Monday, July 30, 2007

Maastricht, Netherlands

Sat July 14:

We had our delicious breakfast at 9:00; we can't seem to get up any earlier! Hard boiled egg, toast with apple jam or chocolate sprinkles, tea or coffee or hot chocolate, ham, cheese. Mmm...

We adored Maastricht! Met Tante Jo at her flat and hustled to the train station where we got our train around 11:00. Maastricht station is lovely. So is the town. We all fell in love with it. We browsed through an outdoor antique market which was neat, about 3 blocks long. It was a HOT day. I bought some old postcards of Heerlen, a watch for 5 Euros (mine broke) 3 Dutch porcelain figurines; one is a tiny Dutch girl, one a dog for Mom and the old lady gave me a pair of Dutch shoes for free. Also bought a piece of handmade lace for Mom.

Had an ice cream break after all that excitement! Tramped onwards across the river on a bridge by foot. Ate lunch on the terrace. I ate a simple bun. I must say it's hard to keep track of what we do each day as so much is stuffed into each day and I'm exhausted at the end of it.
After lunch we visited the big cathedral, St. Servaas. Wow...never seen anything like it. It even topped St. Bavo's. It was cool inside, just like A/C. We had to pay to get in. We saw old relics including the arm bone of some saint. We went down a winding stone staircase and a terrible stench struck us. It was the ruins of a graveyard discovered in the 1980's when digging for pipes.

We could see it behind glass, but no bones. I didn't linger there; it reminded me of a Victoria Holt novel and I wanted to run! We tried going on a tour but it was in Dutch and long winded so after we had sat in the church listening to organ music, we left. Tante Jo perched on a ledge in the corridor, reading her pocket book she had just bought in a book store that was in an old church, and we explored.

I went into the courtyard, where there were small trees and lots of lavender (they're really into lavender here). It was a good photo op! We sat in the church for a long time. It was lovely. St. Servaas (first Bishop of Maastricht) is buried under the church in a crypt. We went downstairs to see it. The church was built around him. The crypt had bars in front so you could look in; and candles and flowers. I've never seen anything like it. We stayed an hour in that church. It was very hot outside.
Here is Matthew behind the oldest pulpit in Europe.

Here is the crypt.

We browsed a bit more in shops then we took a horse and cart tour of the old part of the city. It was 10 Euros each and well worth it. Tante Jo didn't want to go but we persuaded her and she enjoyed it. She talked a mile a minute to our guide. We saw old government buildings which I've forgotten the names of, and a moat with an ancient house beside it. A 95 year old woman lives all alone in it. We passed a spot called the Witches' Corner (don't know why). Also passed a pretty river flowing past and went through the city gate and saw the old city wall.

I believe I'm saturated with ancient buildings, stone walls, gates, etc! What a grand feeling. Next time I come here I'll bring a recording device as I can't keep up with all this handwriting; I'm not used to it!

We ate supper at a sidewalk cafe and then wound our way home. It was a perfect day.

1 comment:

Write 2 The Point said...

Loretta, I just love your updates! It is as if we are right there with you. I love lavender and would really enjoy sitting in a field of it. I use lavender essential oils whenever I can. I'd love that church too--Blaise and I often visit churches and just sit there to immerse in the Holy Spirit.
Keep up the good work.
Love, Karen