Utrecht appeared quite popular in tourist books and seems to be held in high regard in Holland. I must say, we enjoyed the city but not because of the city and all of its must-sees.By the time we hit Utrecht we had cycled for 3 days and were ready for a rest. We landed for 3 days in Utrecht, in an ops de fiets (rented rooms out of people's homes---see photo; breakfast included). It was drizzly, rainy and cold all 3 days while we were in Utrecht. And it was the perfect excuse to throw tourism by the way-side and chill out.
It was also the first place we all had wi-fi access simultaneously (2 computers and 2 itouches), and we had a lot of online, picture loading, reservation making, account closing, post writing and all manner of catching up to do. Oh, and email and and and. There were itunes to tune and good books that beckoned. We shimmied into our rooms and rested.
It was also the first home where (for a small extra fee) we were invited to eat one dinner with the family. To which we said yes, because how often do you get a cultural political pulse from the locals? I think we gained more from conversations with this family (on the night we had dinner they also had their oma and one of their grown sons there) than any waltz through the city.
On another night we grabbed drinks and salad from the grocer and actually bought take-out pizza. We really tucked in. Besides, we were there on a Sunday and thus far we have found in Holland, that means the whole town shuts down. Hardly anything open at all.
Of course we did walk into the city---we like to get to know a place on foot. And we had 2 lovely lunches while there, found a tiny corner of English books in a bookstore, enjoyed the sites and walked the canals.
Utrecht highlights in a nutshell: home cooked meals, clean and line-dried laundry, chickens with baby chicks (homeowners had chickens and a rooster, a huge highlight for us), big breakfasts, wi-fi access, a really great lunch with amazing desserts, some light window-shopping, long stretches of reading, and the boys buying fountain pens (for drawing in their journals).