On the menu for Day 12 was ... dinner at 6pm and open for the rest. Hmm, pretty good day for us to leave Daniel with his Opa and Oma and for Mommy and Daddy to go exploring. We decided to go to the Niels' favorite Dutch city Maastricht.
Maastricht is one of the oldest cities in Holland and has seen continuous occupation since before Roman times. In the 2nd through 4th century it had a Roman settlement and a Maas river bridge that stood until the 12th century. During the middle ages it was ruled by Bishops and became a triving town. There are many old churches (some as old as the 10th century) and some of the medival city walls are still present. Even Napoleon briefly occupied the city with the 4th muskatier (D'Artagnan) being killed in one the sieges). Today, it is a very bourgeouis city with lots of restaurants, outside terraces, city squares and a very French, joie d'vivre that - combined with the history - makes it such a beautiful city.
When we were there Niels showed where he worked - Penske had an office in downtown Maastricht - before he moved to the States and afterwards we made our way to our #1 attraction: the Worlds' most beautiful bookstore. It is housed in a former church and looks simply stunning.
We found a nice ABC book for Daniel and card for Mom. We also visited the oldest church and after some soul-feeding it was time for some stomach feeding. The winter carnival was in town and that ment lots of Oliebollen, Poffertjes, Brats and Burgers. We had some very XL Brats and were thinking of our friends in Wisconsin (that includes a friend who got engaged 2 days later, congratulations!). All that food aside, we still had a dinner appointment back in Helmond at 6pm at the local pancake resaurant, so Helmond-bound we went.
The pancake restaurant was only about a mile from our home-base here in the Netherlands so the whole family walked to dinner. Very nice, makes us miss sidewalks in the States... Daniel had fun in the kids-section and enjoyed some of Opa, Daddy and Mommy's dinner. At home we feasted some more on that yummy Cinnamon (Kaneel) ice cream before we called it a night.