Falling in love with Maastricht happens like this

Heavy rains led us from Brussels all the way to Maastricht. I imagined a huge rain cloud above covering the bordering countries of Belgium and The Netherlands, like a never-ending dough of rolled out cinnamon roll except it is made of rain, not butter. We thought we’d stop by on our drive back home, even if it meant another early rise and on a Sunday.

Markus knows this city because he did his graduate studies here. It was fun to hear him talk about the streets, how he lived, and were the cool shops used to be. He said not much has changed in Maastricht and I suppose that is a good thing because I like this place despite the cold, gray, and rainy day.

There is a subtle electric vibe here, as if there are many nice things happening around even if I am not seeing it. Maybe it is the youthful energy of the student city? Or how the people inside shops and cafes look focused and engaged no matter what it was they were doing? It could also just be the impressive number of bars lining the streets, I am told it is a thing. Whatever it is, I like this vibe of quiet focus and productivity.

After some wandering, we settled on a cafe to warm up, Markus choosing a bike and coffee themed one owned by his graduate school classmate. He really enjoyed their coffee tasting, the baristas were really helpful and accommodating, and I thought their chai was really good. I wanted to eat there too but we were too early for anything outside of cake.

Fortunately, we were not too early for the cheese shop! It was by the square and open on a Sunday. What a delight! Large orange wheels, slices piled high, different aromas and tastes – it was amazing.

Despite the shop being busy, the seller managed to tell us some history of cheeses and share some tips and bits on cheesemaking. I love that so much. Food is about people, markets are about connections, and it is great when merchants make time for that.

Then the most wonderful thing about Maastricht: Markus told me there is a beautiful bookshop here that he wanted me to see. I love bookshops! But I was not prepared for this one.

We walked to a street where his old apartment was and across this was an old church. It was closed but he said we should wait because this was the bookshop he told me about. It was inside. I couldn’t believe it. Just the thought excited me. And when the giant doors finally opened, it was simply heaven.

Easily the grandest bookshop I have ever seen, Boekhandel Dominicana often appears on lists of the best bookshops in the world. It was mouth-dropping gorgeous. The huge church windows and high ceilings let plenty of light in to illuminate the large selection of books. The painted ceilings remain beautiful, the cafe inside is cozy, and the smell… I am very sure you know what I mean.

A bookshop inside a converted church. Can there be a more perfect superimposition? In books, I have always found comfort and solace, answers when I need them, insight, reflection, and some courage to keep going, great company when life gets isolating, and an infinite source of growth and joy. The many books I have read nourished my soul and helped me form my beliefs, character, and mindset. I would like to believe I am a better person because of them.

I could get lost inside this bookshop for an entire day, pointing out books and authors like old friends and jumping in excitement in seeing new reads, particularly children’s and art books that are just so lovely. I cherished every second I was in there in my happy place.

It was not a long stay but Maastricht made me very happy.

18 thoughts on “Falling in love with Maastricht happens like this

  1. I loved reading this. I can tell you enjoyed your visit and for good reasons. I like the wet grayness of your photos, not everything need be sunny and bright to make it fun. As for a bookstore inside a converted church, that is cool.


    1. Thanks Mrs. Bean, I was surprised how much I enjoyed Maastricht despite the weather. I suppose the nice things about a place gets easily highlighted or doubled by rays of sunshine. It is just what it does! But even in the pissing rain, Maastricht proved charming, cozy, and fun and by the time we left the square and shops were becoming packed by people, too!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. The town is so pretty and sounds like a great place to live, Micah! And your description of the bookshop sounds like heaven. (Though I’ve always loved bookshops and books, Kindle has made me very lazy about hanging around them.) Lucky Markus to have spent his student days there!


    1. I would agree, quite laidback but not boring by the looks of it. I suppose as long as you ae enjoying books it does not matter how or where. But I do love bookshops and feel like a child on wonderland everytime I see one, especially one as beautiful as this.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Absolutely a city that must be visited! And, dear friends you have taken me there! Goodness! What a wonderful book emporium (it cannot be called a shop, haha). And, food heaven as well. Markus, did you study gastronomy? 😉🙋‍♂️


    1. I love that, yes, it was magical for all of us book lovers. It honestly felt like stepping inside one of the shops in Hogsmeade from Harry Potter. I really don’t know any other bookstore that is as grand, though I am sure many wonderful ones exist out there, and it would be a joy to visit them at some point. I can imagine there are plenty of nice ones in the UK?


  4. I love those old European cities with the narrow cobblestone streets. I grew up in the North of England and that’s how I remember it. Here in Canada, Quebec City is the only place that compares.
    Oooh…that bookshop looks absolutely heavenly. What a wonderful location and you described it so well, I felt like I was there with you!


    1. Me, too. Can never get enough of these old streets. Maybe one day we will also see Quebec on the other side of the world! And yes, it was a gorgeous book shop – it would be very expensive if I lived across it.

      Liked by 1 person

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