Holiday in times of Corona

I never only take one picture when I’m out and about, I take tons and Mr Esther takes even more. We’ve been quite busy on holiday, seeing a lot. Today is a day for doing nothing so I thought I’d post pics of what we’ve been up to. If reading people’s holiday stories and looking at endless slide shows are a chore, feel free to skip this post!

Our holiday cottage in the southern tip of The Netherlands near Maastricht is nice.

On our first real day trip we went to the Three Countries Point where the borders of The Netherlands, Belgium and Germany meet. It’s also the location of the highest point in The Netherlands. My country is very flat, so being here in the southern tip of The Netherlands almost feels foreign in itself as the scenery is so different from the rest of the country (OK, technically the following first picture is just across the border in Belgium).

There’s a marker right near the Three Countries Point that shows the highest point of The Netherlands in Vaals (322.5 meters above sea level). Peanuts in a lot of countries but a small matter of pride here.

A few meters on at the Three Countries Point we were told in German and Dutch that wearing a mask was desired but in Belgium that wearing a mask was mandatory.

So we donned our masks for the first time this holiday (not everyone did, but better safe than sorry, we figured)…

… and admired the pie-points that signified where The Netherlands is (smallest part of the pie), followed by Belgium, and half the pie belonged to Germany.

From there we drove on to Verviers in Belgium which turned out to not be the most amazing place but we did sit down there for drinks. In the center of town masks were mandatory, so we donned ours again.

We drove through the Belgian village of Limbourg, which is the source of the name of the Dutch province Limburg (our holiday cottage is in Limburg).

We ended the day with a little stop in the woods. Mini-me chased butterflies and we even saw deer.

The next day we went into Maastricht for the day, to get to know it a bit and walk around.

Except for in public transport, masks aren’t mandatory anywhere in The Netherlands. It was quite busy, though! We did our best to keep a distance but it felt like many people didn’t pay that much attention to how much distance they were keeping. There were signs up reminding people to avoid crowds, keep a distance, stay right, adhere to one way traffic…

Mini-me needed a shirt to sleep in, so she and I went into two or three stores until we found something while Mr Esther went to a bookstore inside an old church building. We were going to join him there but by the time we got there it felt too crowded for me, so mini-me and I sat down for some drinks instead on the square in front of the store and awaited Mr. Esther. It had been doable inside, he said, but it was good to be out again.

We soon left the busy shopping streets, visited the Basilica of Our Lady Maastricht and explored the somewhat quieter other streets of Maastricht.

We still plan on returning to Maastricht to actually visit the St. Servatius church, hopefully sometime this weekend. It’s hot here now and will be for the next few days, so it will be good to do something inside.

The day after Maastricht we went to the German city of Aachen.

The cathedral is in an octagon form and is a thing of beauty, especially the ceilings. It was constructed by order of Charlemagne and he was buried there at the beginning of the 9th century. Now his bones are held in a 13th century golden chest. The church was used for coronations of German kings and queens until the 14th century.

In the gift shop they sold “Corona angels” (i.e. tiny angels with masks on)! Couldn’t resist and bought my mother one (she loves angels).

Aachen is a lovely city, with old features and modern shopping and mini-me was happy to finally eat a German bratwurst again! It was busy but a little less busy than Maastricht, which was good.

The next day we went to Heerlen. Not a special city (although there were some nice murals on houses) but we especially went to visit the museum housing the remains of an excavated Roman bath house…

We drove on to the German town of Jülich which isn’t so special either but it has a huge old fort there. I liked the little street library there in an old phone booth and as we were back in Germany, where masks are mandatory inside public spaces such as shops, we were back to carrying our masks openly on us so we could quickly put them on as needed.

After some busy days sightseeing we got lazy and spent a day at our cottage. That evening we did go out for dinner in a neighbouring village, with a nice view over the countryside that does not feel like The Netherlands.

Yesterday we drove to Luxemburg for a day. We stopped at Clervaux in the north of Luxemburg (about an hour away)…

… and then drove on to Luxemburg city (another hour on). It’s a nice city which has huge gorges, pretty cool to see. I had been there many years ago during my first holiday with Mr Esther but didn’t remember much about it, except for the gorges. Luxemburg too was busy but not too busy.

On our way back, we stopped in the Belgian city of Liege for dinner, donning face masks in the city center yet again…

So, that’s it, our summer holiday away up till now! Mr Esther and mini-me went away with the car this afternoon. Mr Esther wants to try and follow some old Roman roads and they’ll get some groceries on the way back while I sit here with my laptop at the cottage in the shade and blog.

It’s hot today, so it’s good we’re not marching through some hot, busy city right now. The battery on my laptop is running low and even in the shade I’m hot, so I’m heading inside our air-conditioned cottage soon to read. Even with restrictions, this holiday during Corona times is still fun. I just love to be travelling again, even if it isn’t that far away.

17 thoughts on “Holiday in times of Corona

  1. Oh, I have loved seeing all those photographs. It just feels like a *real* holiday, and that is simply lovely to see. The normality of that is what I miss. And if it weren’t for the masks, it would be the ideal holiday (with less overcrowded city centres than usual).
    That area of Europe is just fantastic. I have never really made it across the border to Maastricht (although that has been on my list for a long time), but my parents took me as a teenager to Aachen and Belgium as well as Luxemburg. Such beautiful places – so much to see.
    Keep enjoying it and I hope it doesn’t get too hot the next few days.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Glad you enjoyed the picture spam. I’m not too good at limiting myself. 😉

      That’s what I love about Europe (and open borders) too, you can just hop into a car and visit another country, easily be confronted with another culture and another language.
      Mini me wanted to go to one of those ‘tropical’ swimming pools with slides and such (we mostly only have those indoors here) but they’re all closed and we won’t do a beach (not that we’re near one now), too crowded on sunny days. So those are some restrictions but it’s still all good and we’re lucky that we’re able to do this.


  2. Servetus

    Which beers did you drink in Belgium?

    It looks to me like you got at least a few indulgences. Seeing those pictures of Aachen reminded me of the summer of 1996 — we spent several hours in the Kaiserdom while on the same Graduiiertenkolleg excursion that took us to Maastricht. At the end of it, when we were all dying for a beer, the two main profs spent twenty minutes in front of the entrance, arguing about whether Charlemagne really would have been the object of popular veneration. I don’t remember anymore who won, just that I really needed the bathroom!

    Liked by 1 person

      1. Servetus

        I always thought if I were a better grad student I’d have been able to keep my mind on the main theme. 🙂

        blonde ales: perfect choice and of course that was Armitage’s favorite beer back in the Hobbit days.

        Liked by 1 person

        1. I’m not a big beer drinker at all, but blonde ales are my fave too of all the beer I know.

          I forgot that about Armitage’s fave beer in Hobbit days. Right now I’m drinking his fave wine – pinot noir. 🙂

          Liked by 1 person

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