Each time I had to go somewhere I couldn’t sleep. I was waking up in the middle of the night and with my heart in the throat, crazy beating, I was counting the minutes, hours left to wait. Imagine a small girl, with the hair not too long nor too short, sitting at the open window in the train with half of the head outside. The wind was blowing so hard that the hair was dancing all around. I remember the nice feeling I had each time I was in a train when I was a kid, the noise the wheels are making on the tracks or the powerful whistle to announce entering or leaving a station. Even when I was in my 20’s I was having the same small heart and a bit of happiness in the train, going to visit my family or traveling around Romania. And each time I think about making a long distance trip with the train I imagine those memories, I see myself small and trembling with an eager heart to hear and smell the trip.
I was the same on Friday on the way to the train station. After the train left Haarlem I remembered that in Netherlands the train is more silent than an expensive car – there’s no wheels sound or whistle. But, at least, I was at the window trying to see something outside in the dark slowly installing in the country. It was around 8 in the evening when we arrived in Maastricht. It was already like in the middle of the night, poor lights on the streets and almost nobody on them. I can’t stop feeling how deserted the cities seem to be in Netherlands compared with Romania, where only in the late night hours you can be lonely in the city. The hotel we booked was at almost 2 km from the station so we walked towards it “following” Wilhelmina (I suppose the street and the bridge were named after the princess). On the bridge we had to stop, the old city was in front of our eyes with dim lights reflecting into the Meuse River. The first feeling was that I was going to like the city and, as usually, my first impression hadn’t failed me. During the evening we headed out to eat and drink something. Since it was still warm, almost all the pubs had the terraces outside with glowing heaters, especially the ones in Vrijthof. Unfortunately, we couldn’t visit the square because it was occupied by the wooden houses left from Christmas. Early in the morning we had a walk through the old city center, it was almost empty, and we could wander around on the streets with no problems. New architecture combined with old imposing churches, historical leftovers from a town wall – at each corner you will be surprised by all of them. We left Maastricht with the desire to return and so we did on Sunday, when we walked down the river while the sun was setting down; getting ready for a new year, for new challenges and changes.