Monday, April 1, 2013

Traveling hither and yon, part 1

I've been on spring break the last two weeks, and what better way to spend a spring break than traveling? Unlike my fall break, when I fled to England and Wales, I spent my spring break seeing more of Germany.

First up, Aachen. Aachen is northwestish, near the borders of Belgium and the Netherlands. The Dutch influence is likely what gave the city its double-voweled beginning, but our tour guide joked that it was Aachen's attempt to show up first on any list of German cities. I rather like the idea of a name war between several cities that begin with the letter 'a' escalating until you have to stretch out the beginning to turn out on top. Aaaaaaaaaaaaachen. It's like a cross between a city and a throat checkup at the doctor's office.


Aachen has lots of underground springs. Lots of fountains, too.
This beast lives in the underground springs. Scary!

She's holding a Prinzen, a gingerbready cookie.
 Aachen is known for Prinzen, and very proud of them being unique from gingerbread. Our tour guide was unable to explain exactly how they are unique from gingerbread. He did emphasize that we should be aware of the fact, however.

City hall, with window boxes

Inside the cathedral. Mosaics are from the 19th century.
Even though Aachen is very old (it was a city of baths in the Roman period), a lot of it was destroyed in the 1500s by a fire, and also by the Thirty Years War, and also by World War II. Most of what's left is not particularly old, though the city plan is still plenty winding. It also has some impressive textile relics, including Christ's loincloth from when he hung on the cross. They might have to fight with the imperial treasury in Vienna over who has the correct loincloth, since I saw it there too.

Next up is Bavaria and the Black Forest - I'll likely have posts about those in a few days.

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