Maastricht, The Netherlands is an amazing city that I would love to visit again. From the river running along side the old city to the historic walls that you can walk on, it is a place full of history – both ancient and present day.
…You can enter the city through the “Gate of Hell”
…Then immediately turn to your left and see a nightclub called Heaven
…You can walk the 7th century walls that overlook the river and town
Steeple after steeple line the horizon with many of them serving as buildings rather than the houses of worship that they were at one time. We saw churches that have been turned into storage units while others served as playgrounds or even bookstores.
One of the active churches has gone so far from the truth that when entering it, you see what looks like a Buddhist shrine, covered in gold. After looking past the burning candles, you realize that it is a statue of Mary. To top it off, printed in several different languages is the “prayer to the Star of the Sea” (you can read it yourself in the pictures below).
But there are some new churches there that are doing great things in the community.
Maastricht is also the home of a huge holiday called Carnival. Thousands of people will descend on the city square for the weeklong event. There will be parades, rides, and of course drinking and all that stuff. The holiday actually began on Thursday, February 4th this year. I don’t know the precise purpose of the holiday, but it is really just about the drinking and the costumes. Many kids as well as adults get dressed up in their fun costumes and go to school and work in them. You better be wearing a costume at the children’s parade or you will be the odd man out.
BUT there are some bright spots. The obvious scenery is beautiful. The pastries are great. We were taken to a cafe that served this amazing stuff called vlaai (fly). It was their version of pie and it was delicious.
Definitely a place to check out in the Netherlands!