Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Het Limburg Gevoel

When I think about Limburg, I think about their homemade flans, organic beers and cycling!

But Limburg has something more to offer. The musea, castles, old and modern architectures, nature reserves and whole wide green meadows. Im sure you will also say, I like to buy a little villa and live here.

It was 2009 when we spent our vacation in Heerlen. Heerlen is the second largest municipality in Limburg. We had a nice stay in one of the Nivon houses in the country. - The Eikhold.

Having my cup of coffee served outside by my Honnepontjie.

Day 1. We had to travel by train from Utrecht to Heerlen.

It was a nice warm weather and the train was jampacked with all the racebikes and luggages.

The first two belong to us.

Reading "Knooppunten Route" is really handy. We have just learned from our latest trip how to use it. You will not be lost here in the Netherlands, if you have Knooppunten maps in your hands. But that time we still don't know about it.

Day 2. We took the Watergeleenbeek route going to Benzenkrade.

There are lot of nature reserves in the Netherlands. Sometimes you can get up close with certain animals living there. Just like this!

Tips: 't Koffiehusje located in Benzenkrade is cozy. After our walk we took a rest ordering a bottle of cold "Sjoes". It is a sort of beer popular in Limburg. It is a combination of pilsner and old brown. I say, "It's sweet! Cheers!".

Day 3. Meeting the family

This zoo is one of my favorite. I think one of the best zoo here in the Netherlands. It is not big, but it is really nice. They have variety of healthy animals from different places in the world. They have also nice programs for children.

Day 4. The Limburg's rolling hills are popular for bikers.

The Amstel Gold Race is annually held here. Because Honnepontjie is very familiar with the place, he made his own bike route. We biked +-40 kilometers. It was a challenge for a newbie like me.

Panorama - Gulpenberg

Day 5. Thermenmuseum

A well-preserved gigantic Roman Bathhouse built 2000 years ago. This is one of the most interesting museum I have ever seen. It is here in Heerlen!

Day 6. Over the border

Germany is just 30 kilometers away from Limburg. That is why most people in Limburg are fluent in german language. We decided to have one day Aachen Trip. We traveled by train to Aachen.

Tips: If you want to go to Aachen. Be sure to have the right ticket. Because we had the wrong one. You just need to have a ticket for two zones to get there.

Het Aachener Rathuis (Town Hall)

Day 8. De Pannenkoeken Molen (Pancake Mill)

+- 45 kilometers cycling from Nivon Eikhold --> Valkenburg --> Sibber Grubben --> Gulpen. We paused  30 minutes in this Pancake House. The ambiance is really good. The pancakes are delicious and you have lot of options to choose from. You can also get a tour inside. It is really fun for children.

This mill still works! In fact the flour they are using to make pancakes are freshly milled by this watermill.

Day 9. De Miljoenenlijn

We had a nostalgic experience with this beautiful steam locomotive. As a combination we stopped over at Schin op Geul Station and walked towards a nature reserve and then ended up in Keutenberg. They have a nice panorama at the top of Keutenberg. From Keutenberg we walked down the road until we have reached again the Schin op Geul Station to fetch up the last train.

Day 10. 't BRAND Gevoel

If you happen to be a beer-lover, then visiting one of the Breweries in Limburg is one of the best activities you can do. The Brand Brewery in Gulpen is my recommendation. Enjoy the guided tour inside the Brewery and later the drink-all-you-can Proof Drinking. We have got free beer glasses as memorabilia. Super!

The Brand Brewery in Gulpen. 

Tips: Visiting the brewery is per appointment. You can visit the Tourist Information in South Limburg. They are very helpful.

Day 11. A day Maastricht

Going to Maastricht from Heerlen we bought a South Limburg day card. With these cards you can travel by bus and trams all over the Parkstad Limburg.

Maastricht is one of the oldest city in the Netherlands. There are lot of things to do and see in Maastricht. The old and modern architectures, the Maastricht Square, old city walls, the river Maas, musea, old churches and parks are all worth seeing.

Father Vink Tower, Maastricht

The river Maas
Dag 12. Het Drielandenpunt (Three-Country-Point)

The tripoint between Germany, Belgium and the Netherlands was our last destination. We biked about 50 kilometers starting from Heerlen to Vaalserberg. It was a very nice experience to me. I never thought that I could reach the top. Thumbs up for a rookie biker like me.

Het Drielandenpunt, Vaalserberg
Bike Route made by Honnepontjie:

From Eikhold where we stayed --> Ubachsberg --> Simpelveld --> Bocholtz --> "Schiltjensweg going to Germany --> Orsbach, Germany --> Lemiers (again The Netherlands) --> Rijksweg/Randweg, Vaals --> then destination reached! The tripoint or so called in Dutch, - Het Drielandenpunt.

Going back home from The Tripoint/Het Drielandenpunt: --> Vaals -->  to Lemiers going to Nijswiller --> then turning right going to Simpelveld road via Bosschenhuizen --> Trintelen --> Ubachsberg ---> Finally Home - Eikhold.

We had a great experience here in Limburg. Very exciting and memorable. I have learned more about history of the Netherlands and got to know more people with great ideas. So I hope if someone is reading this and looking for a travel idea that my first blog will help.

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