Last days in Maastricht

Although the usual housekeeping and maintenance had to be done prior to our departure, we still had some time to enjoy this beautiful city. The weather played its part. After the recent cold spell and rain, we now had sunny skies and temperatures peaking at 31 degrees. What better way to cool off than visiting the Maastricht casemates and some of its still viable 14 kms of tunnels. 

A very entertaining guide told us of the town withstanding many sieges, until the musketeer army of King Louis XIV under his strategist Vauban finally succeeded. However, the famous Charles de Batz de Castlemore d’Artagnan died and is buried here. He was the only real life member of The Three Musketeers written about by Dumas.

Strolling through the city on another perfect summers day we came across the food festival on the Vrijthof, the big town square. I had trouble dragging Austin away from the Apérol Spritz Bar, his favourite drink - not sure whether it might have been the young bar maids as well capturing his attention!? 

I thought this called for some holy intervention and luckily the Basilica of Saint Servatius or “Sint Servaas” overlooks the square. This patron saint of Maastricht, as legend goes, followed divine orders and set out from Jerusalem in 4th century travelling through Asia Minor and the Balkan all the way to Tongres. He later settled as bishop in Maastricht. The basilica was erected on the site where the saint was buried, and eventually his body came to rest in the church crypt. The treasury holds many items connected to St. Servaas. 

For centuries pilgrims have visited his shrine which was last carried in a procession in 1991 during the gulf war. Amazing are the pieces of silk and linen, parts of shrouds and material the relics were wrapt in. Among other relics there is the silver arm containing the radius and ulna bones of Apostle Thomas.

It was back onto our bikes from there cycling through the Sunday cafe crowds along the Maas to our marina to finish off some varnishing. Tomorrow we’ll pack our bags and say good bye to the Freshwater until next year.

In a couple of weeks we will continue our caravan trip from Exmouth, Western Australia. If you are interested in following us, you can do so at: www.robos.com.au/oz

Totziens for now!


© Austin Robinson 2019