Wednesday, 25 May 2011

Maastricht: a cultural heritage city in the south of the Netherlands

We headed down from Amsterdam to Maastricht at the bottom of the Netherlands by train. We purchased our tickets easily enough on the machine at the railway station (there is an option for English), found what platform the train was leaving from and made our way to the platform. The train arrived about 10 mins later and we set off to Maastricht.

About 20 mins later a conductor came and started checking tickets and informed us we were on the wrong train. We then ascertained that we were actually on two trains and that the front part of this one was heading to Maastricht and the back half (which were on) was going somewhere we had never heard of and had no intention to go to. We swapped trains at the next stop (it was several carriages of walking). The different carriages were labelled with different train numbers that match with a number displayed at the station, so we will pay closer attention to this next time.

The train journey was 2½ hours long and during the journey somebody came around selling coffee and tea. I didn’t notice, but apparently one of the sets of cups she had was Starbucks.


Once at Maastricht we took a taxi to our 4 star accommodation (I don’t know where they got their stars from but the place could do with a revamp), refreshed and then headed out for lunch.

The service was so slow where we went to for lunch that we had a beer and coffee and then headed off to a bakery that does Farmers lunches (De Bisschopsmolen) that Jane had found in the guide to Maastricht as we had waited for service.

On the way we came across a lovely hat shop,


some beautiful buildings,


and some kids playing marbles (I suspect they’re a lot older now).


De Bisschopsmolen translates to “The Bishops Mill” and they use Kollenberger spelt prepared on a stone floor oven. We both had the Farmers lunches (like a Ploughmans platter), which was a decent size and came with a variety of meats, several excellent breads, yellow plum jam, a chocolate hazelnut spread and perenapple stroop (which I don’t what it is, but it was a little like treacle in consistency and taste, but a bit more tart), apple juice (we did have the option of milk instead!) and a choice of tea of coffee. It was a nice assortment with quality ingredients, except for the coffee which was disgusting.


After lunch we ventured into a beautiful Romanesque church, The Basilica of our Beloved Lady,that was built in the 11th century. Photos were not allowed inside, but believe me it was beautiful.


Some more beautiful streets later,


we ended up at the waterfront where we purchased some tickets for a boat trip tomorrow out to the caves.


After a bit more wandering around through beautiful streets and squares we went in search of a geocache and it led us to this beautiful vault located in the basement of a shop selling kitchen and dining ware (which used to be a bank). We then asked a sales assistant for entry to the vault and retrieved the cache and signed the log.


Maastricht has a lot of culture and we are glad that we added it to our itinerary.

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