Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Eindhoven and the caves of Maasctricht

Abbe and I stayed in Leiden for the weekend after my classes were finished. The following Monday, we left Leiden and arrived in Eindhoven to visit our family friends Ellen and Carlos who I've known most of my life. They're expats, a Dutch and Argentinian couple who we met way back when we moved down to Orlando. It's exciting to be here because I have a lot of childhood memories in Eindhoven as well as memories from growing up in Florida with their daughter, Anneke. During childhood visits to Eindhoven, we used to play in the park behind their friend's house. I don't recall it before but now there's petting zoo with adorable baby animals that we were naturally excited to meet.

After meeting with Ellen and Carlos in Eindhoven, we headed out for a visit to Nuenen. It's a city close by where Van Gogh once lived! We got a bit lost on the way and I was excited for Abbe to see the real Dutch countryside!

With Van Gogh in Nuenen...

Having a drink with Ellen and Carlos...

The following day, we traveled to Maastricht, the southernmost metropolitan city in the Netherlands. It's very posh but feels quite different from up north in Amsterdam and Leiden. They even ride their bikes differently in the south.

One our main point of interest were old mining caves that were used as shelters during World War II. Mining in this area dates back to the 12th century and the materials were used to build much of the Maastricht and it's churches. At first, I thought visiting caves would make me feel very clausterphobic (they did, a little) but for the most part while wandering inside, we felt like Indiana Jones, hunting for treasures. 

Entrance to the caves, just as spooky as it looks. 

There were a lot of really neat cave paintings inside too...

To finish up, here's Abbe enjoying the splendor of Dutch beer in Maastricht.

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