So today I got better about sleeping in. I got up around noon & felt pretty good. However, I definitely could have kept sleeping for so much longer. I woke up partly on my own initiative (to get my body back to regular hours) & partly because there were loud drumming noises. Since Carnaval starts on February 11, there was a "preview" parade on the Market Square in front of my building. There were "marching bands" & people in costume & essentially every bar/cafe was PACKED with people. A Heineken beer cart was serving beer on the square & it was packed, too! Definitely something to see. The costumes are pretty ridiculous. It's like American Halloween, but multiplied by about a million! It's sheer craziness. Everywhere you went, there was a band of 5-7 musicians playing various songs outside of bars & cafes. The funniest thing was a band playing "Country Roads" & another one played "Battle Hymn of the Republic." Funny.
I met with Cenay today for coffee & lunch at Plein 1992. We went to a coffee shop called "Coffeelovers" which she said is owned by a pretty prominent family in Maastricht that owns a lot of other
major shops & things. I had a Frappe & a club sandwich (which was DELICIOUS!) Luckily Cenay was there to translate the menu for me, but I was able to pick out the word "chicken" so that's always a plus. It was a really good lunch, & she was very helpful with how to get around the city (e.g. where to go to eat, where I can buy pillows, & what clothing stores are the best). She was also very blunt about other things about living in the Netherlands, such as the events that go on during Carnaval & going out to bars & whatnot. I definitely appreciated her help because she drew circles on my map of where all I should go. haha. That will definitely make me getting around a lot easier!
Cenay lives on the other side of the river, so as I went to meet up with her I took a walk around the river & found some beautiful side streets with extraordinarily old buildings. The one structure that was the southeast section of the town wall. (I took a photo of the plaque on the wall & then came home & plugged it into
a translator so at least that's what I gathered from it). In the 13th century it was used for military/defense purposes, but moved away from that in the 1500s. I think it was restored in 1911. I could be totally off, but that's what I pieced together from the translation anyway!
Good news is I also found a Subway right on the street behind me, so that made me sooooo excited that if I get sick of trying new foods, at least I can turn to my staple sandwiches! :)
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