Wednesday, March 21, 2012


Saturday, we got up early and took a bus to Maastricht, the closest major city to Aachen. Maastricht is a decently large city, with a big college, is one of the first cities in the Netherlands, and one of the most ancient cities in all of Europe. It's name means "crossing of the Meuse" referring to the bridge built by the Romans in the time of Augustus Caesar

The River Meuse runs right through the middle of Maastricht, separating the Altstadt (old city) from the rest. When we walked out of the bus station, we ran into a cute little Saturday flea market set up right in the middle of the street. They had wooden shoes for sale!!! I wanted to buy them sooo badly, but my common sense won out. :( 

I did buy a cute little tea spoon that says "Holland" with a windmill on top that actually spins. :) 

Taking our own walking tour, we saw Helpoort (Hell's Gate: a 13th century city gate and the oldest in Holland) and the old city wall built in 1229. Of course I had to touch it, that's the oldest thing I've ever seen!!! 

The Onze Lieve Vrouwebasiliek (Basilica of our Lady: an 11th century church...holy cow!) was a really cool place that looks like a combination castle/church. The inside was super dark, and rather creepy. They had a neat little side chapel, where there were lots and lots of candles which produced waves of heat. It was such a relief after the bitter wind outside. 

We followed the map around Maastricht, where we made our way to Church of St. John (Sint Janskerk: built in the 1300's) [below with the red top] and right next to it was the Church of St. Serviatus (Sint Servaasbasiliek), where we got to go down into the excavated crypt, and also see the saint's tomb. 

This floor was a legitimate maze. The center cross is Jerusalem, and there are other cities in the four corners of the floor. I actually walked through most of the maze, and it was really awesome. Probably the coolest tiled floor I've ever seen. I was running around the maze, using tiptoes because my feet were almost too big for the corridors, and some people came into the room and started giving me funny looks. Hey, it's a maze people! 

We found this adorable little bakery that sold macarons. I've been wanting to try macarons desperately for a while now, and so I was BEYOND stoked to try them. So I bought four (earl grey, rose, coffee, and a weird purple berry flavor). Now I can't stop thinking about them. I want NEED more macarons soon. I might just take a trip to Maastricht to buy them. 

So Maastricht was a blast, and I can't wait to go back soon (hopefully on a nicer day next time) !!

Here are some of my random pictures:

The oldest street in one of the oldest cities

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