Whoever says South Limburg, says 'holiday feeling in your own country'. The landscape, the rolling hills, it is as if Limburg shakes off a rigid straitjacket and gives you a feeling of freedom in return. Here you imagine yourself far away from the daily worries.
Our first stop is Maastricht. We skip the Vrijthof for a moment, and opt for the secluded and charming Onze Lieve Vrouweplein. Coffee and flan, of course! The waitresses and waiters are in the mood for it today, they deftly sway past the tables. We enjoy the people around us, some tourists but mostly 'locals' who give us a glimpse into their lives in Maastricht.
After coffee, we walk through a part of Maastricht that is unknown to us, around the Helpoort. What a lovely place to be. At the Graanmarkt, our curiosity is aroused by a table in the middle of the road, with a collection of amazing flower vases on it. We have never seen such beautiful and unusual vases. We walk into the shop that belongs to it. It just so happens that this is the oldest flower shop in the Netherlands; Frissen Pieters.
We get talking to the owner, who asks us if we are in Maastricht for the weekend. When she hears that we're not staying in Maastricht but in Bunde, she advises us to pay a visit to Aon 't Bat. There, on the banks of the river Maas, you can enjoy the view of Belgium and a delicious glass of wine, lunch or ice cream. How nice is that! Walking into a shop and walking out with a nice tip and some beautiful vases. We take a quick look at the tourist information office for some great cycling and walking routes for the coming days, and then leave Maastricht.
Of course, we want to experience for ourselves whether it is really worth it, so off we go to Aon 't Bat. She was right! What a nice place. You get a warm welcome from the staff and the view is indeed very nice.
After our lunch, we drive around the hills of Limburg and look around the corner at Brut 172 in Reijmerstok. It is the new restaurant of Hans van Wolde, who previously owned Beluga in Maastricht. The construction of Brut 172 could be followed last year on the TV programme 'Dreaming under Great Pressure'. Unfortunately, it has not (nearly) opened yet, but if you like a culinary experience, this is the place to be. As they say themselves: "Here a dish is a compelling story, forgotten memories come back to life and 'delicious' takes on a new meaning. Brut is life, but then even more beautiful. Brut is back to the source. Real, honest, primal. An exceptional experience, 172 metres above sea level.
Then on to Villa Verde In Bunde, where the owner Michael is already waiting for us. Villa Verde has two lovely holiday homes on the edge of Maastricht, Meerssen & Valkenburg. Here you can enjoy the peace, nature and the green Bunderbos. As far as we are concerned, this is a piece of France in the Netherlands where green is central. There is plenty of room to live and cook outside. A Big Green Egg and a wood-fired pizza oven are available on request. They are also happy to light the hot tub for you.
In addition to your own private terrace at the holiday home, there is a communal playing field/meadow with a large football goal and a hammock, among other things. The chickens on the property provide delicious fresh eggs and there are also 2 cats walking around. As far as we are concerned, this is the place to be for a few days of relaxed enjoyment! Michael takes care of the pizza dough this evening. All we have to do is cover the pizza base and slide it into the preheated pizza oven. Delicious!
The next morning, we get up with croissants and chocolate rolls from our own oven. Get them half-baked from Michael's freezer the night before, let them rise overnight and you really do have the most delicious rolls for breakfast.
We pick up our rented e-bikes at the Shimano Experience Center in Valkenburg and are ready to explore the Limburg landscape in a relaxed manner. It soon transpires that an e-bike has been a top idea. Without any effort, we climb the first hills and at the top we enjoy the beautiful views with enough breath. We cycle a round trip of 45 km with ease and if you are in the neighbourhood of Maastricht, be sure to stop at Smores. Here, they sell scoop ice cream made exclusively from natural ingredients and without colouring or flavouring. In the evening, we enjoy a delicious piece of meat from the Big Green Egg, a nice bottle of wine and the view from our holiday home. It's like being on holiday.
The next day we get on our bikes again. Today we discover a few hidden pearls with the help of Villa Verde's tips. In the centre of Maastricht we enjoy a cup of perfect coffee with home-made cake. Where? At Alley Cat Coffee, this is a bicycle shop and coffee bar. You can find this coffee bar in a side street of the Grote Markt on the Hoenderstraat. It is a big shop with love for bikes and good coffee. You can even park your own bike inside!
We have lunch at a really nice secret place in Maastricht. At Marres Kitchen you can enjoy various authentic Mediterranean dishes both during the day and in the evening. Weather permitting, you can eat in the green city garden. A peaceful spot in the middle of the busy heart of Maastricht. Not hungry? You are also welcome for a cup of coffee or a pot of tea.
We get our evening meal at Madame Henriette in Meerssen. Quite difficult to choose from the various homemade fresh meals, tapas, quiches, desserts, fresh meats and cheeses, carefully selected wines, olive oils, aceto balsamico, pastas, Mediterranean chips and much more.
Before we go home, we absolutely want to do one more walk, so from Villa Verde we walk into the Bunderbos. This splendid walk largely leads through this steepest slope forest of the Netherlands. Your calves will know it! But who cares, the forest is bursting with bubbling springs and streams (waterproof shoes recommended), a mighty spectacle.
Once back at Villa Verde we look back on a couple of wonderful days, we enjoyed it. If you feel like: sleeping in a dream bed - enjoying nature - living outside - attention to food and drink - cycling through the hills of Limburg - a holiday feeling - the tastiest chocolate rolls - a warm welcome ... then definitely check out this page Because at Michael and Danielle of Villa Verde and in South Limburg you are at the right place!