I am frequently grateful for the host family that I was placed with. From what I understand, not many get as lucky as I have with regards to the family that they au pair for, but I get along with the family that I live with and work for very well. The boys had a week off school at the end of February and I expressed interest in getting out of town for a day or two, so they booked a few nights in Maastricht and Vaals since I had yet to visit that area.
The stay in Vaals was at a Landal and centered on the kids, but I did get to spend a bit of time exploring Maastricht and even got to check out a pretty awesome party there on the Saturday night. Limburg is the southernmost province of the Netherlands and has a very distinctive accent (I'm told, but I struggle to identify the accents since my Dutch is limited.) Coming from Colorado, I wouldn't exactly call them "mountains" but there were some large hills there. The Maas river is beautiful and flows right through the city. In Vaals, we were near the Drielandenpunt where you can look out into Germany, Belgium and of course, the Netherlands.
On our first day in Maastricht, we wandered the city center, had some vlaai (signature fruit pie of the region), visited the Basilica of Saint Servatius, and Boekhandel Dominicanen- one of the most beautiful bookstores in the world. The architecture and layout of the city was beautiful and very charming, even if it was quite cold. Maastricht University keeps the population young and I noticed the abundance of university aged people, i.e. people that make me feel old. Before heading to Vaals we also visited the Bonnefanten Museum, which hosts a surprising collection of Medieval and Renaissance Dutch artwork as well as a contemporary exhibit by Grayson Perry that was much more modern, colorful and playful.
Saturday night I was joined by a friend who grew up in Maastricht and we went to the Claydrum Indoor party at the Muziekgieterij. It was a great party and I liked the venue! They do know how to make you dance here!
We stayed at the Kaboom Hotel, which was especially great for kids and well located.