Monday, March 10, 2014

Back across the Channel

DSC04016 (1300x975)It was midwinter when I last crossed to the Netherlands, it feels like a very long time indeed.  The Crossing was smooth and uneventful, ‘warm enough to go on-deck to enjoy the sunset. 

Traffic across Belgium was miserable and it took an hour longer than normal to reach Brussels.  I reflected, listened to podcasts, transcribed some notes, and chatted on the phone, as the time and miles passed.

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Maastricht  didn’t feel like ‘home’ as it usually does when I pulled in.  It wasn’t anything that I could put my finger on, but likely there’s just been too much time away and too many changes.

‘Ground floor at Kesselskade 59, a new restaurant, Rantree, has opened.  DSC04041 (1300x919)Its not cheap, but the menu looks very good.  I stopped in to say hi, they promise that they will stay around longer than the 8-months that the Tapas Bar survived.

First floor, the three students, all Middle Eastern women and terrified of me as a single man living in the building above them, have departed.

Top floor, back among my things and happy to find my plants are thriving.

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VastelaovendCarnival decorations still adorn my windows.  The party has passed me by this year, regrettably, so if feels a little forlorn.  I had loaned my apartment overlooking the parade route to friends able to make good use of it. 

And they must have had quite a party.  I’ve actually had unfamiliar people stop me in the store to tell me how much they enjoyed  ‘my’ Vastelaovend feestje.

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Otherwise, like seems remarkably unchanged. A recent newspaper article characterized how the city center was deteriorating from the closure of local coffee houses and drug boats.  But the streets seem clean and empty throughout the day and evening, café’s starting to open as the weather warms and everyone getting ready for the TEFAF Art Fair, starting in a few days.

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