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Published: July 29th 2019
After the heat of the past few days, today’s drizzle and lower temperature of 18C are very welcomed here. A perfect day to drive to Maastricht, check out some museums and walk around a bit.
Maastricht is located in the province if Limburg at the very south of the Netherlands. It’s a beautiful old city, dating back to Roman times. There’s even Roman ruins although we did not visit those today. It’s location on the River Maas (Meuse in French) makes for a great setting including boat tours, commercial shipping and entertainment along its banks. Today there was a kadefeest (party on the river bank) going on with a live band, lots of beer, and everyone being out, young and old, in the rain! The band was from Belgium and they were pretty good. Don’t ask me why they wore kilts.
The Bonnefantenmuseum is well known and combines medieval art from the Masters with that from cheap modern wannabees. I tell you, if it wasn’t for the new Neutelings Collection, I wouldn’t pay 10 cents to see it. The Neutelings Collection was privately owned until recently when the heirs made their father’s wish come true by selecting a permanent
home for his collection. Beautiful statues made from oak, walnut, limewood, marble, alabaster or sandstone, some dating back to the 13th century, were amazing. There were also many beautiful paintings, mostly of a religious nature of course, and others from when artists began to depict the human body. And then, there’s something that’s now called modern “art”. If you like a bunch of squares, or tape along the wall, or construction material piled up in some order. I surely don’t! I have included some photos to show how ridiculous it looks next to art, although I must admit that the one-room tower with psychedelic shapes to be admired from pillows on the floor, is a bit of fun if only to watch how people get back up after.
Because of the rain, we decided to forego the 30-minute walk to the Vrijthof city centre, and we drove instead. Most people here believe it’s difficult to find downtown parking but we found parking garages easily at reasonable cost, about €6-8 maximum par day. The short walk from Vrijthof to the River bank area was a short one through some very narrow, cobblestone pedestrian-only streets lined with bars, shops and cafés.
Needless to say, we made some stops along the way, to shop of course! When Ottawa politicians try to emulate this type of city setting, they keep forgetting that Ottawa still has no easy access through public transit from all around, or that this climate allows year-round access, and most importantly: that there is actually something to do here. You know that when people are buzzing around everywhere even in the rain, can shop and drink at hundreds of independently owned places, can enjoy a party on the River, and can enjoy the beautiful architecture of small medieval buildings (no ugly glass towers here), you realize this could never be duplicated in Ottawa, not even for the six months we might be able to use it.
I used to think Maastricht was so far away from where I lived, but in an hour’s drive on 130 km/hr highways, we’re back.
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