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Magical Maastricht

There is something magical about Maastricht. Maybe it is the small streets, the old buildings, the large squares full of people drinking coffee with vlaai (a local delicacy). Or maybe the laid back atmosphere. Or is it that Maastricht, as one of the few cities in the Netherlands, is still authentic?

Now-a-days it doesn’t matter if you walk through the city center of Rotterdam, Tilburg or The Hague. All city centers look alike. Zara, H&M, Stradivarius, among others, have made almost all the city centers around the world an exact copy of each other. Small independent stores have been chased away or just killed by these big brands.

Small and authentic

But small, authentic is what I like and Maastricht has it. Okay, you have to look for them. Sadly enough Mango, Footlocker and Hema are also welcome here, and dominate the shopping streets with their boring see-one-seen-them-all shopping windows. But if you wander a little out of the center, through the cosy narrow streets, you can still find a small treasure. As we do today.

On our way to Dominicanen, our favorite bookshop, we stumble upon Turasnu, a little fashion shop with only Mexican clothes, imported by the owner herself. Between the colorful capes and dresses, Sara discovers a purple poncho that looks so amazing on her, we decide to buy it.

Happy to have supported this little, fair-trade shop, we move across the street for a sandwich at the Bisschopsmolen, a local, artisan sourdough bakery. From here it’s on to Lush. Yes, an international company, but at least an ethical one, that stands for fair trade.

The old man who disappeared

Here is where I leave Sara on her own, so I can already go to Dominicanen, to see if I can find some books I haven’t read yet. Preferably crime books or comic adventures, like the 100-Year-Old Man Who Climbed Out the Window and Disappeared by Jonas Jonasson, one of my favorite authors.

Dominicanen turns out to be busier than I hoped for, so I walk out – after paying of course – with only two books. One for me and one for Sara’s birthday. Luckily I already bought another book at De Tribune, another authentic shop. A book I’m very curious about. Or not so much a book, more a hiking guide, called The Dutch Mountain Trail and the Seven Summits.

I didn’t know we even had seven summits in this flat country, so I think it’s time I start reading.

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