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Published: January 7th 2013
One of the plazas near my apartment
I have arrived in Maastricht after a long plane ride, followed by three trains. I waited in the train station in Maastricht until Lotte (the girl from Maasticht whos rooms I am renting) and her mom picked me up. The apartment I am staying in is a studio style apartment in the city center, two minutes away from 3 other people in my program from Canada. The grocery store is literally across the street from my place, which is super convenient, and Lotte is letting me use her bike while we trade rooms. Lotte and her mom and sister and I went to the market square (right around the corner from my house by city hall), and had a glass of wine and bruschetta at a nice Italian bistro, after which they all came to a phone outlet store with me to purchase a prepaid phone. After they left that first night, I managed to unpack, NOT fall asleep, and meet up with five Canadian girls from my program. We ended up going to a nice little pub in the square, and ordered a beer. Let me just say, I have never had rosy cheeks from one beer before, but the
View of one of the bridges
alcohol content in these beers (belgium and dutch- the region of Limberg we are in sells "brand" beer- its quite literally everywhere) is about 8 or 9 %.
The next day I didn't wake up until 1 pm, jet laaaaaagged. I managed to make it outside and explore the southwest part of the city, situated on the river, which is laden with three beautiful bridges, much like the ones I remember from Florence, Italy. Maastricht is known as a shopping district, so there are cute shops everywhere, and everyone is out and about. This is what I love about Europe, the social aspect. People actually go out and enjoy life with eachother, they aren't glued to the television at night in the comfort of their big empty homes, like many people back home are. After three hours of exploring, I ended up on the outskirts of the city, which is quite literally surrounded by huge stone walls, much like you would imagine finding on the perimeter of a castles grounds. Did I mention the streets? Well, the streets are ALL cobble stone. There are also endless sidestreets and allies, and everyone rides their bike. I will have to post
Beautiful old buildings lace the cobblestone streets
a picture, but instead of cars in a parking lot (a scene very common in Canada), there are hundreds of bikes chained up outside of market quares and down the side of allies. It's a site for sure!
This city is gorgeous, and not nearly as cold as I expected. Much like Vancouver weather, actually. I can't wait to explore some more. Last night, I woke up at 2 am and couldn't get back to sleep until 7 am, from which point I slept until 1 pm again. I am dragging my butt around, but this is just part of the ride. I am still a little anxious about everything, but my first class is tomorrow, and I have a feeling that after this week I will start feeling a little less disoriented. Anyways, I hope you are all warm and rested, and for those of you who are also going back for another semester at school, hope everything goes smoothly!
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