I ended up flying back to Asia for the year-end holidays although I initially planned on staying in Europe. As soon as school ended on December 23, I hopped on a train from Maastrich to Paris and boarded a plane to Manila the very next day. I spent eleven days in the Philippines and stopped by Singapore for three.
I first heard about the caves in Maastricht back in August, during my university’s alternative week-long orientation, the INKOM. Naturally, I wondered how a town (or country for that matter) with a relatively flat landscape, can have caves? A few weeks later, two of our professors took us there on a field trip, and it finally made sense.
Earlier this December, Maastricht introduced the new Christmas market concept called Magisch Maastricht (previously Winterland Maastricht). One major change this year is the decentralization of the market stalls and attractions. Instead of having one big market at the Vrijthof (the city’s plaza square), there are now several markets spread out across the city (Vrijthof, Maas Boulevard, Market Square and Onze Lieve Vrouweplein, to name a few), turning the entire town center into a holiday attraction in itself.
The other day, a friend shared a wonderful article (“The World’s Best Bookstores“) from SpotCoolStuff and right there on number 1 is the lovely Selexyz Dominicanen bookstore in Maastricht, Netherlands. Asking if I had been there, I quickly told her “Of course,” proudly adding “that’s where I buy my school textbooks from.” Being the bibliophile that she is, I thought I would make her even more jealous by boasting how it is only a two minute walk away from my place. Too evil, I know, so to make amends, I promised to take pictures of it for her. Here they are.
After spending four days in Paris, my entry point to Europe, I finally arrived in Maastricht (see Three Countries in Three Hours: Train from Paris to Maastricht). Located south of the Netherlands, Maastricht is sandwiched between Belgium and Germany. The city, considered by many as the heart of Europe due to its geographic location and having given birth to the European Union, will be my home for a year or so.