My wife is a bigger travel junkie than I can ever hope to be. When I come to a new place I like to - “wear it off”. Going to the same haunts over and over again doesn’t bore me. I was thus quite content walking about in Amstelveen with my camera, clicking flowers. Then there is this matter of mind being a place of its own and some of us like to explore its warren of alleys. Sitting about at home is therefore a perfectly legitimate way to travel for some of us.
That said, all this inertia fizzles away in the face of cheap train fares - which the wife has become quite adept at ferreting out from the Nederlandse Spoorwagen (the national rail here) website. Three weeks ago when she got hold of the spring pass that allowed us to travel for a first-class return fare of 20 €/person I decided to follow her along to Maastricht with the eagerness of a dog being taken out for its morning walk.
If you have time to visit just one place in Maastricht, make sure it’s the Selexyz bookshop. Situated inside a centuries old Dominican church with vaulted, painted ceilings, it’s one of the most beautiful bookshops that you’ll ever visit. Although most books here were in Dutch, they had a respectable collection of English books too. We picked David Mitchell’s The Thousand Autumns of Jacob de Zoet. We realized later, that the book has a strong Dutch connection [Zoet gave it away, Wikipedia did the rest].
With that bit of shopping behind us, we spent a lot of time walking about in the quiet, quaint, cobbled streets wondering if all places of worship were to turn into bookshops one fine morning, wouldn’t this world become a much more livable place?
The thing about old architecture is that it can bring an air of respectability even to such instituions as McDonalds.
We walked along the Meuse river and along the mooring spot right in the middle where (we presume) the rich and the famous park their expensive toys.
Suddenly the sky turned grey and acquired a texture I had only seen in video games before. The time for lazily lingering about was up.
We finished our trip with a visit to the 17th century town hall and the statue of Minckelers that holds the ‘eternal burning flame’. The man invented illuminating gas and therefore deserves to have it wasted eternally in his honour.
On our way back, I noticed that the train stopped at Eindhoven.
The name rang a bell. Now I am not into football at all, but wasn’t it PSV Eindhoven that visited India several years ago and beat Mohan Bagan (or was it East Bengal?) 7-0 (or something equally one-sided)?