Maastricht with Craig, Cheryl and Family

Trip Start Jan 08, 2006
Trip End Apr 01, 2006

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Flag of Netherlands  ,
Wednesday, February 8, 2006

I am travelling quickly now. About s fast as I ever have while still on the ground, on a Thalys train from Liege to Paris Gare de Nord. We will cover 427kms in just under 2 hours and the countryside is fairly whipping past. There is a very strange man sitting behind me with a small black cap on his head, and each five minutes or so he stands up and walks along the aisle between the seats searching the overhead baggage storage. After a good peer, he sits back down again, none the wiser it would seem.

It's been a very busy and pleasant time in the Nederlands. Craig and Cheryl have been very kind and have made me feel very much at home. We have seen football at Köln, visited an Argentinean restaurant for dinner, been smoked in an Irish pub in Maastricht, and come close to winning a trivia night....we were leading at one point, truly. That was before they asked questions such as; "where is disco island? What is the only English speaking country in central America? What is the most Northern desert in the world? How many men walked on the moon?"

If you can answer any of these, then you should have been with us. We would have won and would have received a free beer each. Oh, but you needed to remember songs from bands like the Jackson 5, Talk Talk, Celine Dion, Obscure Beatles, and Alice Cooper (only women bleed). That was truly our weak link!

One of the guys at the trivia night had his car broken into just as we were leaving, though the culprit escaped with CDs and a GPS. We hurried up the street a little, and were happy to see that Craig's car was secure. Apparently, it is more often the bicycles which are stolen. The unwritten rule being that, if your bicycle is stolen, then you just help yourself to another one which looks similar. Hence the reason why Bike locks are so big and heavy here. Craig says that is why almost all of the bicycles on the street are so old.

The Dutch have very open houses, and it is strange for me to be riding a bicycle along the road, and looking in to see people eating, cooking, watching television, and arguing, through un-curtained windows. Even in Craig's cul-de-sac, all the houses leave their blinds open.

Maastricht has a wonderful old centre, with cobbled streets, very expensive stores, and very well dressed elderly couples strolling along with expensive shopping bags. The main square, has an underground bike park beside the underground car park, and Craig tells me that one of the disused churches has been converted to a bike park as well.

I enjoyed the bicycling, and seeing the city and I am looking happily to heading out with the Howells for a stroll on Saturday when I get back from Bretigny. Then I am sending Craig and Cheryl out for dinner, while I mind the girls and finish off updating my report.
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