A Long Weekend in Liège and Maastricht

We needed to get the heck outta Dodge. Well, I did. With no travel from Mallorca until last weekend, it felt like we hadn’t been anywhere in ages. Don’t get us wrong, we’re enjoying the new place. But a whole lot of work intensity and no change of scenery to break it up made for a very real need to escape for a bit.

So here’s what we did:

  • drove to a Ferienwohnung1 in Liège, Belgium
  • dug up Belgian grub there
  • trained it to Maastricht for a day
  • drove back to Regensburg

That helped.

Our FeWo was in the Fragnée neighborhood — with a couple sandwich shops and a big grocery store nearby and an easy walk to Liège’s central station, Guillemins.

Fragnée Neighborhood Liège

The station was impressive during the day, but other-worldly at night. It reminded me of something out of “Encounter at Farpoint.

Guillemins Station Liège
Guillemins Station Liège
Guillemins Station Liège

Our landlady recommended a couple nearby restaurants, but none were able to accommodate us on short notice without a reservation. So we followed our noses2 to Namaste India, not far from the train station. Expecting MEAT AND POTATOES from Belgium later on that weekend, we tried to get our vegetables on with some of our favorite vegetarian dishes. And it was quite good.

Namasté Liège

Getting some frites from a frites joint downtown with a line out the door, we spotted this dish:

French Fry Baguette

Yeah, that’s for real. And it was a popular choice among the locals: 4 or 5 others got the same order.

After our first night, we were able to get a table without a reservation at Au Concordia. It was a little fancier than we expected, considering its proximity to the train station, but we didn’t feel out-of-place in our weekend clothes compared to the other tables. We were very impressed with the MEAT AND POTATOES here. Star of the show: the green peppercorn creme sauce, which was great on the fries, the boiled potatoes, and the steak.

Rumsteak, Frites, Boulettes at Concordia Liège
Central Liège

Liège was pretty, but kind of weird. We’ve been to plenty of places that have a mix of old and new architecture, but that’s usually been due to aerial bombing (see Nuremberg, Berlin, etc.). This felt like it was on purpose.

Construction in Liège

I wonder if this construction crew above has read the book below.

Dutch Shade

We spotted that book at the Bonnefanten Museum in Maastricht. Getting there was a cheap and easy half-hour IC train ride from the space mushroom in Liège. On the way, we needed some coffee and pastries. Enter Limburgse Vlaai.

Limburgse Vlaai
You can bet we’ll be seeking out recipes to replicate that at home.

It was kind of a long walk from the Maastricht central station to the Bonnefanten Museum, but the weather was nice, and we wanted to take advantage of that.

Bonnefanten Museum Maastricht

We were pleasantly surprised by the contemporary exhibit there — Cai Guo-Qiang : My Stories of Painting BACA 2016

The whole top floor of the museum was devoted to the career of the artist and his family — several members of which are talented in their own fields.

Before leaving Maastricht, feeling pretty MEAT AND POTATO‘d up, we picked out a highly-rated Indonesian restaurant. We were lucky to get a table without a reservation — the place filled up around us. We ordered a vegetarian Rijsttafel3. All the otherwise-meaty bits were supplanted by tofu in various forms. It was all delicious and an excellent contrast to the pervasive MEAT AND POTATO cuisine in Liège.

The next day, we got up a little earlier than otherwise, breakfasted on some supermarket findings from the day before, and had an easy drive back to Regensburg to face the onslaught again.

  1. vacation apartment []
  2. actualy, TripAdvisor []
  3. Not just rice, but also noodles! []

Bruges

nice canal setting Had a long weekend to spend with our pal Matt (known as Cool Guy Matt to some readers) and some of his pals from England, so we hopped in his car while it was still dark last Friday and drove through the morning to Bruges — also known as Brugge and Brügge. It took about eight hours and when we got there, we were exhausted. And too early to check into the house we rented. So we drove to the seaside in search of some chow and to kill a few hours before checking in with the rented house’s landlord.

our streetWe got all checked in and then set out to procure foods and drinks for the weekend — that’s when the pleasure of reading Flemish really got started. All weekend Sarah and I were reading everything we saw out loud, giggling at the not-quite-English-and-yet-not-quite-German-ness of all the words we saw and quite easily could understand. It was even better than a layover in Amsterdam — that’s usually all the exposure to Flemish / Dutch that we get and this time we got lots more than just airport words.I love Flemish Part II

Bruges is a dense little watery place that specializes in cute. We never did get around to trying any wafelen, but we had plenty of interesting beer and frites. (The rumors are true: those are some darn good fries.) At first I was quite pleased with the apparently abundant willingness of everyone local to speak English with us. Everyone from our landlord for the weekend to the barmaids and even the check-out grannies at the Carrefour switched seamlessly to English for us.canal scene Then I got a little embarrassed, thinking about how they were all at least trilingual. Then I got over that too, thinking about how the town’s livelihood probably depends on it. We overheard a lot of not-French and not-Flemish that weekend.

We got lucky with the weather in that it didn’t rain much while we were out and about exploring the town on foot. The drive back to Germany from Bruges was a non-stop downpour though. Big props to Matt for the use of his car and footing the deposit. If you’ve got a big enough party, renting a whole house for a long weekend sure can keep the cost down. If you’re going by car, bring all that stuff you think you’d need at home for the weekend, like your good knives, and extra bottles of your favorite juice, or whatever — and don’t forget to hit the markets to stock up on stuff you’d have to think long and hard about if you were traveling by plane.

Here’s the slideshow (looks pretty nice full-screen):