Sailing has always been on the top few skills in life that I want to develop. I’ve always dreamed of sailing across the world into different ports and seeing what they have to offer; a very different perspective on travelling than from the typical planes and busses. Cooking on a boat is also a skill yet to be discovered by me and intrigues me tremendously.
One day, a friend of mine invited me to sail with her boat that she works on for a few days for Dutch experience. How can I say no? This is my opportunity! I jumped on that offer and the next three days, I learned the ropes to sailing on a very traditional Dutch sailing boat (no puns intended).
Arguably the most infamous city in all of Europe, Amsterdam, was next up. Amsterdam is known for many things: drugs, prostitution, history, museum, the canals and drugs. I wanted to see what all the hype was about. However, I was apprehensive on whether I would like the crowd that I would find there. At first thought, Amsterdam was beautiful and well organised. Trams everywhere, the canals were easily recognisable and old Gothic like, historical buildings throughout the city. However, for some reason, I didn’t take that many pictures while I was here, curious…Â
Being in Europe is more about meeting up with old friends than it is for me going sightseeing or checking things off my list. After years of travelling around in the world, the list of “you have to come visit me in ____” friends kept growing. What’s worse is that most of them are in Europe. To top it all off, the EU gives you only 3 months at a time to fulfil all that.
Tucked away in the little corner of Netherlands, surrounded more by the borders of Belgium and Germany, lies Maastricht. This Limburg regional capital city is a very charming city that lends it from its very troubled history. In short, it was in the centre of many early European wars, due to its strategic location: First the Holy Roman Empire gave it city rights, then the Spanish took it over in the 16th century, shortly after the Dutch states conquered it in the 17th century. 40 years later, the French occupied it for a short time, but took it back again in the 18th century. When the Napoleon era ended, it became part of the Netherlands and since then, it’s been a major disputed land between the Belgians and the Dutch. Confusing? yeah.