The storm washed the skies clear over Maastricht, leaving a nice sunrise over the river this morning. I was up early to get the car into the shop for a check-up and windshield repair, then off to Dutch lessons before some last-minute shopping. Folks in the UK wanted breads, cheeses and seasonal pastries; my extended family in the US likes the city’s liqueurs and chocolates.
This morning, I just enjoyed a little quiet time browsing the markets and shops, sampling the foods, and floating with the holiday crowds.
The St. Servatius bridge was blocked with a horse-drawn wagon, a string of Christmas trees, and a dancing Santa at 9 am for a parade to decorate the Bijenkorf, a local department store. Across the street from the apartment, workmen began erecting rides, food booths, and decorations; I worked the phones and watched the activities build, then dissipate through the midday.
I worked it hard, but by 6 pm, the sunset was highlighting the riverside. it was time to stop working. I rode my bike through the deepening dusk, past the ziekenhuis,to pick up the car. Balens en grenzen: still time to stop in and share a holiday whisky with a good friend, visit their new grand-babies, and talk with the cleaner about a gift she needs me to find in the US.
At 9:30 I took a last walk around the city to enjoy the lights and the markets. Surprisingly for a Friday, everything was closing early.The light flicker of sleet turned to drifting flakes as I talked. Choice is how you deal with circumstances, goes the advice. In this case,it means setting the clock another hour ahead to be sure of catching the midday ferry.
There’s always a full list waiting to be done these days, but I settled for a nestling in the window with a herfst biertje and a bellen met vriendinjes, watching the bicycles drift past beneath the Christmas lights.