Always say yes to new adventures! September 2018 I travelled to Maastricht enticed by friends, good food and beer, lots of history and rolling hills, and the enticement of a new way of traveling and exploring, the e-bike. Getting there was easy, with trains from the airport in Amsterdam to Maastricht in the southern tip of the Netherlands, nestled in between Belgium and Germany. Maastricht is a happening small city crammed with history, architectural wonders, cobblestone streets, lots of color and is prime for wandering on foot or bike.
The surrounding countryside is phenomenal with farmland, unique villages, and World War 1 relics around every turn and there are hiking and bike paths everywhere, between every field, up and down every hill, along every waterway and river and through every relic site. There are either beer gardens or breweries seemingly everywhere, even at monasteries, with brews available only in the area, and each better than the last! There will be some local cheeses and other local specialties to go along with it all.
There are lots of local people out walking and biking but it was amazing how we were usually on our own, passing the occasional farmer, massive local and very muscular Belgian Blue cows, and enjoying the views, the fresh air, and the peace and quiet.
Andrea and Rob gave me a good introduction to the e-bike and the traffic laws and right-of-way markings. The country definitely respects the biker and I always felt very safe, everywhere. The first day the learning curve was steep and I very quickly felt comfortable with the technology of the bike and traveling on the various bike paths.
Andrea was supremely good at paying attention to what was going on with me, the roads and paths and easily adjusting the itinerary and making suggestions to more easily deal with whatever came up. The e-bike is amazing, smoothing out everything, from a rocky path on a hillside to making a curb feel like a gentle ramp. The fat mountain bike tires are slightly underinflated to accomplish this and it works very well.
We were never in a hurry but we covered a lot of ground. It was so enjoyable to bike for hours, have time to enjoy all the sights, and get to the end of the day and feel tired but never exhausted. We rode to the thermal spa in Valkenburg one day and spent hours in all the different types of saunas and I am quite sure we still did not get to all of them. We rode upriver to Liege to explore that city and on the only day that rained, luckily (!), ended up returning on the train with our bikes.
Everything in the country has been thought out to accommodate those on bikes, and Andrea was well versed in it all. I had rain gear, just in case, but only really needed my good rain jacket.
Andrea was a good-spirited, relaxed, fun-loving, energetic and knowledgeable guide and I highly recommend her services to all. Rob embodies the relaxed, knowledgeable, I-can-fix-anything-and-I-have-already-thought-of-everything person that is always good to have around and is filled with constant wonder at the small and large joys of life in the Netherlands, and life in general.
Thank you Andrea and Rob! I will be back! I want more!
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