Tuesday, March 20, 2001

The Treat of Maastricht

Rotterdam, Netherlands
Woke up to snow (a few flakes) at 7am and had breakfast at the hostel. I was on the metro at 8 but the train was having a problem with the doors and I figured the announcement in Dutch translated to “leave” so I led the group getting off the train. We all got on the next one and I made my way down to Delftshaven, where the pilgrims left on the Speedwell, before transferring to the Mayflower in England. I visited the restored 18th Century windmill and got a couple of photos.

It was just 8:30am, and I walked over to the Euromast which opens at 10. I was there by 9am, at which point I weighed my options. My time in Maastricht will be limited and I’ve seen a large part of the Rotterdam skyline already. Not to mention the fl15 ticket to get up to the top of the Euromast. I walked back to the hostel and was checked out by 9:30. A Metro ride to Centraal station allowed me to catch the 10:15 train to Maastricht, via a train change in Sittard. The Sittard bound train is an Intercity and pretty comfy. Switched into a stoptrein, slower, but only took a few minutes.

Maastricht, Netherlands
I arrived in Maastricht and got a ticket for tomorrow. It’s freezing rain here, too. I strolled along the Maas until I reached the Botel, a boat that’s been converted into a hotel. I didn’t have reservations, but they had rooms anyways.
From the Botel, I proceeded to the Helpoort—the ruins of what once used to be the city walls. The streets here are the stereotypical narrow, brick-laden, European streets that bend and wind through the old part of town. I got weinerschnitzel for lunch with a glass of Wiecz Witte, an unfiltered Maastricht beer.

More strolling, I saw the Vrijthof, where Sint Servaasbasiliek and Sint Janskerk sit side by side across the square from where I grabbed lunch. On the north side of town, there is a statue of Johannes Petrus Minckelers, who invented the gas light. The statue has a gas-fed, flaming rod, which seemed a bit unusual.
See the flame by the lightpost?
I also stopped into Onze Lieve Vrouwebasiliek, which has parts dating before 1000 AD and may well be built on the foundations of a Roman Cathedral.

I got back to the Botel near sunset and was going to go out for dinner but was more tired than I was hungry so I laid down. During the night I could hear and feel the barges passing as my bed slowly rocked.

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