Our Barge, Odysseus

Sunday, June 29, 2008

In Maastricht

We'd spent the last few days in the peaceful countryside and tied up early in the day on Saturday. We hit the streets. Little did we know that the entire population of southern Holland plus significant portions of Belgium and Luxembourg would join us.

Maastricht claims to be the Netherlands oldest city, the Romans building a bridge over the River Maas, which divides the city, in the mists of time . The current St. Servaas bridge now stands about 100 meters downstream of the original bridge.

From the bridge you can look back across the river at a portion of the west city front.

Every town of any size in the area has a "stadwandeling," or city walk, map available through the local tourist office. As the weather was very nice, we wandeled about Maastricht. There are several visible portions of the many walls that surrounded the city at various times. This gate, the Helport, is supposedly the oldest gate in the Netherlands, constructed in the early 1200's.

We passed along more of the first completed city wall, built in 1229.

We had originally planned to skip Maastricht but so many people said the city marina, 't Bassin, was not to be missed, we didn't. Google Earth again provides a bird's eye view.

The basin is entered from the Maas River on the right, through the lock and under the bridge. Since we are so low, we then turned right under the second bridge and tied up to the wall just past the bridge. That night was Holland's quarter final match against Russia in the Euro 2008 Football tournament and of course we had to attend. We went to one of the bars in the basin that advertised a big screen tv. This time things didn't turn out so well with Russia victorious in overtime. There were no honking cars parading through the streets of Maastricht that night. (luckily the Russians got their a**es kicked by Spain in the semis so we don't have to hear a lot of crowing from them!)

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