Funny, as I started typing this, I just got a call from the castle. It turns out I left my card case that has my OV chipkaart (for all public transit systems in the Netherlands) behind so castle keeper was calling to find out how to return it to me. I have been wrestling with this page for a good 30 minutes trying to get the images to display the way I want them to. It looks like that is not really possible in bulk so I guess I will do it one at a time.
Saturday really was a fabulous time, despite the incredible heat. Between 1000 and 1430, I had already walked 10K steps exploring Maastricht. It is an incredibly charming city and these pictures are just highlights. I had walked through the little village to the nearest train station and caught the stop train into Maastricht proper. I wanted to see the city with the exception of where the concert would be held. I wanted to be pleasantly surprised in the evening and see it for the first time. As I wandered down the way from the station to the center, it was a mild 93 degrees F already.
I did stop for a bit at the Onze Lieve Vrouweplein to rehydrate and have some lunch. The cafe I chose was in a building standing since 1655. I chose them because they had 8 veg options on their menu which was unusually high for Maastricht. The Burgundian way of living rules here in Maastricht which means people eat all kinds of rich foods and lots of meat. Essentially they enjoy themselves alot.I felt somewhat like I was in a different country. I heard later that that’s not such an unusual feeling when you come to Maastricht from out of the north of the Netherlands. I figured out pretty quickly that my relaxation abilities are not quite up to Maastricht and I need to work harder on them!
I had a good time wandering around and taking pictures. I was also pretty good at resisting the urge to shop for anything other than bottles of water. I said pretty good, which means I did stop and buy two dresses. Yes, you read that right. They are not made out of camping or outdoor style fabric either, Marianne 😉
I needed to get back to the castle on time since I needed to change for dinner which was going to be at another castle. Dinner was scheduled for Chateau Neercanne . And you certainly don’t want to be late for that kind of experience! We started with wine tastings inside the mines that the stone for the castle was carved from. Now it is all wine cellar. It was pretty cool. I did notice however that I was the only person there by myself. While this doesn’t phase me, it makes other people somewhat awkward. Especially women of a certain age. It is like there still remains a social stereotype that single women are always on the hunt. I can, with 100% certainy, state that I was not on the hunt to catch myself a man of a certain age who enjoyed Andre Rieu concerts!
Once we arrived at the square where the concert would be taking place, I walked around taking even more pictures. And at one point, I was standing less than 10 feet away from Andre Rieu himself! It was a really wonderful performance, complete with fireworks which my mom would have used as evidence that it was her birthday being celebrated by everyone 🙂 Everyone really does link arms and sing together just like the concerts show on PBS. I learned something from watching the locals. They don’t buy tickets, they make reservations at one of the cafes on the square and then spend the evening eating and drinking while enjoying the performance. I am going to do that next time!
I held Mom’s ash the whole concert and struggled a bit with all of the emotions. By the time I got back to the castle, I was still trying to work through all of the emotions so I sat on the terrace overlooking the valley until about 230 in the morning, with the full moon and the sound of the nearby waterfalls for company. It was a lovely experience. I probably would have stayed there longer but I knew I had to get up at a decent hour.
Overnight there were also thunderstorms which made the tower rumble and shake. That was cool!!! It was easy to imagine that it was cannons. I was sorry to leave the next morning.
Today my banjo teacher taught me a waltz so I can amuse myself by playing along with Andre Rieu and his orchestra. I’ll let you know how that turns out!
I have tons more pictures of Maastricht and the surroundings so if you want to see them, let me know and I will send you a link.