Thursday, December 14, 2017

The Maastricht Christmas Market and St. Servatius Basilica

Now that we're back from our Christmas Market venture last weekend, you know we are full of Christmas cheer.  We got our "fix."

Let's start with Maastricht, which was our Friday afternoon arrival point.  And since I took only 3 photos before we sat down to eat (it was time!), I'll start with this "fix," which was a must for the trip:  brats! 

Gotta always have a brat at the Christmas market.  It's what you do.

THEN we were ready to start the day.

No Bah Humbugs from us.

Because most European Christmas markets are situated at city center,
the biggest church of the city is usually right there in plain sight.

And because the European churches are more important to us than even Christmas markets,
we pretty quickly veered off from the Christmassy "fix" to make sure we didn't miss this Basilica.

Actually, there are two churches next to each other, separated by a street.
The red spire is the Dutch Reformed St. John's Church from the 14th c. and wasn't open.
The humongous church next door is the Basilica of St. Servatius from the 11th-12th centuries.

It's easy to tell this is a Roman Catholic church.
And yes, I lit a candle and prayed for special people that day!

Opposite the altar view in the former collage is the organ/back of the church.
What a treat to hear it while we were there.

It was the crypt, however, that grabbed me the most.
Soulful.  Cozy.  Meditative.
St. Servatius, the Bishop of Tongeren, died in 384 and is buried there.

That's the reliquary bust of St. Servatius, 15/16c., bottom-left.

From inside the church, we looked out to the Christmas market Ferris wheel....

which, of course, totally got our attention.
We've never seen a Christmas market with a Ferris wheel, so we had to ride it.

The contraption itself always fascinates me...and this time more so because of the colors.

How can you NOT love  it!
And yes, that's how big the basilica is (bottom-right).

I had fun making this collage on my iPad for Facebook.

It so happens the toilets were next to the skating rink,
so we watched for awhile.
I loved this wee family, with mommy showing how and then older sister doing it.

As the afternoon wound down, we sat long enough for stir-fried mushrooms with garlic sauce
and the prerequisite glühwein.  

We were totally satisfied.  We didn't need more.  It was time to leave.  

As we left the market and wandered to our car, past the city hall (top-left and center),
we were reminded that Masstricht is André Rieu's city, for those of you who know him.

In case you don't know him, here's my favorite of all the videos I've seen.
He's Maastricht's favorite son!
To be honest, he's all of Holland's favorite son!

On that note, we crossed the St. Servatius Bridge across the Meuse/Maas River to our car.

Enough "fixes" to last the weekend...but it was only our first day of three....


  1. Oh Boots, so much joy and fun. I love the crypt too, wow. And that last photo of the bridge is just tremendous.

    Glad you did that new thing: the Ferris wheel. :)

    1. You can understand from our photos each year, Ruth, why we love the Christmas markets of Europe. Nothing quite like them. The Ferris wheel was such an unexpected delight!

  2. It always 'shocks' me how much we do in one day and survive it. HA. This was a great start of the weekend and the fact that we had no rain or snow was a miracle all together. I so love your pictures. Another memory added to 2017.....Thank you and IHVJ.

    1. Actually, THAT day we had rain as we walked into the city and had to wear our ponchos. But once we got there, we were "safe." Oh, and when we drank our glühwein under the roof, remember, it rained, but stopped when we were done. We were so lucky! :)

  3. What a lovely afternoon break. The basilica is massive and beautiful. You fit a great deal into a day, Ginnie. I look forward to day 2.

    1. Thank you for following our journey here, Marie. We DO pack a lot in a day, it seems, but we always know when to stop, thankfully. :)

  4. now THIS is a festive post!! thanks for giving us the tour! i don't understand you calling a crypt 'cozy' hahaha... but i do understand your love of ferris wheels.. when i was super young, i asked to go on a roller coaster by myself, coz they are supposed to be FUN right?? hahaha i was soooo terrified i never got on another ride at the fair, any fair, EVER... except the ferris wheel, but frankly i still hold on TIGHT lol i liked your iPad collage too!

    1. LOL, Elaine. It's so strange how crypts really can be "cozy," after being in the HUMONGOUS cathedrals above them. Seriously. But yes, I totally "get" not wanting to ever ride a roller coaster again, ever. It seems they want to make everything faster and crazier with every new year. I'll stick to the Ferris wheel, with you! :)