The heart of Limburg, home of Andre Rieu, a mid-sized city with a beautiful market place that makes space for amazing little side streets a perfect combination that makes you want to be traveling to Maastricht, Netherlands… and staying!
Traveling to Maastricht – A Little History Class
In 1800s, when most of the southern Netherlands joined newly formed Belgium, Maastricht was ‘saved’ by commander Dibbets who refused to accept a Belgian ultimatum and withstood a siege, leaving the city in Dutch hands as a disconnected exclave until 1839 when the Netherlands reclaimed enough of eastern Limburg to connect it to the rest of the Dutch state.
This geographical appendix has lasted ever since, Maastricht hanging cartographically from the rest of the country, hemmed in on three sides by Belgium and Germany. In the 20th-century it was this very precarious position that saved the city from war damage: the Dutch government simply didn’t bother mounting a defence.
5 A.M. and the alarm clock goes off. My right foot was asleep because of a 40+ kilo dog sleeping on it. I try to wiggle free, but then Thor decides to wake up too. I had no intention of getting out early since it was -7°C outside. It was a cold February Saturday, a day to cuddle up on the sofa with a book, tea, and a warm puppy.
But I had that buzz again. The buzz of going out and snapping some pics and have an adventure of sorts :-). So we packed up the photography bag and headed out, not knowing yet where I would stop. It was early and sunrise this time of the year was later on so I had time to decide on-route where to stop.
The road took us towards Maastricht and then I decided to just head into the city since the city was still asleep.
Traveling to Maastricht - First Stop
The first stop was the Fortress of Sint Peter. The Fortress was built on St. Peter’s Mount in the early 18th century. Its initial purpose was military, allowing the people of Maastricht to defend the city from the French. Nowadays it is a tourist attraction with guided tours and diverse hiking routes all around it.
Here we sat on the cold and wet ground, getting our tushies wet admiring the golden ball arising across the sky.
Maastricht, Maas and Bridges
After enjoying the view we decided to head towards the old part of the city. So we took Ellie (that is how I call my Jeep) and head towards the River Maas. It was around 8 A.M and the cafes were still closed so no luck with a quick hot coffee. But we found lots of bridges: Sint Servaasbrug – the oldest pedestrian bridge in Netherlands, the Hoge Brug – pedestrian and bike bridge.
All Roads Lead To .... Vrijthof
Ah the romantic Market Place Vrijthof. How beautiful you are in the morning sun. The sun-kissed Sint Servaas Basilica is inviting me and Thor to sit down on a bench and just enjoy the view and Maastricht flair. Lovely.
We will be back beautiful Maastricht!
xoxo Alex & Thor