Roman Ruins (not)

Trip Start Sep 22, 2007
Trip End Oct 06, 2007

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Flag of Netherlands  ,
Sunday, September 30, 2007

The day starts out as usual:  We get up and eat the hotel's breakfast and check out, then go to church and meet a lot of Gary's friends.  I like the people there, the Russian, the Canadians, the Americans...  church is in English, and when Dutch is spoken, it's translated into English. 

We are invited to Dinner with an Americian couple.  In the meantime, we want to go to  Maastricht to see the Roman ruins there.  We quickly register at the Best Western (it now has rooms open) and take off for Maastricht. 

Oh, an interesting note - the accent is different in this area of Netherlands.  We are at the southern tip of a slender finger of Netherlands that projects down from it's south east corner - it is surrounded by Germany and Belgium and the closest centers are in Germany and Belgium.  When we were at the Best Western Gary spoke in Dutch with the person behind the desk (although she could speak perfect English) - and as we walked out he told me how he forgot that they speak differently down there... one pronounced difference that even I caught was that the g's are pronounced differently.  In the Dutch language, the g is normally pronounced gutterally.. like you are trying to discreetly clear a bit of food from the back of your mouth... Gouda is prounounced Hgowda .. with the Hg representing the gutteral sound.  In Heerlen the g is much like ours.... but the r is more gutteral.  Probably the influence of the German language.

On to Maastricht.  We drive there on the freeway, passing by the exit for the Valkenberg castle -- and on to Maastricht.  It's doesn't take long - probably less than half an hour.  We park near the old city center but are told by a kind local that we are parking in a taxi zone and will be towed.  Gary takes off to park elsewhere while we go sit on a bench in the center, soaking up the sights and sounds.

We wander around the old city center a bit, watching a marching band, visiting a church, and trying to find out where the Roman ruins are.  A guy who runs a tourist tram thingy tells us that there really aren't any ruins - that you can just see things that were built on ruins - so we go back to Heerlen to get settled into our rooms and off to dinner.  We later find out that there are apparently ruins underground.
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