Not far from Utrecht stands a 14th Century castle (kasteel). This is Kasteel de Haar, destroyed in the 15th Century, rebuilt, then fallen into disrepair during the 18th and 19th centuries and finally resurrected and restored beginning in 1892. Now, the castle stands as a monument to teach generations about their past. Further restorations are planned in the near future.
On June 9, 2002 (my birthday), a group of Canadians and Americans decided to make the short, but involved, journey from Utrecht Centraal to the castle. To get there, we needed to take the train to the Vleuten station and then take the Treintaxi from the station to the castle.
Treintaxis are a service in Holland, which you can pay for along with your train fare. These are taxis which will take you to/from the train station. There are special phones at the station to call the taxis from. As this was a Sunday, the train station in Vleuten was closed, so there was no one around to tell us where to where the phone was. So, the whole lot of us keep walking around the outside of the station trying to find the phone. Finally, it was spotted across the road. We called and soon a van came to pick up the 5 of us. Two others were driving there with their dog.
|Once we made it there, we waited for the other couple to
make it with their dog, Floyd. They were driving in from Noordwijk.
We made the most of the time by eating fries (frites) covered in mayo and
kerry sauce. The day was beautiful and the fries were good. To
the right, everyone has arrived (I am playing photographer and out of the
Soon, we made our way from the front gate to the castle. It's a wonderful structure and the surrounding grounds are beautiful. Tourists can go inside the castle with a guided tour. Unfortunately, for us, the tour is in Dutch. However, they do give the uneducated, English speaking tourists a sheet of paper which describes the rooms you are visiting. Again, it is unfortunate, because the guide spoke in each room for about 15-20 minutes and the other tourists often laughed. Somehow, I don't think everything was covered in the short paragraph that was devoted to each room. If you have a large group of about 24, you can arranged for an English tour.
Ok, we weren't supposed to take pictures inside. But, when the Dutch guide moved on a couple of times, we did sneak in a few pictures. If you got caught, you would just speak English and they would let you off with a smile usually meant for misbehaving children. And, it wasn't just the Yanks, there were some Dutch shutterbugs hanging behind also. So, there aren't too many inside pictures.