Exploring Maastricht

Today was my 3rd day in Maastricht and the first time I had a chance to explore. Yesterday during orientation, they had given us a brief tour of the city center but I wanted to explore a little further. 

Maastricht is the oldest city in the Netherlands and still has many walls and streets that remain from the Medieval Era. In fact, the ruins of the Medieval walls still stand and the streets are very narrow and were not made for cars. There was also no urban planning so the streets are not planned out in a grid. There is a square in the center of the city that is surrounded by church and rows of little restaurants and cafes. I was out exploring today so getting a little lost or carried away was not a problem for me. 

The first place I stopped at was the Basilica of Saint Servatius. I had passed by the basilica a few times already but not processed how big it was. Apparently it is the largest romanesque church in the Netherlands! The ceilings were very high and the church was built in the gothic architecture style. Above the choir there were very pretty frescos that adorned the ceiling. Towards the back of the church there was a what they call a “Bergportaal” which was essentially a side room that was ornately decorated with biblical figures. It had been added after the original construction of the church by French artisans. 

The second place I visited was another church since churches seem to have the best architecture in Europe. This was the Basilica of Our Lady. Today maybe since it was good Friday, the entire church was dark and very hard to make out much. This church was built in the 11th and 12th centuries. It is crazy to think how long some of the buildings heer have been standing for! 

De Bisschopsmolen, translating to “the Bishop’s Mill”, was a water wheel located in the city center that has powered the flour mill since the seventh century. It still functions today and you can see the mill turning on the Jeker River. Today, it also has been converted to a bakery. 

As I continued to wander I passed Helpoort which is part of the 13th century walls that Maastricht was initially constructed with. As you get closer to the river called the “Meuse”, you get a closer look at the exterior walls that once surrounded the whole town. 

Along my tour of Maastricht today I also had to pick up a bike I had ordered from a shop on the other side of the river. Having a bike would allow me to get around faster and see more of Maastricht. Once I retrieved my bike I went on my first bike ride along the river until I hit Belgium. So today I can say I rode all the way to Belgium!

See the photos here:




The last 2 days being in Maastricht I have felt nearly every emotion but I am beginning to become more comfortable and adjust. 

In the CES program that I am a part of, there are about 112 American students of which 15 arrived this quarter. All the CES students stay in the Maastricht Guesthouse which is an old hospital that has been converted to a dorm. Half of the building still functions as a hospital and my room that I was sharing with another student definitely gives off major hospital vibes. However, my room was quite large and did have a little kitchenette. 

All the students who arrived this quarter go to UC schools and are psychology majors. They all had the same schedules and were taking the same classes. They were quite cliquey and as the only DU business student, I felt quite left out. I found myself being rather quiet and just not connecting with anyone. At the end of the second day, I finally found one girl who I bonded with since neither of us wanted to go out to the clubs.That night we made dinner together and met some of her floormates who were very cool! We just spent the night chatting and getting to know one another. 

When I first arrived I was very anxious and overwhelmed by everything. There were so many things I had to figure out how to do from changing my sim card to navigating grocery stores to cooking my own food given the constraints of the little kitchen. There were also so many new people I just constantly ran into at the Guesthouse. I decided that the best thing to ease my anxiety would be to make a list of things I wanted to figure out and simply just start asking people and the coordinators for help. I asked someone in my hall who had been there since the start of the year to help me with my laundry and then asked my coordinator about how I would schedule a doctor’s appointment. I realized that while it was a lot, there are so many people who can help, you just have to reach out. 

Now as I head into my first week of classes, I can confidently say I am feeling prepared and much more confident about how to navigate everything.