Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Third stop: Maastricht

You know how it feels when you've had way too much chocolate, and you're a bit queasy etc etc ...? Yeah... too much Jesus this time. Take the maximum number of cathedrals you can possibly imagine in a city of 60,000 inhabitants (and I mean cathedrals, not little neighbourhood churches), add another 10 or so for good measure, multiply that by 5 and you've got Maastricht. They're all so beautiful! However, this overabundance of cathedrals means they have to be repurposed in various ways in order to prevent their falling into ruin. Thus was created one of the coolest things I've ever seen so far:
A dominican church built in 1290 and recently converted into a book store, the largest I've ever been into.
It also houses a cafe, where customers eat at a (how fitting!) cross-shaped table:
Another cathedral had this sign on it. Maybe it's a church during the day and a dance club at night... "exercise your demons with DJ Moses!"
If Gothenburg is the big cake (round and fluffy... with almond icing...) that leaves you full, happy and exhaustingly delighted, Maastricht is the bag of lollies you eat on the couch on a lazy Sunday: a city that even in early spring has the appearance of a resort: colourful crowds, souvenir shops, packed outdoor cafes and lots of noise. Not homely, but fun for a holiday.
It's also the most bike-friendly city I've ever been into: properly marked lanes (that do not end suddenly, like in NZ), separate traffic lights, and drivers that are very protective of bikers. My biggest question remains... how on earth do you find your own bike at the end of the day?!
Being Holland, yes, some streets smell of marijuana. The specialised shops are called "grow shops" and they sell anything from plants to smoking accessories to themed souvenirs.
And just for fun, a collage of various representations of Jesus. My favourite remains the one with the very well defined nipples, hihi.
Stay tuned for fourth and last stop: Dortmund. You'll want popcorn for that one!


Sanda said...

Nice place Maastricht, never been there. It looks it's worth a visit.
The bycicle lanes are quite properly traced in Vienna also, but you are right, in Ljubliana, for instance, they finish suddenly and/or difuse into the pietonal sidewalk.

NeMe said...

I've never been to Viena, but it's high on my list :>