Europe Trip 30 September 2018

Europe Trip 30 September 2018

Our first 10 day barge tour continued with mostly fine sunny weather and warmer than expected days. The trip took us through some lovely scenic country but also through some very busy industrial areas and of course, lots of locks.
At Maasmechelen our companions departed and another Aussie friend joined us with her partner and their friends for the next 10 days. This tour was less about locks and more about scenic countryside and villages.

We had great weather for most of the 10 days with only a few days of grey, damp weather, but it was cooling and the shorts & Tshirts were packed away in favour of pants and warmer tops. It was a very slow and laid-back trip but we did a lot of walking in the towns we stopped at and climbed endless steps up towers and citadels.

We celebrated our 35th anniversary on board and our hosts decorated the dining area and wheelhouse with bunting and bought a delicious sponge & cream cake for the occasion.

2 days ago we came to Maastricht by train and stayed at a hotel overlooking the Vrijthof, the square where Andre Rieu has his annual concert.

It is a very old, historic city centre and has a very large and up-market shopping precinct. There is the biggest book shop I have seen, 3 floors of books in an ancient church with stone floors and vaulted arches.

Yesterday we went to the old city of Valkenburg only 15 minutes by train. It is a very pretty town with an amazing ruined castle on a hill right next to the town. Construction started in 1100 AD and continued over the centuries until it was destroyed in war in the 1700s and never rebuilt. Underneath is an extensive system of caves created by excavating the marl blocks used for building the castles, public buildings and houses in the town.

Last night being Saturday night and the end of the month the square was alive with people until the wee small hours, keeping Frans awake with their noisy partying. I slept through it all!
Today we caught the train to Utrecht for 4 nights and more sight seeing. After we dumped our luggage at our AirBnB we had lunch at an Italian pizzeria on the edge of the canal and then took the train to Amersfoort just 15 minutes away and wandered around the historic city centre. Over the next 3 days we intend to do lots of train rides to various nearby towns such as Delft and Gouda.