This past weekend Dan & I hosted my parents for their first visit to Maastricht. They are spending over two weeks visiting the Netherlands which means they are will see much of the country before I get the chance. Prior to her visit, my mother told me that she wanted to see how we live in our adopted city and to go biking. Since the weather cooperated (mostly), we were able to do both.
My parents arrived Friday afternoon and, after dropping off their bags at our apartment, we walked down to the Vrijhof to take in the sights and eat dinner. We actually ended up around the corner at C’est Le Vie which is located down a narrow street on a tiny “square” around a statue. Based on my experience, the restaurant has the “typical” foods you can get in Maastricht at a nice restaurant and we sat outside to enjoy the sun and drink Dutch beers. I had Maastricht-style rabbit. Very tasty.
At home, we introduced my parents to our little flat, which Mom claims is better than anything I’ve rented yet. (She’s probably right) We pointed out where we liked to eat out when we didn’t want to cook and Mom even went grocery shopping with me the next day when we needed to pick up a few things. The next two days I cooked dinner for everyone at home, including chicken sate and slavinken.
On Saturday, it wasn’t too hot so we rented bikes and took the bike trails to Valkensburg. This gave us the chance to see a little of Limburg and introduce my folks to another town in the area.
Valkensburg is an attractive town, if kind of touristy looking. The narrow walking streets were packed with restaurants and shops in old buildings and it was very colorful. After a quick lunch of broodje (another one of those “Dutch” things I wanted to share), we hiked up to the Castle Ruins that tower over the town.
The castle was originally built in 1115 from wood, but the final form of the castle was built from marl. From the castle itself, you can see the edges of old quarries in the hillside in Valkenburg. Destroyed in 1672, the ruins have been partially restored to allow people access to a variety of rooms and levels. The view was excellent and I took some good pictures there.
Afterward we stopped at a cafe to sample the Leeuw Beer because their brewery is located in Valkenburg. Can’t say it was my favorite Dutch beer. We biked through the Stadspark so my parents could see the statues and animals there.
Sunday morning we biked out to the Maastricht University Medical Campus so my parents could see where Dan works. Then we swung through the Centre Ceramique to see the outside of the library and lunch at Cafe Zuid. We also took a stop by the Helpoort.
No one can come visit Dan & I without having to see the marl caves at St. Pieter mountain with us. Since July 5th was the first day of the English-language tours at Zonneburg, we biked out to catch the tour at 1:50 pm. We’ve done this tour before (and loved it), so we were pleased that the guide lead us in a different direction and had different stories to tell. The cool, 10 C temperature inside the caves made up for the hot weekend a little.
After we returned the rental bikes, we had a drink on the Vrifhof and walked home via the Markt square.