Maastricht - the fall is here

Maastricht Travel Blog

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The huge town square in Maastricht

After having made acquaintance with the oldest city in Belgium I needed to see something else. I headed out of Tongeren without any goals and just followed some of the hilly country roads until I saw a sign with Maastricht which I hadn’t been in for some months.

I entered the city and got immediately caught up in some Dutch traffic jam even on a Sunday. Holland wants always to be considered a logistical country but their internal road logistics sucks. I haven’t meet any country where the traffic does not move like in Holland, and when it moves you are sure to get a fine from one of the millions of blitzes situated everywhere. After queuing for most of half an hour I finally managed to get near the city centre at Grote Markt.

The old town hall of Maastricht
I parked the car a place where it probably was prohibited and left for the square. The streets were fairly empty and with a good reason; it was cold and there was rain dust in the air too.

The numerous public squares around central Maastricht are surrounded by a series of quality tourist attractions. Simply strolling around these plazas offer one of the very best and simplest ways to sightsee and many enticing streets lie directly south of the Vrijthof Square, where you will discover nothing short of a medieval labyrinth. Brimming with pavement cafes is the square known as Onze Lieve Vrouweplein, which is dominated by its namesake church, the Onze Lieve Vrouwebasiliek. The Market Square (Markt) features several prominent landmarks, such as the old City Hall (Stadhuis), which was built in the middle of the 17th century as a cloth hall.

One of the famous tourist spots in Maastricht is The Helpoort, which is Holland's oldest surviving town gate and was built almost 800 years ago, along with a lengthy stretch of city wall.

The flip side of one of the fresh food wagons on the square
Further fortifications were added during the 15th century, and today the Helpoort is home to a collection of local history and was once used as a prison. Other attractions include some excellent views, if you are prepared to climb to the very top of the tower itself. A number of further historical landmarks are close by, including the Jeker Tower.

Maastricht is actually riddled with endless defensive tunnels, which have been carved out of the city's soft sandstone for literally hundreds of years. One of the best places to visit the tunnels is at St. Pietersberg, situated approximately 2 km directly south of the Helpoort.

Also worth exploring in Maastricht are the fortified city walls, which edge the Maas River and create many excellent photo opportunities.

I walked around a bit window shopping in a closed city and decided to treat myself with a pizza and I entered the pizzeria on the Grote Markt.

A lovely old house
The waiters there was in a terrific mode but quite alone without any guests but I didn’t mind, I just found a table in there corner with a window facing the square so I could see that nothing was going on outside.

After leaving the pizzeria I found myself walking around an hour more and then returned to my car and there to my surprise found the car without a ticket in the window.         

vances says:
Great description...glad you dodged a parking ticket! :^)
Posted on: Dec 08, 2008
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The huge town square in Maastricht
The huge town square in Maastricht
The old town hall of Maastricht
The old town hall of Maastricht
The flip side of one of the fresh …
The flip side of one of the fresh…
A lovely old house
A lovely old house
Table high at an Italian restaurant
Table high at an Italian restaurant
Maastricht
photo by: Vlindeke