The inside was quaint and stocked with everything we needed for a comfortable stay. Jenna was impressed at my room booking skillz. We got down to business and picked up Jenna's bike:
A modern cargo/city bike. Front rack, front and rear disc brakes, 3 gears, smaller wheels for heavier carrying loads, a very very sturdy bike. Mayzie likes to ride on the front rack (don't worry, Jenna wont let me ride with her on the front like that haha):
I rented the Bakfiets, so that we can all go out on a bike ride:
The weather was kinda crappy, but we got some good rides in. All on seperated bike lanes, either elevated on a curb away from traffic, or on bike lanes far away from cars. There are bike signals to cross every road, great signage, and lane markings, and curteous and happy bikers. It really is a pleasure to experience, and makes me wonder why it cant be like this everywhere. One ride we made it out to the countryside, and found ourselves in Belgium! Very cool, I had never crossed an international border on a bike before. The rain and wind shortened our plans for riding, but we did pretty good. Oskar was the biggest concern. His nose would get all foamy and his eyes would water up--he is clearly uncomfortable outside of his soft, warm doggy bed. What a wimp.
One funny thing happened. I had taken Mayzie and Oskar out on the bakfiets to a small park near our apartment. I didnt see any signs (we are not in Germany!) about dogs so I let Oskar of the leash. We played for around 30 minutes, throwing the frisbee and running around. In the distance I saw an old man approaching. As I realized he was walking right to me, I thought for sure he was going to ream me for having the dog off the leash. My german defenses were on. He walked right up to me, smiled and handed me some soccer cards for Mayzie. Oh man, this is Holland!
Ate some good food, and enjoyed some quality Belgian beers in a cafe overlooking the main square. The town is magical, day and night, and I am very glad we "discovered" it. We shall return for more biking in the summer time, now that we know about a great place to stay.
I am trying to forget about it, but our journey home was a nightmare. We had 3 bags to carry, a bike, a 3 year old and a dog. 5 trains in 8 hours (delays and waiting times included) with just me and Jenna would have been an irritable mess. But having a tired kid and a dog who is not comfortable and a large, heavy bike to lug around and we nearly lost it. We left Maastricht at 3pm and arrived to Ludwigsburg at 11pm. At one point, the lady at the train station said that we would have to wait 1 day because we did not have a reservation for the bike. What? No way. We got on the train, there was PLENTY of room for the bike, and the conductor didnt give us a hard time at all for not having a reservation. Sometimes there are just too many rules. Friday night in the middle of winter is not a popular time for bikes on trains. So that was stressful. Knowing which carriage that the bike is able to be put on is a huge stress...every train was different and they only stop for a couple minutes, so you really have to know where the bike should go before it arrives so that you can stand in the right place. We managed, but damn. A huge struggle and one in which is a good example of when traveling is a huge pain in the ass. "Its not about the destination, its about the journey." BS! Even Mayzie was pissed...
I must say something about Mayzie. We are blown away with her patience and perseverance and her ability to adapt and change as we are doing all this crap. Unbelievable. We are lucky parents. Many kids would have FREAKED.