January 9-21, 2006 - Mom's trip to Vero

After the caves, we checked out the nearby Fort St. Pieter, which dates back to 1702. (This is a shot from a distance, where it looked better.)

Then, we walked back into Maastricht.
To head into town, we simply walked towards the tallest church spire, thinking that was the Vrijthof (main town square).

On the way, we passed a park neslted in between an active military base and an old fort.
I saw this from about 200 yards away and asked Jill, "do you want to see the girl petting the dead giraffe?" She looked at me funny and said 'sure.'
Here it is. Painted statuary of a zoo. Asian chick petting a clearly-dead giraffe.
(Well, pot IS legal, here...)

So, I mentioned 'zoo,' not just because of the dead giraffe in the cage, but they also had other animal-statues.
Just below was an impala-thing (pictured), something like an okapi, and some other mammalia.

There were even signs, as if it were a zoo!
There was a sign for a bear, but there wasn't one in the cage.

Oh, here is the bear! He looks sad. Maybe he's high on pot, like the creators of the zoo/park/statue area.
A little research after I got home found this to be Aldenhof Park. The cage was an old bear pit, where they kept live bears. A 'charitable group' made the city give up its last bear (and donate it to a zoo) in 1993. Now, the 'pit' area contains extinct animals. The little girl is comforting a dying giraffe. There is apparently a lever near the cage which you can move to make the little girl pet the giraffe.

Continuing, there is a moat along the old fort.

Hundreds of geese, swans, and various ducks play in the water as people throw them bread.

There is a different section with funky-small-deer (like key-deer, but fatter), goats, pheasants (not pictured), roosters, sea gulls - a very odd assortment, indeed!

Out of the park, we followed the signs to the church that sounded familiar from the 15 minutes of research we'd done on Maastricht. We passed this along the way.
I found this after I got home. It is "Treasure-house Basilica of Our Lady." Rolls right of the tongue, don't it?

On the Vrijthof are the Basilica of Saint Servatius(left) and Church of Saint Janskerk (John, right).

The Vrijthof is a very large open square...

...with more marajuana-induced artwork.

The look like papier mach‚, but Jill touched one of the things/people and thought they were made of concrete.

Along the square was a cool set of restaurants. Jill was working in Germany with a Dutch girl who, when asked what the local cuisine was, answered "Italian."
When you think of it, where do you go out to eat in the U.S. - certainly not fried chicken and collards. You eat Italian... or chinese... or Mexican.

Moving on... heading towards the train station, we pass a cool street of closed shops. (It is Sunday about 5pm...)

Lots of bicycles parked by the pedestrian area...

Wow, cool skyline...
Maastricht dates back to ~50 BC[E], when the Romans wanted to build a bridge across the Maas river (pictured) to connect two of their cultural capitols - onw of which was Cologne.

Church from previous skyline-shot. Didn't get the name...

Back to the train station!

Check out all the bicycles.
We noticed the same thing when we went to Amsterdam - lots of bikes.

As I took a second picture, some guy rode up and parked. Apprapo...

On the train (infused with wine), Jill and I prepare to eat a "Wonka-sized" bar o' dark chocolate.

OK. Had to take a picture of this sign. Look at it. (now, before reading more.)
Really look at it.
See the leg on the top-left?
Is that a girl in a dress leaning forward?
You think this is a sign for the upcoming olympics?
"Screw yourself near Turin."
?? (I bet Bill Jones is the first to go to the website mentioned on the bottom of the poster!)