Tuesday, May 3, 2011

A sunny day overlooking the river Meuse in Maastricht

The river Meuse running through the city of Maastricht

Making sure you get at the right part of the train is the first thing you need to make sure of because the dutch trains going to Maastrich also split and go to Heerlen. So, getting on the wrong part might lead you to Heerlen instead of Maastricht. The landscape does seem a bit different than the rest of the Netherlands. At last some slopes again! That brings back to mind the landscape of Shire in the Lord of the Rings movie.

Maastricht Train Station

Maastricht, with it's ideal and strategic location on the river Meuse, seems to manage to keep the balance between the traditional and the modern, in favor of the former. You can also see the influence of the different cultures, the Dutch, the Belgian and the German. Almost everything here written in Dutch, English, French and German. Maastricht is also capital to the Dutch province of Limburg (strangely enough the actual town of Limburg is in what is now Belgium).

To European people, this city is mostly famous for the Maastricht Treaty, the treaty that introduced the European Union and the Euro.

An interesting finding was that the famous D'Artagnan of the three musketeers, was a French captain under king Luis XIV who perished while besieging the town, and that inspired the famous writer, Alexandre Dumas to write his famous novel, The Three Musketeers. You can also find a restaurant with his name in a sunny spot of the city.

Maastricht Town Hall

The main sights here include the church of Onze Lieve Vrouwe (Our Beloved Lady), Sint Servatius, the Stadhuis (town hall), the various bridges linking the two shores of Meuse together and the Ceramics center.

Onze Lieve Vrouwekerk

Coming here in spring one has to try the local asparagus soup, that the whole province is proud to produce, and so did I. And I have to admit was quite rewarding!
Asparagus-soup with cream, onions and ham.

Also quite famous is the Limburgian Vlaai ( marmalade pie) which makes a nice combination with coffee at the cafeterias in the big squares or at the small alleyways.
The town is also famous for it's unique white beers, mainly Gulpener and Wieckse Witte.

What was also very enjoyable was lying on the grass at the Charles Eyck Park park, watching the river boats passing the Meuse river. In general there are many green spots around the city and especially the young people seem to prefer them a lot!

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