It finally happened-after almost a year without a single bit of travel, we were able to take a mini vacation. Granted, we didn’t feel ready to leave The Netherlands, but nonetheless the idea of a long weekend away seemed like a nice escape. So we headed south to Maastricht, which has an ancient history of both Roman occupation and serving as a river crossing point in medieval times.
On our first day, we spent time in the city of Maastricht. We checked out some of the churches in the city such as St. Servatius and the Bascilica of Our Lady.
We also saw this old church which is now a home with a laboratory in the lower levels.
We also wandered by the Servaas Bridge and along the old fortification wall of the city where we took a quick look at the old city gate known as Helpoort. We strolled through a park on the edge of the University of Maastricht before heading back to the city square for dinner.
On our second day, we went hiking in the nearby Oehoe Vallei in the morning which is situated near mine caves and a quarry. We even saw this big manor from the trail.
In the afternoon, we toured Fort Sint Pieter and the North Caves. The caves began as marlstone mines but also served as hideouts and were used by farmers in the past. Napoleon was once in the caves as well. More recently they were opened to artists and feature some really cool artwork.
On our third day we went to Margraten which is the site of the American WWII cemetery. This particular cemetery is the one at which Dutch families pass down the responsibility of tending their “adopted” graves which you can read about in my other post A Time for Remembrance, A Time for Celebration.
We also went to Drielandenpunt which is the three corners area of The Netherlands. This is where Germany, Belgium and the Netherlands meet. It is also the home of the highest point in The Netherlands-not very high, huh?! While we were here we did a fun outdoor labyrinth which I think we finished in record time.
In the afternoon we went hiking at another nature park called De Dellen as well as near our campground.
And of course no trip would be complete without food. While there was nothing too interesting, we did try the famous Limburg (that is the region Maastricht is in) Asparagus soup, many local drinks including several beers and apple juice made from the many fruit trees growing in the region, and the even more famous Limburg pie known as vlaai. There were a lot of variations of that one but our favorite was gooseberry.
So there you have it-our first attempt at traveling again. Fingers crossed that you will see more adventurous travel posts in the near future!