Utrecht, a vibrant student city and the capital of the province of the same name in the heart of the Netherlands. The foundation for the city was laid by the Romans around 50 AD, but the current city was probably established 650 years later, as a spiritual center with two churches. In 1122, Utrecht received city rights and the construction of the Oudegracht and the walls of the city began. Due to its central location in the Netherlands, the city has grown into a crowd puller, with the Dom Tower attracting many visitors. This logo of the city is the highest church tower in the Netherlands (112.32 meters high). Behind the Dom there was a secret meeting place for homosexuals in the eighteenth century, a memorial stone has been placed here to commemorate the people who were caught and sentenced to death. Because of this naming, a resident of the city often prefers to be called "Utrecht". The route starts at Profile het Rijwielpaleis. Here you get a discount of no less than 10 euros on maintenance and repairs when you show your bicycle discount pass, so this is an excellent opportunity to give your bike a small service before you leave and set course for Slot Zeist. Slot Zeist was built in the seventeenth century as a pleasure resort. It is one of the first castles in the Netherlands to be built in the Baroque style. Much of the castle has remained intact and is still the same as it was a few centuries ago. Today the castle serves as a conference center. There is another smaller castle in Zeist. Blikkenburg was probably built in the fourteenth century. It is one of the few castles that has always remained in private ownership over the years. The original castle was made of brick and was demolished in 1627. After this, the current house was built, which still functions as a residence today. Then you come to a castle and homestead near Bunnik: De Beesde. The oldest mention of De Beesde is from 1395. The castle was originally built as a residential tower towards the end of the fourteenth century or at the beginning of the fifteenth century. The west wing was added in the eighteenth century and the north side in the nineteenth century. This castle is also privately inhabited. Rhynauwen Castle is located on the right bank of the Rhine, just outside the town of Bunnik. The house is first mentioned in the thirteenth century, but the current castle dates from the eighteenth century. The house was built where its predecessor stood. The property is owned by the municipality of Utrecht and in 2013 there is a youth hostel located in the castle. Then you will pass a number of forts, which are scattered throughout the area but all belong together; Fort Rhynauwen, Fort Vossegat, Fort de Bilt and Fort Voordorp. The forts are part of the New Dutch Waterline and the Defense Line of Utrecht. They are built in strategic places and defend the surrounding area and the land behind. The entire defense line runs from Muiden to the Biesbosch, the defensive works stretch over 85 kilometers. Not only did forts help guard the boundary line, but the water was also used as an effective means of thwarting enemies. The New Dutch Waterline has been designated as a national landscape since 2005, and four years later the entire line was given the status of a national monument. Since 2010, the defense line has been a candidate for the World Heritage List of Unesco. And rightly so, because the Nieuwe Hollandse Waterlinie is a beautiful nature reserve with forts, shelters for birds and protected animal species and hydraulic engineering highlights that are visible and hidden in the landscape. On your way back to Zeist you will pass two beautiful estates. Vollenhoven originally belonged to the Benedictine monastery Oostbroek in De Bilt and its history dates back to the sixteenth century. Vollenhoven was auctioned in 1922. Mr M. van Marwijk Kooy then bought it, together with his father-in-law. Part of the estate was sold in 1966, on which the Zeister residential area? Vollenhoven? was built. When the A28 was built, changes were last made to the estate. The last estate on the route, Beerschoten, is a beautiful wooded area near the city of Utrecht. Huize Beerschoten was built in 1889 in neo-renaissance style. The estate forms a large nature reserve of 378 hectares. In the nineteenth century, the park forest at Beerschoten was designed in the English Landscape style by garden architect JD Zocher Jr. The estate is home to many rare animals and plants.