This is my fourth time to Maastricht since June 2011 and with each visit I have fallen more and more in love with the place. I've been to more exiciting cities in the past but this is probably my favourite in the world because this is the one I could see myself living in.
My daughter Rose is living here while she studies at the University and I couldn't be more envious of her. At any time she likes she can leave her flat in the very fashionable 19th Century Wyck district and wander across Sint Servaasbrug to have koffie en vlaai met slagroom in a café on the Vrijthof. She can walk fifty yards to the fabulous little Take 1 Bar where the most eccentric barman in the world serves you only with the beer that he thinks suits your mood and taste at that current time. She can wander aimlessly along the labyrinth of narrow cobbled lanes and admire the myriad of beautiful old buildings without having to worry about anything other than being knocked over by one of the myriad of cyclists. She can play Pooh sticks in the Maas. She can watch MVV at the top end of the Dutch equivalent of the NPower Championship. She can buy Chilean Merlot for €2.99 a litre at one of the Albert Reijn supermarkets. What more could anybody want in life?
Maastricht is probably the most stress free and relaxed place I have ever been . . . with the possible exception of the Bog of Allen Visitor Centre near Kildare in Ireland. The touristy bits aren't all that touristy and the scruffy bits aren't all that scruffy. Maastricht is a place where most people speak my language, where I understand the money and the culture and it is in the European Union.
Most places that I visit, no matter how much I have enjoyed my time there, I leave knowing that I will never return because there are too many places to visit in the world to be bothered with return trips.
But with Maastricht . . . I know for certain that I will be back soon.
Looking across the Vrijthof.