After 5 weeks in the bicycle saddle zigzagging our way across Holland, we have finally landed in our last major Dutch destination – Maastricht. Located at the southernmost tip of Holland, Maastricht is situated between Germany and Belgium and offers all the appeal of an international venue – but without the hype or busloads of tourists. This is my favorite destination thus far. Cosmopolitan culture, cafes at every street corner, culinary delights, the pulse of international business and, of course, shopping (rated the best city to shop in the Netherlands – ahead of Amsterdam).

Fortunately, I had scheduled a one-week “break” in Maastricht to relax our butts and to offer ourselves some reprieve from our “touring.” To be honest, the break was overdue and welcomed by all of us. We have no agenda for this week, except to soak up the vibrant scene offered by Maastricht; stroll through quaint city streets, enjoy good food, attend a movie (or two), and read a good book.

Today was our first day off and we are off to a good start. Janelle and I enjoyed an early morning walk (just the 2 of us), with fresh espresso in hand, around the city perimeter. We came upon some treasure troves to that we shared with the kids later in the morning: a park along the top of the old city wall, remnants of the wall with arrow slits for shooting the enemy (cool), and a working watermill that is still used to grind wheat into flour (very cool).

We spent the afternoon in cafes, eating good food, drinking local beers, reading books and shopping. Janelle also managed to squeeze in a pedicure – a rare treat. ;) The evening entailed nothing more than a stroll through the market and dinner at a locally recommended Italian restaurant: Il Giardino. Truly, a relaxing and wonderful day.

We hope the coming days offer nothing more but the same...

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