Together with one of my fellow Europe in the World students (that is the name of the course I am currently on), I went on an exciting cafe-crawl around the city of Utrecht today. Tomas and I decided that it would have been more appropriate, and indeed fun, to work on our project while exploring nice cozy places to stay in and have a good coffee with cake at the same time. And I must say that it worked out very well. We went to three very different cafes (I know, not proper crawling, but the kind of moving around a student can afford, as we had to buy something in every place we went to), and they were all very special in their own way.
Please do bare in mind that Cafes and Coffeeshops are two completely different places here in the Netherlands. Starbucks would not be a coffeeshop for instance, as it does not sell marijuana (yet – who knows where business will take them one day or another).
But for now we just decided to stick to the places that make good coffee and cakes, not brownies. This post could also be useful for those of you who are looking for a nice place to have something to eat or drink during the day, or indeed somewhere to study that is not your room or the university library.
The first place we went to is one of the two “Coffeecompany” stores in the city. Apart from the fact that it is a chain, hence many would not think of it as a special place, it did have a very cozy and relaxed atmosphere and it was packed with students. We were in a room sharing a large wooden table with other five students, one of which was Greek and is currently studying communication in our same department at Hogeschool. Everyone was concentrated on their studies, with their own textbooks, MacBooks and a nice cup of coffee.
The second place we visited was in the central square, the Dome square. It is a cheesy-looking Swedish cafe called “Carla’s”, but nevertheless our overall experience was very positive!
When I went up to the counter to order my “kanelbulle” (Stockholm summer memories!), the middle-aged woman who was serving me started speaking in Swedish. I told her I did not understand a word, but she repeated exactly what she had said without changing language. When, for the third time, I told her that “Jag pratar bara lite Svenska” (“I speak just a little bit of Swedish”, not enough to understand what she was trying to say) and that I am Italian, she ironically said: “Well, your pronunciation sounded Swedish when you ordered the buns, then I looked at your Fjällräven bag (a famous Swedish brand), and I just connected the dots and thought: two plus two makes four! But no! Two plus two is… ITALIAN!”.
She is one of the friendliest Swedes I have ever met. She also kept talking in Swedish when we were sitting in the outside area of the cafe working on our project. I thought, what part of “I am a non-swedish speaker Italian” did she not understand? It was however loads of fun and I would recommend to go try one of their cinnamon buns (for €2,50…). Very very good!
As soon as Thomas and I got on our bikes directed to our next and last stop, she shouted from the shop: HEJ DÅ! (Bye!)
On our way to the next cafe Tomas bumped into (or biked into? sounds quite wrong) a friend from his old University course. He told us that he was on his way to a nice place with a good study area, so we decided to follow him.
We left the centre and headed to the south of the city until we reached this amazing Shoreditch-style cafe. It was beautifully designed and it offered a great place both to hang out with friends or to study.
It is called “Broei” and I would absolutely recommend it to anyone living in or visiting Utrecht!
The best part is that we actually managed to get some work done by the end of the day. You will be reading our article on Europe’s Green and sustainable initiatives and how Denmark and Scandinavian counties are leading in the use of renewable resources! Who wouldn’t be interested in that?!
It is Monday tomorrow so I wish you all a great start to the working week! 😀
P.S: Last but not least, a funny scene from a Pub I went to tonight of a cat enjoying an imaginary beer with its fellow human buddies