Postcard from Maastricht

Maastricht is one of the oldest cities in Holland which is evident as soon as you stroll through its historic inner city. Churches, city walls, monumental merchant houses and big squares merge seamlessly with a comprehensive and varied range of shops, bars and restaurants. Not for nothing is it known as the most ‘bon vivant’ city in Holland. We’ve been fortunate to visit it on numerous occasions, often in connection with bike races or business trips.

This time we were staying in a hotel which overlooked the Maas/Meuse river with a view over to the historic Old Town. We’d decided not to go to the finish in Liege, again because of the wet weather. On arrival, the hotel was showing the German MotoGP  in the bar which made lunch an easy decision. We watched Marc Marquez destroy the field and head up the MotoGP world championship over lobster salad before seeing Marcel Kittel win the bunch sprint on stage two of the Tour de France in Liege.

Sunday evening we had a very pleasant stroll around the town, on the other side of the river, which was choc full of people enjoying the weekend’s last gasp. We settled for a tapas style sea food meal before heading back to the hotel where we watched with some astonishment a programme on the Tour de France on the Dutch channel, RTL7, which I assumed was deliberately tongue in cheek. Not so according to my Dutch friends on Twitter.

Monday dawned sunny and we drove to the Liege suburb of Verviers which, if I’m honest, had little to recommend it other than a fantastic chocolate and cake shop where we stopped for breakfast. After catching up with our few remaining contacts, we again took respite on the Tissot stand, where my beloved received yet another gift, and we enjoyed a great view of the signing on ceremony.

Once the peloton had departed, we drove back to Maastricht for lunch in a coffee shop opposite the hotel which had plenty of vegan options. My beloved had work to do so I decided to walk off lunch around town. I may have also done a spot of shopping at one of my favourite shops. I bought something from the sale and something from the new autumn collection. It felt odd to be buying winter wear in July but this was such a marvellous piece I’m sure it’ll sell out fast.

While I was out and about, I took the opportunity to walk all around the town and work up an appetite for dnner in a restaurant round the corner from the hotel which has an excellent selection of vegan options. Back at the hotel, I was asleep before my head hit the pillow.

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I can heartily recommend Maastricht for a very pleasant break though I would suggest you avoid some of their busier periods, such as the Maastricht Art Fair, when hotel prices go stratospheric.

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