Completing the Trifecta: Maastricht + Aachen

Posted by D on Monday, July 09, 2012

Considering the close proximity and interlocking between Belgium, the Netherlands and Germany, it seemed fitting that my next weekend trip (June 9th & 10th) encompassed Maastricht (for all you poli sci junkies, where the Maastricht Treaty was signed), and Aachen. The Maas River (above) is pretty spectacular, spanned by a number of bridges. Started Saturday off by taking the train to Aachen, then a bus to Maastricht. H gave me a tour of the city, which is fairly small, but quaint and cute.  
Technically it is a university town as well, but the place seems to lean towards the calmer, quieter side. There were also animals in the middle of the city! Peacocks, birds, deer, donkey, sheep... There were a couple animals that were funny but majestic looking, and I got pretty excited, all "wow, that's a really cool animal! What is it?" sort of deal, to which H replied, "those are goats." in the city isn't exactly conducive to animal recognition skills, I suppose haha.  
Maastricht is a really place - water, parks, animals... Basically really calm and peaceful. I suppose when you're young and a student, it could get a little boring, but I would imagine later on in life, it'd be the kind of place I'd want to go to get away from the city bustle for a weekend. (Although if they plopped some places like that ^ downtown, I'd totally go there to chill.)

There's a lot of historic stuff too, churches, cathedrals, parts of the old city gate that're still standing... Probably climbed more turret/cyclical stairs in Maastricht alone than everywhere else I've visited so far this summer combined.  
Case in point: we went up these turret stairs in this church by the center square - which was kind of taxing, actually, since the steps are uneven stone and the space is pretty cramped. It took ages to get up (and then back down), but it wasn't actually all that high up (still super windy though!). It was really cool because from up there you could literally see 360 degrees - and therefore all three countries (Germany, Belgium and the Netherlands). 
I got really excited about seeing these Dutch clogs too. I remember a good decade or so ago, we went to Ottawa for Victoria Day and there were tons of Dutch tulips and clogs. Back then, it seemed more like a concept than anything else, the idea of Holland far, far away. But now, here I was, holding Dutch clogs, in the Netherlands. Kind of odd trying to reconcile your childhood self with your... in-transition-between-childhood-and-adulthood self. 

Caught the first half of the Netherlands-Denmark game (Euro Cup 2012) with H and some of his friends, 2 Dutch guys and another guy from Manchester. They were all pretty chill, and pretty funny with the translations on the commentary (since I don't know Dutch). And it was interesting to note the cultural differences in  perspective too!

Then I caught the bus back to Aachen, met up with S, and we went to watch the Germany-Portugal game. (It's kind of insane, to have been in the Netherlands while they played, and then back in Germany while they played as well :O Things like that don't really happen in North America, since everything's so much more spread out...) It was great to see Germany win! 
Getting back after the game was...a bit of a trial. S forgot his keys, so we essentially had to break into his flat. #CouchSurfingAdventures haha. Checked out a really cool bar/pub sort of place, which S described as having a "living room atmosphere" (think couches, dim lighting, vintage knickknacks...), with dancing in the basement (but they were playing polka music or something).  
Spent Sunday wandering the city, checking out art galleries/museums, the university, that sort of thing. Also had the biggest dollop of eis for the cheapest price so far this summer while in Aachen (more stracciatella :) 
Certainly interesting to check out some smaller places, see some of the ordinary, less-touristy aspects of these countries. 

(Should really start blogging while more awake - I feel like the last couple of entries have all been poorly-written, incoherent messes. Ah well...) Also - a few weeks ago I saw a blog post about seeing the Alps in Bavaria, but it was some hidden spot that isn't widely advertised to tourists because the locals want it kept secret to keep it from being over-run. The post was accompanied by beautiful photos of mountains and lakes. Trying to find this post, but can't remember where I saw it... Long shot, but does this ring a bell for anyone/direct me to the blog?


  1. You're so lucky to be in Germany for the Euro cup!! The bars there must've have been crazy. And I love Aachen! I was there last year visiting a's such a cute little student town!

  2. so cool you can just hop right over the border. and i miss the eurocup too much! such a fun season!


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