Now back to our regular scheduled program!!
My husband, Cole and I have taken two different day trips recently- one to Heerlen and one to Sittard. Both of this places are pretty easy to get to using the public transportation system. To Heerlen we took the train and to Sittard we took two or three different buses.
Let me take you through our trip to Heerlen, first. When we started on this day it was raining and hailing (always have a rain coat and boots). We caught the train about 30min or so away in Schinnen paid 6,20 in euros and we were on our way! It took about 20min to get to Heerlen. (Keep an eye on the red ticker tape, it will show you what stop is coming up and if you should get ready to get off). When the train got to the station in Heerlen we went to the door and you need to hit the yellow button by the door to get your train car’s doors to open. Let me repeat: HIT THE BUTTON! Otherwise, the doors won’t open and you are on the way to a different town. The doors will only open if someone hits the button.
The train station is right near the center of this city, which is supper convenient if you do not want to walk a lot. Mainly, we went out here to see where the hospital was and explore a little. Let me just say that the hospital is completely different than what we are used to back in the States. Everything is so organized with an area for everything you need-from reception to donating blood-it has everything. Also, interesting fact, it does not have the normal hospital smell and every floor has free coffee and tea. For those who would like to get you hair done while you are sick or visiting the hospital, don’t worry there is a hair salon too!
After the hospital we walked into the city center and wouldn’t you know it, it was lunch time! Before we went to lunch we stopped by this little fish store where my husband ate a dutch tradition of raw herring in onions. Gross!
We went to this little place called Brasserie Bracke for lunch. Let me just this place was wonderful! I actually got a the burger Bracke and the meat was fresh and everything on it was delicious. Cole got the smoked salmon salad and he loved that as well. The beer was of course fantastic. Quick note: a cafe is the smallest food establishment being closer to a bar with very few tables, a brasserie is a mix between a cafe and a full restaurant, and a restaurant is the largest category of food establishments with the main focus on the meal itself over the drinks.
With full stomachs we decided to do a little shopping at the store called Hema to see what that was all about. We found out that it is very similar to Target. They have a little cafe attached to the store itself. There is also a mall right next to Hema and it has everything you could need from a cheese store, a grocery store, a clothing store, a chocolate store, a electronics store, and more. After some much needed shopping we just walked around the town and came across two interesting things: one, the public restrooms are not in the stores, they are on walking paths and you have to pay to use them (usually around 10 cents) and they are usually unisex. Two, this beautiful church that is free to visit and walk through.
The church is a Roman Catholic church called Pancratiuskerk. You can still see holes in the walls of the church from WWII. They also have some beautiful pieces of artwork and stain glass throughout. The church is named after St. Pancratius, whose statue is in the front of the church.
After the church we walked about 10 minutes back to the station and we were homeward bond.
A few days later we decided to venture out to one of the larger cities in Limburg, Sittard. This city was a lot bigger than what we expected it to be, but well worth it. We had no real plans of what to do in Sittard but we are also okay with a little adventure.
To start this day we walked about 10 min to the nearest bus station to catch our first bus and rode on that one for about 15 min to another bus stop to catch our second bus for a 30 min ride to Sittard, so in total about 45 minutes on the bus to get there. Once we got there we just started walking the streets to see what was going on in town. There are some cute little shops throughout the city that are worth a little browsing around. We didn’t explore as much here as we did in Heerlen because it was very cold and the city was huge.
The first place we went was the restaurant called, Down Under. It is an Australian place (kinda what Outback Steakhouse strives to be like), they do have English menus, you just have to ask, we both had sandwiches for lunch there which were great. We decided that we didn’t want to try kangaroo or anything crazy this go round, even though they offer it for dinner.
There was a large market going on in the market square which we went to check out. They had all kinds of fresh fruits and vegetables that smelled so good. I am so glad that we ate before walking around here otherwise we probably would have bought everything. Learning time: Markets out here rotate towns. So one day the market will be in Sittard, the next in Heerlen and then in Brunssum. Every town has it’s designated day of the week. I believe we were in Sittard on a Saturday- market day in Sittard is Saturday.
After the market we walked around the city, looking into shops and enjoying the Christmas decor all around. Then right before we left we had to stop at a little bakery stand to get waffles- another Dutch tradition. This is a must try! They have all different types; plain, chocolate, with sprinkles, strawberry, etc.
Sittard is a beautiful city that if you want a good shopping day this is where you will want to be.
I am planning to go back to both of these places soon. So, I will keep you posted!
If you know of anywhere that I should definitely scope out and try in these cities. Let me know below!
Let’s keep traveling together!
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