After 12 days in Germany I had around 36 hours to get from Aachen to Amsterdam Airport Schiphol for my flight back to Sydney.
My original plan was head from Aachen to Eindhoven where I was to meet with another friend. But after some discussions with my friends in Aachen I changed those plans and headed to Maastricht instead.
Maastricht is around one hour by public bus from Aachen. The trip isn’t super exciting but the bus does pass through a number of small villages between Aachen and Maastricht. When I arrived in Maastricht I put my bags into storage and began my normal routine of randomly walking through the city.
As I walked from the train station to the main area of the city I stopped to buy some food from a bakery where I found it quite unusual to be speaking English as for the last few weeks I had at least been saying hello in German.
I ate my snack as I continued my usual routine of trying to get lost and stumble upon interesting things. However, I didn’t have much success at this in Maastricht so after an hour I admitted defeat and bought a map from the local tourist office.
With my map I headed to Basilica of Saint Servatius. It took a little while to find the entrance to the Basilica as it’s right around the back of the building from Vrijthof Square. Despite being difficult to find (and having to pay to enter) once inside I was blown away by history.
When I first went to Germany I got history culture shock standing in a church in Frankfurt that had existed for 100 years. The Basilica of Saint Servatius makes that look new. The Basilica can trace its history back to 4th Century. Regardless of what you think about religion a church that has served its community for nearly 1700 years is something very impressive and must be doing something right.
After visiting the Basilica for an hour or so (there was a lot to see), I walked to the edge of the city to explore the remains of the city walls. Most impressive was a gate that has stood for 700 years and is still used by vehicles today.
I then exhausted myself walking through the narrow streets of the old city looking in windows of shops that I could never afford to buy things from. This included stumbling upon a clothing store called “New Zealand Auckland” which was a bit funny given it was uniquely Dutch. I then caught a train north to Eindhoven to meet with a friend and then we went onto The Hauge where I would spend my final night in Europe.