Tuesday, 25 March 2008

advantages of my job #8: jet setting

I'm not sure you can really call it jet setting since there are only high speed trains involved, but there has been quite a bit of travel in the past couple weeks.

A day in Brussels here, a day in Eindhoven there, and 2 days in Maastricht last week.

Before I actually had any business trips, or a child, I dreamed of the glamor and travel involved in criss-crossing North West Europe by TGV, plane and very slow local train. Now that reality's hit, I look forward to my trips as a way of getting a small glimpse of a place and then filing it away in the "I'd like to come back here" place in my brain.

I went to Maastricht for a trip a couple years ago and thought it was just ok, but this time...wow! The city is absolutely beautiful.

The city is spread across the Maas river with a nice path along the river. What makes Maastricht so beautiful is that most of it belonged to the Church until not so long ago and then, since there are no Catholics left, the city, university and private investors have bought up the old buildings which have been renovated and adapted to a totally modern city. There are cobble stones, city walls, and funky Dutch design. Unlike in France where they keep the facades of buildings and
destroy the inside build a new structure inside, the old churches in Maastricht have kept the original building which has been totally renovated and given a second life. (Note: I cannot take credit for any of these pictures since I didn't take any...)

There is a church transformed into the most beautiful bookstore I've ever seen, without damaging the church. Like they took a wonderful bookstore and plopped it down in the middle of a gorgeous Dominican church, café and all! And there's a modern hotel in another church (which I didn't find as beautiful because of the red and purple lighting scheme).

It's also a great place to run. I planned on running along the river promenade, but got side tracked when I saw the city walls which eventually led me to the Hoge Fronten which is a series of trenches and ramparts turned into a pasture for sheep at some point and is now a public park. It was one of the most beautiful running experiences I've had (not as pretty as the Aran Islands but not bad for a city run).

And there was a really cool pedestrian draw bridge that allowed boats to pass while the pedestrians continued to cross. I'm not technical enough to explain how, but trust me, it was cool.

On top of all that, it's a great shopping and eating city! We had a too copious rijstafel at a funky place with paper umbrellas hanging from the ceiling right off the Onze Lieve Vrouweplein.

Next up in our series : Truro (Cornwall)...I'm already dreading that one and the 8 hour train ride.


Elisabeth said...

This was totally amazing, and made me feel like visiting this city someday.

Elisabeth said...

On another front, contact me, if you are interested at walisabeth@yahoo.com, because I'll be in Lille from June 2 to June 20, and would love to meet you in person.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...