Maastricht & Zuidwillemsvaart

After a stop in Maasbracht where a lovely dutch lady befriended us and presented us with an enormous Dutch flag, we sailed back into Mosae Trajectum, the name the old Romans gave the town around 55 BC, which later became “Maastricht”.

Two days later, our very good friend Eva from Munich was set down by a Flixbus right into the middle of the Post-Tour-de-France Maastricht bicycle race, which has Hollands best cyclists circle the cobblestone streets of the centre in neck breaking speed. We managed to circumvent the cordoned off streets and beer drinking spectators and got Eva safely to the breakwater wall of St. Servaas' Bridge where the Freshwater was moored. 

This called of course immediately for a "safe arrival” drink which set the precedent for the next week. 

While we cruised from Maastricht into the Zuitwillemsvaart back into Belgium, Apérol Spritz remained the drink of choice and the card game “ Golf “ the daily challenge. To our shame, Eva, being a bit of a card shark, won most of the time. But we all had lots of fun in the process.

The first and last day of our little tour we stopped at the small town of Rekem. It is one of the oldest and most picturesque places in the area. Although temperatures had cooled down, we were still able to have coffee and cake in one of the café gardens. The canal itself was framed by allées of trees, a haven for cyclists and fishermen. We also stopped at Bocholt where the Zuitwillemsvaart meets the Herentals-Bocholt Canal which we had cruised in an opposite direction only a week prior. There we found a lovely nature walk to an old abandoned arm of the canal, where a coot had just built a nest on top of the water.

The weather now had really changed and the extreme heat wave was long forgotten. Intermittent rain showers set in, but luckily always when we had already settled in for dinner or a game of cards. As soon as we came back to Maastricht the rain periods increased and were accompanied by a cool, biting wind. An exception was the sun shine on Eva’s birthday. We spent the day strolling around the city and ended it with a delicious dinner at a Thai restaurant.

By chance a nice couple from the Rheinland we had already met in Rekem was looking for a spot on the popular breakwater wall, and we invited them to tie up to us while waiting for a free spot. To say thank you they unnecessarily and unexpectedly presented us with a bottle of Rheinhessen wine and a “Früh”, the famous beer from Cologne. Thank you again, and sorry I didn’t ask your names!

Unfortunately it was soon time for Eva to return to Munich, and for us to get to our winter mooring in Maastricht Marina.

We are in our winter berth now, trying to fix a leak through one of our windows and do general maintenance. The next week promises dry weather and sunshine, so we might get to explore more of Maastricht before we leave for Oz.

For more on Maastricht also see our 2016 blog.

Fishermen with their nets along the Zuitwillemsvaart Canal

Street Art under bridge at Bocholt

© Austin Robinson 2019