Getting around without getting lost

It’s been about a month since I left my home in Texas to study abroad in Maastricht. Through this program, I’ve had the chance to visit some amazing countries and meet a lot of interesting people. However, I realized that I never took the time to explore Maastricht. In fact, the only places I can get to without getting lost is the Albert Heijn that’s located next to the guesthouse, the CES building and Vrijthof Square. But why is that? You would think that after being in a city for a month, I’d be a pro at getting around, right? Read more

Living abroad

It’s been three weeks since I’ve landed in Maastricht, and I’m still having trouble coming to reality.

Am I really here? This is actually Europe. I’m in Europe! Read more

Adaptive topography and the small-city effect

(Self-imposed challenge of the day: pick a title so ridiculously pretentious that the colleague in charge of SEO-ing the blog will sigh audibly in frustration. Achieved, I’d say.)

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maastricht traffic: walk where you are not supposed to

Some time ago someone pointed a peculiar fact of Maastricht out to me. People in Maastricht think they are allowed to walk everywhere and expect not to get hurt by someone who or something which actually drives where they should. I never really noticed it, but I guess this is due to the fact that I was born not far from Maastricht. I grew up with the fact that drivers take people who walk in the middle of the street into account.

However, I started thinking about the phenomenon. It doesn’t make sense at all. We invented sidewalks so people could walk beside the road in order to keep them safe and get a more efficient traffic flow (this would at least be the most rational explanation behind the use of a sidewalk). In Maastricht, this is an epic fail. Just go to the Vrijthof and it will take about 5 second to see someone crossing the road without a notion of driving things which can actually hurt them a lot. It is so normal that people who drive cars or busses here watch their speed more. It is like they expect someone to pop up for their vehicle for no apparent reason.

I noticed that I’m doing this as well and I’m not planning on giving up my freedom to walk in inappropriate places. It doesn’t make sense, but it is part of the wonderful down to earth lifestyle in Maastricht.  Don’t go doing this in cities other than Maastricht, because you’ll have a pretty high chance on getting an early ticket to the afterlife.