As it was on our way, we stopped off at the Nurburgring, on the route to Maastricht. I had entertained the idea of taking the bike around for a lap or 2, but as I didn’t have proper motorcycle leathers I decided against it.
Today was one of the many open track days, meaning you are allowed to drive your own car or bike on the track. We stopped here for lunch watch the cars for about half an hour or so before moving on.
I’d found online a free walking tour of the city and of course, was pretty keen to do it. As always, I wanted to leave Maastricht having learned something new about the city so this was the perfect opportunity. Luuk directed Jake to a bar/cafe place so he could get on with some more job hunting while we did out walk. We arrived a few minutes early and quickly realised that it would be a rather small group… namely Luuk, myself and the guide! Our tour was near enough two hours and was really interesting – I think even Luuk learned some new things about his city!
When we’d arrived into the city that morning a stage was being set up and we learned that Andrew Rieu was giving a free concert that evening. For me this was fantastic! He’s a wonderful musician and to see him and his orchestra live was something I couldn’t miss! I managed to squeeze to the front and had a fairly good view.
After the concert we went to an Indonesian restaurant for dinner and had some delicious, authentic Asian food. We haven’t eaten food like this since we were there two years ago so enjoyed dinner a lot!
For day 2 Luuk took us on a tour of Southern Limburg, starting with Mheer Castle. Although the courtyard is still publicly accessible, this castle is still a private residence. It is an amazing building I think you’ll agree.
We chose the small village of Epen for our picnic, in the distance the forest you see is Belgium. It was another lively day so our trip out and about was really enjoyable.
Our last stop of the day was Valkenburg, a small medieval town about 15 minutes from Maastricht. The main attraction is the castle ruins, original dating from the …. century.
In Valkenburg I left Jake and Luuk and walked through the hills back to Masstricht. The temperature was perfect for walking and it was lovely to be away from the city. I passed though some small villages then alongside the river Geul, woodland and farmland before coming into the suburbs of Maastricht. It was beautiful. I was surprised how busy the path was but when I arrived back Luuk’s parents explained that this way is very well known and continues all the way to the sea.
As I was coming back into the city I passed some vineyards. In any other country we’ve visited so far I wouldn’t take much notice but these are the first vineyards I’ve seen in the Netherlands so I thought they deserved a photo! Our guide had told us yesterday that because the climate had altered in recent years growing grapes for wine is now possible in this part of Europe. I had doubted him slightly at the time but after passing these vines today it can’t be doubted! On one side it’s good that farming is being promoted and is profitable here but on the other hand this is real proof that the climate is changing.
Just as I was arriving back to Luuk’s house I met a lovely little kitten. I got a couple of odd looks sitting on the pavement stroking her!
After dinner I went back into the city for a cycle ride, to take some photos and to see the city at night. Lit up, Maastricht is really lovely and has a lot of life. The centre is full of small cafes and bars with tables spilling onto the pavements in front and although it was a cool evening places are full.