Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Aachen - Germany

Aachen – Germany, pronounced `aa ken’.

Why? Close to Cologne. Cologne on the Eurostar/DB/Thalys network. Just 4 hours from London.

What is in Aachen? This is the birthplace of Charlemagne. The city where all future kings of Germany were crowned. Where the Aachen Cathedral is. The Aachen Cathedral is the very first UNESCO World Heritage Centers.

How did we get there? By train. A short 90 odd minute ride from London St Pancras to Brussels Midi. A quick sandwich at the Station and onto a Thalys [Belgian Rail] train and a short 1 hour 8 minute ride and you are in Aachen. Total travel time some 3 ½ hours. You are across the English Channel, across Belgium and into Germany. On a busy day you can do Colaba Borivali in as much time. So do not ask any further questions.

Aachen was lovely. A nice town with the absolutely beautiful Cathedral, charming streets and the imposing Rathaus. The town was clean and quite affluent. The Christmas Market is supposed to be spectacular, but we were there in spring!!

Aachen also has a Lindt & Sprungli Chocolate factory. While you cannot visit the factory without permissions, the factory has an outlet shop attached. This is huge, I mean huge, You get all manner of Lindt & Sprungli Chocolates at fairly discounted prices. This is generally fresh or soon to expire stock. The stock that is to expire very soon [1 month] is hugely discounted. We went and bought our share of chocolate. What was most eerie was the continuous rustle of cellophane bags as people touched them!

It is a relatively small town with a smaller city centre, but the place is vibrant. Lots of tourists visit because the town also has natural hot water springs. The Europeans are big into bathing in hot springs.

A couple of days are more than enough for Aachen. Not more. You can easily get onto a train and go to Dusseldorf or Cologne or Bonn from Aachen.

Most pleasant. A decent break.

Lots of very nice photos. Have a look.

Brass plaques on the road showing the route to varous sights identified with Charlemagne

Main square 

The front of the Rathaus

The Rathaus

Inside the Rathaus

Now for a few statues and fountains.

Printen. A local speciality. Here is a shop window done up for Easter

A very modern Church the Church of St Follian

And now the magnificent Cathedral.

The huge Lindt & Sprungli store

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