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.
We were treated to a tiny parade while we had breakfast. Or I guess more accurately: a single band played and marched by us.
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
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.
And then we strolled through the town:
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.
Dinner at our Dutch home away from home
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.
It’s Christmastime in the city…
Carnival colors lit the night
You have to agree that it is CRAZY that city tours are conducted on an old Florida school bus!
And in all honesty, this is how we spent a lot of time in Maastricht: