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We must go, but the Trippist Resource Lives On

Well there will be no parade or ceremony of any kind. No flashy banner across the top of your screen and no special offer in honor of our last posts here on Trippist. A place for stories, recommendations, and observations about this land that none of us were born in but we each know and love in a different way. For five great years we have been here with you sharing and musing about a wide range of things going on i a country with a range of tastes as diverse as anyone could imagine. Its easy to travel to the Netherlands, but its an exciting challenge to pick and choose out of everything that which inspires and moves you.

2012 has begun and so too have millions of travel plans that might possibly land someone back on this site, perusing a post about a café or festival that is just as good- if not better- as the day we recommended it. For that reason, this site will live on as a resource, and we're happy to have been and continue to be of service.

I'd like to extend a very special thank you to my fellow trippists Janelle and Alison, and everyone who wrote for the blog over the years, it was a pleasure.

Best of luck in your travels and life adventures this year and beyond. Thanks for joining us here and until next we meet somewhere in the online world, as they say in the Netherlands, -tot ziens.

     Posted by Bicyclemark at 1:43 AM | Permalink | TrackBacks (0)
Always Something to Do in Utrecht

Autumn Domtoren
Today marks not just the end of 2011, but also the end of my posts here at Trippist. Still, that doesn't mean the end of things to see and do here in Utrecht. The city is vibrant and full of things to see and do throughout the year, including the monthly Cultural Sunday events, the Festival aan de Werf, the Uitfest, the Nederland Film Festival and so much more. There's also lots of great restaurants, clubs and bars, and new ones always opening, as well as lots of great shopping.

In fact, Utrecht's tourism board has put together a series of eight self-guided tours for visitors and locals alike, which guide you through some of the highlights of the city, depending on your interest. There are ones for music, art, cooking, design, and fashion, as well as other themes. You can find them here, with routes to download and print out to guide you on your way.

2012 will probably see an even greater increase in events around Utrecht, as the city gears up for the anniversary of the Treaty of Utrecht in 2013. Many of the sights and activities, such as the ongoing Trajectum Lumen, are leading up to the grand festivities. As they say, there's too much to do in Utrecht to visit for just one day, so make sure you make the most of what the city has to offer. In the meantime, goodbye from me in Utrecht and have a safe and fun New Year's Eve and a wonderful 2012.

Utrecht Postcard

     Posted by Alison at 1:40 PM | Permalink | TrackBacks (0)
Slow Fashion

Slow food has been one of the buzzwords of the past few years, and now slow fashion can join it. I-DID, a pop-up store in Utrecht's Twijnstraat neighborhood, is a fascinating shop combining fashion with a conscience. What they're offering is clothing made by hand by women in need of a job, those unable to find a job, or those who don't have the best qualifications to make it on their own. We're not talking simple home-ec outfits, though. These are quality pieces made from quality materials, and include everything from sweaters and dresses to skirts, accessories and more.

The pop-up store, located next to the Albert Heijn on Twijnstraat, is open Tuesday through Saturday, from 10:00 to 18:00. Tomorrow, because of the impending holiday, they're open until 16:00. For koopzondag, they're open Sunday, January 8, from 12:00 to 17:00. They also offer free alterations if an item you buy at the shop needs hemming or lengthening. Check out their website for more information about their modern business model and how they're making a difference.

     Posted by Alison at 3:51 PM | Permalink | TrackBacks (0)
Utrecht's Biltstraat

In the northeast corner of Utrecht, just a block north of the Stadsschouwburg, is Biltstraat, a charming street offering a great mix of restaurants, shopping and culture. There are a number of restaurants up and down the street, offering everything from sushi to shoarma. There are places such as Bouffe and Het Licht, which offer something a bit fancier if you want, although Het Licht also offers a special lunch deal these days. Then there are cafés such as the quirky Te Koop, where you can buy some of the interior decorations, as well as food. There are also a number of new bars and restaurants that have opened up, offering trendy and stylish options, such as Inspired. Of course, there are also typical Chinese and Indonesian options, as well as Grillroom Sphinx, which has some of the best late-night shoarma and mixed-grill options in town.

If you prefer to cook your own food, there's a selection of grocery options, including the newly opened Kippersluis grocery store, which has taken the place of Super de Boer. Next door, there's the organic butcher, Groeneweg and next door is the organic grocer, Estafette, which also offers gluten-free cakes and assorted items.

If you're looking for a bicycle shop, there are multiple options, such as Het Stalen Paard, for both new and used bikes, as well as the accompanying accessories.

If you're looking for games and athletics, there's the Fitness Factory for your regular workout. For something a bit different, check out Laser Quest and Snookercentrum Ozebi. If dancing is more your speed, there's the dance school Club El Brillante.

If you want a bit of beauty in your life, check out Aya Living for a beautiful selection of home goods and furniture. Their changing window displays are always a pleasure to look at. If it's yourself that you want to beautify, there's Descansa Beauty Center across the street, offering personal styling, as well as massage and other beauty treatments.

Finally, there's even a museum for your enjoyment and education. The Museum Maluku documents the culture of the Moluccan community in the Netherlands.

Biltstraat offers an array of shops and services to suit your needs and the street even has an active presence on Twitter, keeping you up to date on the latest news and openings. If you're in this part of town, it's definitely worth checking out.

     Posted by Alison at 2:23 PM | Permalink | TrackBacks (0)
Old and New in Utrecht

If you still haven't made up your mind what to do for New Year's Eve in Utrecht, there are plenty of big parties from which to choose. First up is Winkel van Sinkel with its Bal Masque. Find the floor to fit your mood, with Nu Jazz Swing Electro on the ground floor, Space Disco and Nu Disco on the next floor, and finish up with Sexy House and Classics on the top floor. The party starts at 22:00 and there's free champagne at midnight to ring in 2012. Tickets are €45 in advance and €50 at the door (although they may also sell out in advance).

If you feel like channeling a bit of Parisian flair but can't make the trip, try Club Monza's Moulin Rouge party. Beginning at 23:00, the club will transform into a Parisian nightclub with music covering all sorts of styles, including House, Latin, R & B and top 40, as well as performances by Andy Foreman, Don Ruan, Vince Moogin and Groovebrother, as well as a mystery guest. The party goes on until 05.00 and tickets cost €10.

Tivoli is also hosting multiple parties at its various locations and clubs beginning just after midnight at 00:30. At the Oudegracht location, there's Tivoli Loves 2012, a dance party highlighting classics from ages past, including Zer00's Heroes, 90s Now and 80s Verantwoord, as well as the best of now. Tickets are €30.

For something a little different, also at 00:30, Tivoli's Spiegelbar is hosting NYE Swing, dedicated to Electro Swing: a combination of swing jazz from the '20s and '30s and contemporary electronic music. The dance tunes from classic artists such as Artie Shaw, Ella Fitzgerald, Fred Astaire and the Andrew Sisters gain new life with new beats.Tickets cost €20.

Of course, lots of smaller clubs, bars and restaurants around town are hosting their own parties. If you have a favorite spot, check them out today to see if they're hosting their own party. And don't forget the free show that the city's residents put on at midnight with all of the fireworks. Just be careful! Happy 2012!

     Posted by Alison at 10:41 AM | Permalink | TrackBacks (0)
Expatriate Archive Centre
logo.gifDear Trippist readers, this is my last post on this wonderful blog. It's been five years and more than 500 entries. It's been wonderful writing here. It has made me more observant about life around me. Instead of shuffling to the train with my head down, I'm forced to look for fun and exciting things to share with all of you. If anyone feels like life is getting mundane, just write for a blog like Trippist. I guarantee you'll realize the place you live has lots to offer.

I'll end with a plug for a great project I heard about a while ago. It's called the Expatriate Archive Centre. It: "collects, preserves, promotes and makes accessible a collection of primary source materials, documenting the global social history of expatriate life."

Given that many Trippist readers are expats too, I thought it might be interesting to know there's a place out there that is interested in documenting your life stories! So what do they collect? Here's what they say on their website:

The main issues of a lifetime 'on the move' were common to most expatriates: children's schooling; health of grandparents; domestic servants; medical care; foreign languages; new cultures and friends; severed friendships; bridge; golf; sailing; climate; gardens; dual-careers; politics - a rich mosaic of life spread around an increasingly interconnected globe.

They regularly offer two main workshops: One called "From a suitcase to an archive - An introduction to the Archive's history." Here, participants get to explore a little bit behind the scenes. The other workshop is called "Out of the boxes! - Start writing your life stories." They also maintain a blog.

Happy holidays, everyone, and all the best for 2012!

     Posted by Janelle at 2:56 AM | Permalink | TrackBacks (0)
Christmas Circus in The Hague

It's on now! The Christmas Circus in The Hague (held at the Malieveld) takes place between 22 and 28 December. This is considered one of the best in terms of international circuses. If you're looking for a new and exciting way to celebrate Christmas, try celebrating in a heated circus tent. From the website (roughly translated):

Christmas Circus The Hague is a production of the Foundation's Great Russian State Circus. This renowned circus with its rich history stands out very clearly from other major international circuses! Last year Her Majesty Queen Beatrix, Crown Prince Willem-Alexander, and Princess Máxima visited. The royal highnesses intensely enjoyed the pace of the show, the balanced mix of different acts, the perfectionism, the unparalleled humor and ambiance. A show that once again proved that circus art remains valued entertainment for all ages and all generations!

There you have it - even the queen visited. You can purchase tickets online and see a day to day breakdown of events at the circus.

     Posted by Janelle at 2:25 AM | Permalink | TrackBacks (0)
Lefebvre Wine Café

Wine Bar
If you want to start the holiday weekend off with a bit of style and elegance, try Wijncafé Lefebvre, newly opened at Neude 2 in Utrecht. The café is small and stylishly minimalistic, yet with a warm, cozy vibe. Clean lines and wine quotes dominate the decor, with service staff that aims to please. The wine on offer comes from multiple countries and regions, representing a variety of grapes and blends to please any palette. The café also offers small bites to eat, making it an ideal spot to meet up with friends or to take a date.

Lefebvre is also offering a special party for New Year's. From 00:30 until 4:30, for €50, you get an open bar of bubbles, wine, beer and snacks. Space is limited, so reserve your spot by e-mailing info@wijncafelefebvre.nl. For more information on the wines on offer, visit the café's http://www.wijncafelefebvre.nl/.

     Posted by Alison at 2:39 PM | Permalink | TrackBacks (0)
Photography Exhibits Getting Much Buzz

Feels like I can't bike more than 2 blocks these days without someone asking if I've seen the exhibits at the FOAM (photography museum) this month. People are ranting and raving in a very good way about the inspiring and captivating images that are part of two shows.

1 - Stanley Greene - Black Passport: this show features images from the private life and some of the most conflict plagued regions of the world that he has photographed. He is also the founder of the NOOR photography agency. (show is on til early February)

2 - Joel Sternfeld - Color Photographs since 1970: He is one of the pioneers of color photographs and you certainly feel it when you see his images. He captures daily life images from some fantastic parts of the United States, some of which have never been on display before.

These two shows are very much the talk of the town, right after what are you doing for Christmas and New Years. Clearly they are not to miss and you've got over month to do so.

     Posted by Bicyclemark at 11:54 PM | Permalink | TrackBacks (0)
Kraak & Smaak

Amsterdam and Rotterdam usually get the big shows, but this month Utrecht is getting Kraak & Smaak, the Dutch music producers famous for songs like Squeeze Me and Dynamite. Described as a "must-see live band", they've played numerous festivals and venues and now are playing Tivoli in Utrecht on December 28. The show will feature special guest: John Turrel (Smoove & Turrell) plus support by Knobsticker. Tickets are €17.50 and the show starts at 21:00. For more information about purchasing tickets, visit the Tivoli website.

     Posted by Alison at 5:13 PM | Permalink | TrackBacks (0)
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