Europe’s most content city

When our trusted Cheese Man (That’s right, we had our own Cheese Man!) suggested Jen and I visit Maastricht, Netherlands because it’s the supposedly the most content city in Europe, we knew it would be delightful. Was it ever!

The town, which we quickly dubbed Happy Land, is situated on the River Maas.
Maastricht, Netherlands

We were treated to a tiny parade while we had breakfast. Or I guess more accurately: a single band played and marched by us.
A one band parade

We spent the day exploring the pedestrian area, shopping at a church rummage sale, and touring the North Caves at Fort St. Pieter.
Jen at the North Caves entrance
Jen at the North Caves Entrance

Caves of St. Pietersberg map

The caves formed over many centuries by the quarrying of the local marlstone. Originally there were some 20,000 passages with a total length of 200km/125mi. During the Second World War some of the passages were enlarged, a well was dug and storerooms, a bakery and even a chapel were constructed, providing accommodation in which most of the town’s population could take refuge. (According to our tour guide, treasures were hidden in the caves during WWII, including Rembrandt’s The Night Watch.)

I enjoyed our day trip so much that when Big D returned from deployment a few days later, he and I went for the weekend.

Our first stop was the Netherlands American Cemetery & Memorial.
Netherlands American Cemetery & Memorial

And then we strolled through the town:
Maastricht, Netherlands

Basilica of the Virgin Mary
Basilica of the Virgin Mary

We were thrilled to find a very nice hotel situated on the river that honors the US Government rate. Its affordability made us frequent guests.
River Maas

Big D & me at dinner
Dinner at our Dutch home away from home

view at dinner
View during dinner

We soon learned that Tongeren, supposedly the oldest town in Belgium and home to the biggest antique flea market in the Belgium-Netherlands-Luxembourg region, is only nine miles from Maastricht. Since flea market shopping is an early morning venture, we’d drive to Maastricht to explore on Saturday, shop in Tongeren on Sunday morning, and be back at our home in Germany in time for dinner. I’ve lost track of how many times we visited, but I have lots of treasures from each trip.

view from sports store window
It’s Christmastime in the city…

carnival in Maastricht
Carnival

Carnival decorations
Carnival

our hotel was decked out
Carnival colors lit the night

Florida school bus!
You have to agree that it is CRAZY that city tours are conducted on an old Florida school bus!

fun statues in Maastricht

And in all honesty, this is how we spent a lot of time in Maastricht:
Carnival in Maastricht is tasty!

Maastricht, Netherlands

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