Riding on Sundays is always pleasant, the roads are peaceful and it’s just what I needed to finish off the week. I’ve cycled everyday, except Wednesday, and after today, my distance for the week is just over 500km. I was glad the path was flat and there was only a headwind that I had to ride against.
I was getting really tired towards the end and stopping every hour to stretch and focus again. The route didn’t go through any towns, it was just long cycle paths along the water. There were plenty of other cyclists enjoying the great weather and in the last hour I was being overtaken by fit, elderly cyclists.
As I approached Maastricht, I did a double take on this church, not because it was particularly beautiful or unique, but there was something out of place. It’s hard to see the sign at the front (I’d already zoomed past by the time it clicked), but it says Basic Fit, the name of a chain of gyms I’ve seen recently. It’s good to know that the church is being put to good use.
Maastricht was very busy when I arrived, they have an antique market on Sundays and this week there was a food festival too.
My hostel was located right next to the river and my room had beautiful views. After a quick shower, I ventured back into the city to just wander around in the sun. There were plenty of impressive buildings to look at, the Basilica of our Lady was stunning on the inside, with incredible stained glass windows and artwork. I respected the no camera sign and tried to take a photo from outside, but the square it’s located in is really small and I could only capture one face of the building.
I had an early dinner and after a bit more exploring, I headed back to the hostel for some solid sleep.
In the morning I felt refreshed from ten hours of sleep and had a great breakfast. My hostel, Stayokay Maastricht, has an eco label and all their breakfast food is organic and delicious, especially the bread. Afterwards I had a few errands; laundry, buying a screw to replace the one that fell off my bike yesterday and buying supplies for tomorrow’s 110km ride. It sounds mundane, but I was happy to do something productive, slow paced and normal.
The rest of my errands were on the other side of the river, which gave me an excuse to use the cool bridge.
I made it back to the hostel at 3 and met Tanya as she was checking into the dorm. She’s from Perth too and immediately we became best friends. It was a welcome change from the less than warm interactions I’ve had in The Netherlands so far. I headed down to have one drink with her, and it eventually became six hours of drinking. Our other dorm mate, Azar joined us about two hours into the party, and we had a ball. We were the loudest ones in the hostel bar and I know it’s a terrible stereotype, but hanging out with someone and feeling like you have something in common is just nice. After leaving Belgium I felt like an outsider, and while drinking for six hours the night before a big ride is a bad idea, it was totally worth it. I had fun and I’ll be catching up with Tanya back in Perth to hear the rest of her life story, which could easily be made into a movie.