marc. Replica Handbags

“That’s a lot smaller than I expected,” I said to a woman planting daffodil bulbs in a dirt bed there.

“Everyone says that, but I think it suits our little square,” she said. “It’s nice that so many people come by to see her.”

cheap replica handbags Conveniently, I’d ended up just around the corner from one of my favorite shops, Eindhoven. Heinz Schiller opened the shop in late 2013 to showcase emerging Dutch designers. Its name is a nod to the Design Academy Eindhoven, an hour south, whose many famous graduates include clever clockmaker Maarten Baas and the creative team at Job, Joris Marieke, an animation studio whose short film “A Single Life” was nominated for an Oscar this year. (The studio also made an adorable film for Utrecht to promote the Tour de France.) Schiller looks for up and coming talent, especially during the annual Dutch Design Week. cheap replica handbags

“We like to help give them a place to start, because it’s not so easy to find that in the beginning,” he said.

To celebrate the Tour, Schiller was displaying three fantastical bikes by metal artist Victor Sonna that look like they’d ridden off a Dali painting, with crazy curves and vinelike handlebars. Other items in the store included a sophisticated slate covered buffet from prolific designer Stephan Siepermann and colorful mod looking vinyl cushioned stools and benches by Visser Meijwaard.

Designer Fake Bags I headed for my other favorite design buy replica bags spot, Workshop of Wonders, a high end shop that showcases international designers and studios that have already emerged. Every four months, owner Gerrit Vos turns his showroom into a themed exhibit. Up through May is “Northern Delights,” featuring new creations from northern Europe, include Denmark’s Noergaard Kechayas and Stefan Diez of Germany. And, mais oui, Vos promises to highlight French studios come Tour time. Designer Fake Bags

Handbags Replica The focus of the city center is the cathedral tower (the unfinished cathedral collapsed centuries ago). Even if you don’t take the tour to the top, at least give the tower a look and consider that it sits atop the remains of the original Roman city, dating back 2,000 bag replica high quality years. A new attraction that opened in the summer, Dom Under, takes visitors through both authentic and re created ruins. Handbags Replica

Replica Designer Handbags At the recommendation of a friend who knows I favor lunch spots that focus on fresh ingredients without making a big deal about it, I popped into to refuel. I was impressed that makes its own hummus, ketchup, granola and other items that are easy enough to buy not the Dutch norm. The cozy and colorful cafe and wine bar is connected to a trendy clothing store of the same name. In warmer weather, I would have headed to patio for some serious people watching. Replica Designer Handbags

Owner Willem Van Oostrum, who opened the shop a few years ago in the former fire station, told me he’s noticed a surge in visitors and a new wave of stores and restaurants in the last few years.

high quality replica handbags “It’s nice to see people looking outside of Amsterdam for something to do,” he said. “Utrecht is compact, a little more authentic.” high quality replica handbags

Replica Bags It’s also getting a little cooler, too, in part thanks to Puha, a clothing and lifestyle shop featuring young designers. The owners literally put the stylish side of Utrecht on the map with its Puha Shop Route, a fold out map and app that notes the “in” spots for eating, drinking, shopping and sleeping. Several of those places are their neighbors on Voorstraat, a once seedy address. Replica Bags

Wholesale Replica Bags “It used to be replica wallets a not so nice back alley, and now it’s the center of things,” said co owner Taam Karsdorp. She and her partner, Said Belhadj, opened the store five years ago in part to give creative friends a reason to stay in Utrecht. Wholesale Replica Bags

KnockOff Handbags “I thought, I’m going to create a place for them to sell replica bags china their work,” Karsdorp said. “When we started, there were just a few little shops. Now it’s a whole scene.” KnockOff Handbags

Fake Handbags Voorstraat standouts 7a replica bags wholesale include Revenge, selling fashion forward clothing and shoes for men and women, with a hair salon in replica bags the back; and Klijs Boon, known for its exclusive Scandinavian labels, including Danish designers Henrik Vibskov and Han Kjbenhavn. Fake Handbags

If Utrecht has a hipster headquarters, it’s surely the Village Coffee, a tattoo filled joint where you almost always have to speak loudly to be heard. It was started by two locals after both had spent time in the United States. Lennaert Meijboom became interested in coffee production while working for a surfing company in Hawaii, and Angelo van de Weerd studied up on coffee culture when he was a roadie with a Belgian rock band touring the East Coast. (The shop often hosts warm up shows for touring bands playing larger venues.).



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