Jun 5, 2015
The Netherlands: Maastricht
Okay. Okay. I know I'm dragging out these posts, but since this place serves as a personal travel journal for me, I'm not going to apologize. Apparently, the word concise is not in my personal dictionary.
So about Maastricht.
It is pretty much the most adorable little foreign town in the world.
Period. End of blog post.
Just kidding. I know you were hopeful.
Geographically speaking, this village is super unique, as it's wedged right in between the borders of Belgium and Germany and actually quite cut off from the northern parts of The Netherlands. Because of that, it has its own feel and culture to it.
We took the train from Rotterdam to Maastricht with Emma (since this is currently where she's living - yeah, I'm jealous) and had about a mile walk to our hotel. Cobblestone streets, which are all over this town, sure are adorable to look at, but make quite the racket when you are rolling your suitcase over them. So that's why people wear backpacks when traveling to Europe ;)
After checking in and seeing Emma's cute little studio apartment, we had lunch overlooking the water and walked around the town a bit. Gelato may have been involved for the third night in a row.
This town has a mixture of high end stores and mom and pop places like the bakery shown above. Every single place we visited was just out of this world charming.
While I didn't get many photos (there comes a point on vacations where I just get sick of hiding behind a lens), Brandon and I went on a cave tour of the St. Pietersburg Caves.
On our walk there:
Outskirts of Maastricht:
As two history fanatics, this was our idea of a really good time. The tour was kind of creepy (at one point, they turn off the lamps and you walk alone for 5 minutes in pitch black darkness), but totally fascinating. The caves were built in Roman times and used as hiding places in WWII.
After our tour, we had one of our favorite dinners of the entire trip. We went to a small local restaurant that served...horse stew. I know. I know. I couldn't wrap my head around eating Mr. Ed either, but even though the waiter said it was real horse meat and Emma said it wasn't (her brother worked there and said it was beef), it was nonetheless delicious. I actually chickened out of ordering it, but Brandon went for it (when in Rome, err, Rome's neighbors) and I had few bites after which, I wanted to steal his entire bowl. So good. So good.
And I just lost a blog reader.
After dinner, we photographed some of the streets...
... and spent our last evening with Emma :(
But we made the most of it, eating gelato for the umpteenth time, goofing off in the city square (see above), sipping tea, and people watching at a small outdoor cafe. It was yet another gezelligheid experience that I'll never forget.
There's just no way you can live in this little town and not enjoy life. It's full of culture, friendly people, great food, and relaxing experiences. One thing that was weird to me at first, but I grew to love about the Netherlands, is that restaurants do not give you a bill after your meal is over and it was in Maastricht where the concept really started to make sense. You can sit at their table all night long if you want (they don't even have closing times) chatting, eating and drinking. There was never a rush to leave or hurry your meal to turn over a table.
They believe in the good life. About taking things slow and appreciating the small stuff. About ordering wine on a Monday night just because. About dressing in your finest clothes just to go walk the streets. About eating gelato every single night because it's delicious. It was so much easier to relax in Maastricht than any other place we visited (ever) and especially easier than in the U.S. They refer to this way of living as the "Burgudian Life" and you can count me as a fan. I'd like to be the person responsible for bringing this phenomenon to Silicon Valley; where people need to learn to chill as badly as they need it to downpour (too soon?).
Another blog reader bites the dust.
All joking aside, Maastricht was not only an incredibly lovely place to visit, but it definitely gave me a sense of what's really important in life. And not to get even cheesier, but that's what travel is all about. Thank you, Emma. Thank you, Maastricht.
at 10:47:00 PM