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Published: November 10th 2017
Geo: 50.8512, 5.69154
OK, so this mornings mission was to find yet another post office. Why? Because in my efficient packing in Amsterdam I somehow managed to pack the TV remote from the last hotel. Why? I don't know, some kind of brain freeze. I've now gone from leaving stuff in hotels to unintentionally flogging stuff. After consulting google I took to the streets. Google listed 2 offices, which I couldn't find. So I went to the tourist office. They gave me directions and said AKO. Righto, that should be easy. Nope nothing. Finally in frustration I asked a random shopkeeper who explained they don't have a post office, but down the road third street to the right was a magazine shop, AKO, who provide postal services. Finally found it! Only took two hours out of my morning. You can stop laughing at me now.
After a coffee I set out for The Fortress of St Pieter. It was a lovely walk until I got to the hill. Of course its on a hill, no-one builds a fort on the low ground. Really should have factored that in. I made it at there at 12.35 and of course the last tour left
at 12.30. I had an hour and half to kill before the next one (this intel would have been useful on a website, there are only 2 english tours a day) at least that gave me time to sit down for a spot of lunch and admire the view.
As it turned out I couldn't do a tour of the fortress because the don't offer them in English. But I was able to book an English tour of the "caves". The caves are a series of limestone mines under the town. At one point there were 22,000 mines down there. Now there are only 8000. The others were lost when they dug out the quarry. The limestone mines operated for 700 years between 1200 and 1900, when the production of bricks became so cheap it was not feasible to run the limestone mine. The tour was awesome. The mines have no power so they took us down with gas lamps. About 20 people and 3 lamps to light the way. That made it very realistic. It was very dark down there. At one point the guide dared us all to walk along one corridor, with no lights, which of course
almost everybody did. We could only feel our way along the wall, in the darkness, and it was pitch black. Complete sensory deprivation. I gotta say it was kinda scary. Thankfully I was surrounded by people who were talking and joking as we all bumped into each other. Made it easier to remain calm.
After the mines I went to have a look at the fort. I may not be able to do a tour but I figured I could at least take a look. Wrong! The fort closes to the public at 3pm and it was now 3.30. Once again, intel which would have been useful on a website somewhere. So I wandered around the outside of the fort for a bit then made my way back into town. For you information, the fort was built in 1701/02 as a bastion against french invasion. A little late considering the french had already invaded the town during the Dutch war in 1673. They handed Maastricht back to the dutch five years later after the Treaty of Nijmegen. Thank you Google.
Now back to my story. In town I checked out Basilica of Our Lady. A rather large and imposing church.
A wedding was taking place at the time so I couldn't take any photos. I went outside to the square, sat down at a cafe and had a hot chocolate. I went back and had a look after the wedding was over. By that stage they had turned the lights out and it was quite dark and imposing in there.
After the church I returned to the hotel for some rest. This cold is really giving me the sh1t's
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