While I was pulling my rolling luggage down the classic Stationstraat in Maastricht, I muttered to myself “Is this place for real?” I felt as if I stepped into another world, an older world that felt familiar. The street had a 19th Century Elegance with meticulous buildings, and a cobblestone pedestrian promenade. Stationstraat was beautiful, and one feels more beautiful just walking down this lovely street.
When you fall in love with a person, it is unexpected and hits you like jolt. That has happened twice in my lifetime. Once with a guy, many years ago, and the other time was with Maastricht. It was love at first sight! It felt familiar, and it felt ‘right’. This was the last city I visited in the Netherlands while on my trip, which just proves that one saves the best for last.
The Lovely Stationstraat
Photos can not bring to life how lovely Stationstraat (Station Street) truly was. As soon as I crossed the street from the train station, I felt as if I stepped back in time. The first thing I thought of was a true to life Disneyland’s Main Street, without the crowds and balloon handlers. There were tall old fashioned street lamps with colorful flower baskets that lined the sidewalks, and a center promenade.
I walked down the blocks of picturesque buildings that date back to the late 19th century, and it made for an elegant statement upon my arrival. It was the most remarkable street that I have seen coming out of a train station. The best thing about it was my hotel was on Stationstraat, and in one of those beautiful inviting buildings.
If you arrive by train, Stationstraat will be the main boulevard outside the station, you cannot miss it. If you find yourself in Maastricht Centrum, Stationstraat is across the river and is directly off of Sint Servaasburg.
Basiliek van Onze-Lieve-Vrouw
Although I am of no religion, I have an adoration for places of worship of any religion. There is something very tranquil and peaceful about them. I believe the energy is of peace and meditation/ prayer. It is a place to come in contact with something higher than yourself.
Basiliek van Onze-Lieve-Vrouw aka ‘Basilica of Our Lady’ or ‘Our Lady the Star of the Sea’ was the main reason I visited Maastricht. While visiting the city, I fell in love with Maastricht along with her Basilica. The church itself is Romanesque, as the Roman Empire once occupied this area. There are signs that there used to be a Roman Temple on the same land prior to the church, which would make sense to the current building’s site. Most current places of worship have been built upon previous religious sites.
Of all the cathedrals, churches and basilicas that I have visited in Europe; this ranks high on my favorite list. The rawness and realness of this Romanesque church is what I appreciated the most. It was dark, a bit gothic, and felt familiar. The energy inside felt old, wise, and still. The natural stone walls were subtle, dramatic and beautiful.
Upon entering, light a candle, and say a prayer or send good energy. It was a simple gesture but symbolic of lighting your way into this dark basilica. Lighting a white candle is also a good way to clear your thoughts and energy.
The walls inside are dark natural stone and the church is barely lit. While I was there, the organ was playing which added to the incredible feeling inside this remarkable basilica. This church just added to my love for the city of Maastricht.
For Basilica information and location, please visit their website – Our Lady The Star of the Sea
Dutch Lessons at Van Buuren Restaurant
While sitting at Van Burren in Maastricht, I looked at the Dutch menu and saw “Uniensoep”, and my mind read “Onion Soup”. It was quite obvious I know, but I was happy that I read it calmly and not flustered. I asked my server if it said “onion soup”, and she said it did. I giggled and told her that I was happy with myself that I figured it out, and she gave me that Euro thumbs up. Now, typically you are given an English menu, but I wanted a small challenge.
I loved that Onion Soup, and how crafty and creative it was to top it with a bread stick and onion rings. The cheese used was gouda, pronounced “Gow-Da” or “How-da”, another Dutch lesson I learned at lunch. I also learned that I was mispronouncing it for thirty years! Using gouda to melt over the onion soup was a delicious alternative to Swiss. It was a softer melted cheese, and tasted smooth against the onion soup.
I also ordered another favorite of mine, the Croque Madame. It is simply a grilled ham and cheese, topped with an egg. Traditionally a slight layer of béchamel sauce is spread on to the sandwich, which makes it less dry and quite creamy. It is a scrumptious sandwich.
👩🏻💻 For my Netherlands food blog → What I ate in THE NETHERLANDS – A Food Journal
For restaurant information and and location, please visit their website – Van Buuren Maastricht
Life within Maastricht Centrum was another reason I fell head over heals for this city. This is a very pedestrian friendly part of town where you can do my favorite four S’s – Stroll, Shop, Sip, and Savor.
Strolling down the cobble stone streets was charming, and very old world. The café and restaurant scene in Maastricht is wonderful, and you can dine well or grab a casual bite. The shopping in Maastricht was amazing, and I was window licking (window shopping) for hours. I was not even half way though my two month trip, so dragging my shopping would have not been wise. Next time Maastricht will be my last location, and I will arrive with an extra bag for my shopping- Cheers to shopping!
Where I Stayed in Maastricht
Since I was arriving by train, I decided to stay at a hotel walking distance from everything. It was in-between both the Main Train Station and Maastricht Centrum. This worked out well for me since it was a few minutes walk with my luggage. There are taxis at the train station that will take you to your hotel, if it is not walking distance.
The hotel that I stayed at was Stadsherberg de Poshoorn , and it was a very comfortable stay. The hotel was above a restaurant,and there was not a lift, which is common in Europe. You will have to bring your luggage up and down the stairs, or one of the restaurant staff will help you. There was also a coffee and a water machine available to all the guests. Plus that wonderful morning breakfast was my favorite part of my stay.
Now on to the food, this well plated breakfast on a simple wood plank was delicious and filling. I loved how everything was separated, compartmentalized, and presented. It was a simple breakfast of breads, spreads, yoghurt, granola, and charcuterie but looked very rustic posh.
For hotel information and location, please visit their website – Stadsherberg de Poshoorn
On the Local News with Subtitles!
As I was eating that beautifully laid out breakfast at my hotel, I was pondering how to get out of the Netherlands, I had a train ticket leaving Maastricht and into Bonn, Germany but a transportation strike had just started that morning. I figured I would take the bus to Aachen, Germany where I was to originally change trains to Cologne.
So after eating my peaceful breakfast, I walked to the station. There were no busses nor any trains, although there was a local news crew. They asked if they could interview me about the strike but would run Dutch sub-titles to translate my English. Sure, why not? Let’s make this trip even weirder.
I was interviewed, and to this day have never seen that news footage. I had already taken a €100 taxi ride into Aachen, Germany and caught my train to Bonn by the time it aired.
Wherever you go becomes a part of you somehow…– Anita Desai
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📸 All photos are taken by me and are my intellectual property – Trixie Navarre