Before leaving, we stopped by the visitors center, where a young Dutchman was on hand to answer our questions. I wanted to know who leaves bouquets. The Dutch do mostly, he said. They have adopted individual graves, and, more than 50 years after the war, they continue to bring flowers as a way of saying thanks.
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Guidebook: Mastering Maastricht
* Getting there: KLM has nonstop service from Los Angeles to Amsterdam. Connecting service (one plane change) is available on Continental, United, Delta, Northwest, Lufthansa and US Airways. Restricted round-trip fares begin at $907. KLM flies from Amsterdam to Maastricht; round-trip fare starts at $82.
* Where to stay: Hotel Bergere, Stationstraat 40, 6221 BR, Maastricht; tele-phone 011-31-43-328-2525, fax 011-31-43-328-2526, Internet http://www.bergere.nl. Doubles $90 to $118.
Chateau St. Gerlach, 6301 KK Bad Valkenburg; tel. 011-31-43-608-8888, fax 011-31-43-604-2883, http://www.stgerlach.com. Doubles $180 to $278.
* Where to eat: Fines Claires, Corversplein 9, 6221 EZ; local tel. 43-325-2525. Contemporary.
Three-course menu, $36; six-course, $56.
Les Trois Corbeaux, Chateau St. Gerlach (see above). Three-course dinner, $58.
Restaurant Chateau Neercanne, Cannerweg 800, 6213 ND, Maastricht; tel. 43-325-1359. Dinner in this former castle is $50 to $65.
* For more information: VVV Tourist Office, Het Dinghuis, Kleine Straat 1, 6211 ED Maastricht. Tel./fax 011-31-43-325-2121; http://www.visitmaastricht.nl. VVV hotel reservations: tel. 011-31-43-321-7878.