Maastricht: our first weekend away

Last week I suggested to my husband that we go away for a night or two next month, just to see more of The Netherlands, and to do something nice for ourselves. I asked the South African Facebook group for some suggestions, and literally at the same time that the slew of recommendations for Maastricht came through, Andrew sent me a message with a link to Maastricht, thinking it would be nice to go there.

We decided to head there sooner than next month, and once we knew Maastricht was “the one” this time, we booked a hotel for Saturday night. There are buses every half hour from Amsterdam Central Station to Maastricht, and it’s only a 2.5 hour train ride. I made asked my son Max to research a bit about Maastricht as part of his/our Dutch learning, and here are some interesting things about the city:

– It’s one of the oldest cities in The Netherlands
– It attracts around 3 million tourists a year
– It has more than 1 600 historical landmark buildings
– It is around 140km from the Belgian border
– The European Union was formed as the result of the Maastricht treaty which was signed in this city in 1992
– During WWII, the city fell to the German forces, but was one of the first cities liberated by the Allies
– Maastricht University was founded in 1972, and there are other learning institutions in the city, which have led to a fast-growing student population, and a global demographic


On Saturday morning, we literally closed our apartment door, and headed out. I didn’t even need to worry about my beloved plants – the weather is cooler, and I reckoned the daily drinkers would be okay for a day without watering. Nothing was dead on arrival home, so all worked out.

We took a train ride to Maastricht, and when we got there it was rainy and chilly, and ducked into a little restaurant to eat. From there, we walked through the centre, with a miserable toddler. She’s been quite “off” lately, and the rain compounded things.

I’ve never seen a Dutch person fazed by the rain – they get on with it, whether by bike or by foot, with a raincoat or umbrella, or neither. I’m the type who avoids going out when it’s raining, or plans things around a rainy day to avoid getting wet or minimally so.

Here, it’s as if the rain is air and nothing seems to stop people heading out, getting chores done, and even waiting in queues.

With a grumpy and uncomfortable toddler, we went to our hotel for the night. While it was great to chill, read and hang out, I would have loved to have gone out (even in the chill and rain) and seen the city by night, but the plan was instead put on ice for our next visit.

The next day, we headed out to explore more of the city, and someone in our party (I won’t mention names), was shouting at the wind to “go away”. Despite trying to explain that weather can’t be commanded into doing something we want it to do, it was a theme the whole morning.

We battled to find a restaurant with an available table as they all seemed to be at Covid capacity, but we eventually found one and everyone got what they needed – from fries and mayo to soup and sarmies.

We walked around some of the city some more, and decided to call it a day and head back home. A smooth train ride later, and we were back home (still weird to call it home), with some Amazon packages at our front door, and some healthy-looking plants indoors to greet us.


Prev post: An Amsterdam update – birthdays, class moms and “blind dates”Next post: Three months since our touchdown in Amsterdam

Related posts

Leave a Reply