The old Dominican church in Maastricht was being used for bicycle storage not long ago, but thanks to a radical refurbishment by Dutch architects Merkx + Girod it has been turned into what could possibly be the most beautiful bookshop of all time (http://www.theguardian.com/books/2008/jan/11/bestukbookshops)It was the first time I questioned why a bookworm who loves to travel hadn't - intentionally -visited any places featured in books, or focused on books. The article inspired me to say I could, and would! I made a bookish bucket list, populated with things to do and places to visit.
Six years passed by, and aside from a local book festival, my inspired list stayed nothing more than a list. Without my passion and immersion, the words on my list were impotent. So earlier this month, when I visited my family in The Netherlands, I logged on to my sister's computer, searched Google Maps and... nearly had heart failure! The bookshop in Maastricht was listed as 'permenantly closed'. Whaaaaaaaaat!!! Sure I'd procrastinated, but I was ready now!
A call clarified everything, sadly Selexyz bookshops ceased trading, but thankfully booklovers everywhere rallied and raised 200% of the funds sought to keep this particular shop trading. With no time to waste, we (moi and a bemused friend - "An urgent trip to a must-see bookshop?" Really?) hotfooted it to the bus-stop and dashed across Tilburg train station for the next train to Maastricht.
I can give you all the thumbs up on the fab state of public transportation in The Netherlands - I thought my sister's car would be a great test subject for my theory that driving on the right side of the road might come naturally to me, but she disagreed. So I discovered superfast wifi at the stations and on the trains too - apparently I'm easily pleased, but it really is fabulous, and I know I'm not the only social media buff to find this congenial.
Once in Maastricht we power-walked ignoring anything and everything unrelated to our finding the bookshop - some sort of monument in the middle of the road, who cares what it's about? Several interesting church spires, just how many ancient churches are in Maastricht? Who cares? Independent chocolatiers, patisseries, traditional restaurants, and all sorts passed until we finally walked into the most fabulous bookshop :).
My photos haven't done the Dominicanen Boekhandel justice; for fabulous images of the bookshop visit this Flickr list. Highly recommended by me, but what do you think? Will you be putting this bookshop on your list of places to visit? Or have you been to a fabulous bookstore you think should be on my bucket list? Let me know :)