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Saturday, June 27, 2015

Masstricht - I Never Heard Of Her And Had To Learn How To Spell It.

I took a guided tour with Lulu and some of her library buddies this afternoon.

Maastricht is a very old city in the Netherlands along the Meuse River. The Meuse is a 500 mile long river flowing north from France to the North Sea. It is fully navigable from end to end. The Romans selected this place to build a bridge across the river because it was shallowest here - that is what the name means. On the way to England - the Roman highway crossed through Gaul here - so the city was inhabited before the birth of Christ. Today it has 120,000 people. 

Maastricht is surrounded by Germany and Belgium. When they okayed the use of marijuana here it quickly became a haven for college kids as a place to buy and smoke dope. The current mayor passed laws saying only locals can smoke dope here. Believe or not - this mayor's term runs out today - his successor claims he will change the rules. Tourists and residents can buy and smoke marijuana in Amsterdam. Of course the local conservatives are hoping this town does not turn into "another Amsterdam." I say - that is not a bad fate. 

The Meuse River reminds one of the Seine.  You can sail the entire 500 mile length to the North Sea or you can take a canal off of it to Antwerp - Belgium. 

My residence for 7 days - The Crown Plaza Hotel. Just to the right of it is a nice plaza  - the theatre - the library - and a fantastic grocery. This is on the east bank of the Meuse River.

The is the first Tesla Roadster I have seen on the street.
The Tesla Roadster is the first electric car Elon Musk built in 2008. It looks a lot like a Lotus Elan because he bought the bodies from Lotus. It has a motor about the size of two bowling balls - that produces 300 horsepower. That makes this lightweight bandit go 0 to 60 MPH in 3.7 seconds! It was the first production electric car to go 300 miles on a charge. It has lithium batteries and gets the equivalent of 120 MPG!
The Romans settled this town and built this Roman Cathedral
The city was walled in several times as it got bigger and bigger. This was Hell's Gate. If you were banished from the city - you were pushed out of this gate. I guess they said - "go to hell."
Maastricht always was an industrial city. They channeled the river water thru these mill runs to power the factories. 

I am writing this at 7:20 PM here - 1:20 PM your time. I did not sleep on the plane  coming over Thursday night. I got up at a normal time this morning at 6 AM. I do not feel tired and will go to bed at a regular time - say 10 PM. Lulu is out already at meetings and dinner. She loves this organization - and is the USA board member. Somehow I feel there is more in her future with the IASL - International Association of School Librarians.

Maastricht is a cultural mecca. It has 1677 registered historical sites. Its most recent claim to fame is the 1992 Maastricht Treaty signed here. This created the European Union and the Euro currency. Today 1 Euro is worth $1.10. Of course when Lulu is shopping she just thinks one euro is one dollar.

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