Sunday, May 23, 2010

If it ain't Dutch, it ain't much!

This morning, Jean, Bonnie, Kaitlin and I spent our first Sunday at a historical church in the square. Apparently it is Pentacost (we aren't exactly sure what that is, but it IS celebrated by Catholics.. Thank you, Jean Carter) which made this outing even more special. We arrived at the service early so we snuck into the one taking place at the time. Absolutely GORGEOUS! Stained glass lining the walls, exquisite architecture, tall and decorated ceilings, only two columns of pews and one aisle down the center with a man in uniform standing in the back with a golden axe...? Someone that's Catholic needs to explain this man to us. The whole service was in Dutch, but nonetheless, it was an interesting experience. Of course people tour ancient churches, but we can now say we attended one.

This is the victory that conquers the world - our faith. 1 John 5:4

After church, we headed to the bike shed to check out our bikes!! We get these all summer (and found out we can even take them on the trains... paris by bike? heck yeah!) A group of about 12 of us headed through Maastricht, down a beautiful road consisting of a castle, vineyards, storybook houses, and a luscious, green countryside.

About 10 miles later, we arrived in Belgium at the Albert Canal. We stopped for a picture break as Bonnie interviewed Dr. Rust about the history of the canal while I filmed (should've been the other way around..). Once again, we all hopped on our bikes and traveled in a single file line approximately another 10 miles. Bonnie DID make it-- barely-- but we all were struggling a bit at the end. After calculating our trip, a few of us decided we biked almost 25 miles! But hey, it was definitely worth it seeing how it was probably one of the most amazing bike rides I'll ever take.

Of course once that was over we were all VERY hungry! So, Caleb, Jean, Bonnie and I strolled down our main street to find a small cafe on the corner. The pizza and calzones the little man made us were not only made completely from scratch, they have made it to our top 2 places to eat here! Finally full once again! Bye-bye spreadable sausage... :)

When we returned to the room, a group of us spontaneously decided to take a train to Amsterdam tomorrow! This trip will NOT consist of any coffee shops, rather the Anne Frank house and the Van Gogh museum...

Later tonight, we took another trip to the square. This time, we discovered there's another square just a block down the street! Once again, movie set quality. While walking down the street we stopped to witness a Maastricht Street Show-- and golly, were we in for a treat!! An older man wearing a silver jumpsuit with pink leggings and heels was singing a Dutch pop song with backup dancers wearing similar outfits. Older men and women were dancing and singing along, so I decided to join! :) From there we continued to explore and found the "Maastricht projects," as Bonnie calls them. It felt like a ghost town.. So we circled back to the newfound square and took a seat outside to watch the sun go down (at 10pm.. I still don't know how long it's going to take me to get over this..)

I just posted pictures on Facebook so you can put images and stories together!

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