The streets of Maastricht made me feel like a flaneur again. The city claims to be one of the oldest in Netherlands and it is perfect for getting lost.
We initially planned to go for a short stroll through the city centre. It was cold and gloomy but we wanted do spend a couple of hours outdoor, so what activities could be more relaxing than walking aimlessly through a city?
Well, we parked the car two km away from the city centre and went directly to the marked. They set up a market in front of the City Hall every Wednesday and Friday and we were there on a Friday afternoon. You can actually buy everything from fresh vegetables to clothes.
The Maas (Meuse) river crosses the city so we continued our walk on the river bank and got to the oldest bridges in Netherlands – The Saint Servatius Bridge, build in the 13th Century.
The way led us to the Basilica of Saint Servatius, a beautiful gothic building.
We got lost on the narrow streets but also took a walk in the park.
Our walk took us to Helpoort (the Gate to Hell), which was built in 1229 and is the oldest city gate of the Netherlands. The medieval wall protected the city against enemies and they used to keep the prisoners inside those walls, so thus the name.
The cold got us so we decided to have a warm soup and coffee at a small, posh restaurant there.
Our walk continued in the old city, this time instead of chasing beautiful buildings and landscapes we had a shopping session. The weather got so much worse, but there’s always a solution. This time we replaced sunshine with shopping. Believe me, the cute boutiques and shops warmed our day.
We spent the last hour, in the most beautiful bookstore I’ve ever seen. Hogwarts vibes all the way.
This impressive bookstore can be found in a 13th century Dominican church – Dominicanenkerk. The church dates back to 1294 and when Catolicism was outlawed in Netherlands, many churches became abandoned. My mom visited the place 27 years ago and instead of the bookstore they had a snake exhibition.
The bookstore also has a posh coffeeshop so you can sip your favorite drink while reading a book.
Although we intended to spend only a couple of hours in the city, the place has so much to offer and we ended up spending an entire day walking without plans or destinations in mind.
Being a crazy planner when it comes to city breaks this day was so relaxing.
What about you? Are you an over planner as well? If you are, believe me… it is so nice to have a break and just to spend the day with absolutely no expectations.