Utrecht is a wonderful city with enough things to see and do. But if you get tired from walking along the waterways running through the city, the busy shopping streets or sightseeing, you should take a break in a lovely park called het Griftpark.
Just a few minutes walk from the city’s center lies het Griftpark. The most likely way to enter it is from the skate landscape side. A big, colorful “skatingbowl” that lies at the entrance of the park. The bowl is decorated with the images of human intestines in a playful way, nothing to disturb your break in the park! Beyond the skating area you will have to cross a bridge which runs over a little waterway. On the other side, you will find het Griftpark.
The first thing you will see is a restaurant/cafe, Griftpark 1, even though the name’s not very original it’s a fun little building where you can grab a cold drink after having explored the whole park. In front of the cafe lies a raft with chairs on it, I do not know if (with hot weather) you are able to float on the water while enjoying your drinks but I like to believe you can. :) The cafe also has a roof terrace from which you can overlook the whole park and a bit of Utrecht’s skyline.
Continuing on into the park, you can choose a few roads to follow from here. You can go left and enter a big playground or go straight ahead to the big overview hill called de Schaal meaning the Bowl. Big stairs lead up to the top where you can do a 360 degree look of the park, a perfect moment to have a Spinner 360 with you.
Descending from the Bowl, you will be greeted by the loud oinking of pigs or the cries of a peacock. It’s a little petting zoo! They have a few huge pigs who are a bit aggressive but it’s fun to sit on one of the benches and watch the pigs screaming at each other.
Moving on from the piggies, cows, and peacocks you will cross another bridge with a stairs-like construction under it which leads to the water. Kids love to play at the waterside and a lot of little duckies with their duck mothers swim there.Crossing over the bridge is the Flower Garden and frog pool. At the time I went, there were a few guys drinking beers hanging out inside the gates of the garden so unfortunately I did not have the chance to snap a frog and turn him into my lomoprince.
Passing the garden, you will most likely be greeted by running, jumping and barking dogs playing with each other. This part of the park attracts a lot of dog owners as there is a big patch of flat grass, a dog training ramp and a muddy piece of soil leading straight into the water. So better not wear your favorite pair of white pants for the chances are high that you will be jumped by dogs with big muddy paws.
Turning left to cross yet another bridge that runs over the water where the dogs go in and out, the path over the bridge will lead you to three directions. Either way, is fine but the one straight ahead is the most fun. One where you will eventually run into three big man-like sculptures called the Drei figuren für Utrecht (Three figures for Utrecht) made by the German artist, Thomas Schütte. These three “people” represent the nature-loving people that live around het Griftpark who helped realize the park as it is today. Being in the park with my dearest friends, we lie on the grass underneath the sculptures, cooling off in the shade and took pictures of each other and the surroundings.
There is much more to do in this park and a few hours just won’t cut it. Take your time, enjoy the gentle vibe of the park, and do go back a few times because you will keep discovering new things!
More info: http://www.utrecht.nl/smartsite.dws?id=119738 (Dutch only)