Monday, March 26, 2012

The View From Up Here

The Netherlands is a relatively flat country, so if you can find a way to get up above the rooftops, you can see for miles on a clear day.  Today was a clear day --and we found the highest point around--the Dom Tower in the city of Utrecht.
After a morning train ride, we met up with a friend of Koekoes (now a friend to us too!)
Corine showed us around town on another warm and sunny day.

Together we climbed the 465 steps to the top of the 111 meter tower.

Yeah!  We made it to the top!

Construction on the Dom Church began in 1280 and stopped in the mid 1500s.  Toward the end of the construction, there wasn't much money for building, so they cut a few corners in the construction of the nave by not doubling the walls and by deleting the buttresses that were commonly used to hold up the enormously high walls.
Notice the secure and ornate buttresses on this wall.
In 1654, a hurricane hit this part of Holland, tearing through the church.  When the wind died down, the tower and the main church remained, but the nave had been completely destroyed. Now there is an open square between the walls of the church and the church's own tower.  From above you can see where they were once connected.

Some of the largest bells in the tower date back to medieval times.  Their tones are accurate to the "do, re, mi" in the musical scale.  Somehow, they had the understanding back then on how large and thick to cast the bell to ring at just the right tone.  The bells are enormous and weigh a ton (actually the largest one is over 9 tons!)  It is named Salvator and 4 trained and fit people have to work together in order to ring it.

Ana and Mia got to be the "ding-a-lings" of our group and ring some smaller bells.

From the top of the tower, we had a postcard view of the city and surrounding area.

 At the end of a long day, it was nice to sit on the train and think about another great day in Holland.

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