48 hrs in Aachen
I have two lovely nephews. One is obsessed with weather reports and architecture and the other one likes historical buildings that tell a story. I have been on holiday with them before and I always enjoy seeing new places through their eyes. A few weeks ago I went citytripping with one of them, the history lover, to the charming town of Aachen.
Aachen is one of the oldest cities of Europe, founded in Roman times and home to Charlemagne, the father of Europe. Enough history to last us for two days!
We took the train and changed in Welkenraedt, the last Belgian village, it was only fifteen minutes across the border then and we were in Aachen. So easy.
The hotel we stayed in was a pleasant surprise for both of us. Super chique! It was built in the early 1900s for the European nobility travelling to Aachen for the spa experience. Our room was as big as a living room and the hotel had a great indoor swimming pool and fitness area that we both enjoyed. My nephew loved the great choice at the breakfast buffet, especially when they came to bring him 'ein Kakao'.
The town itself is just so lovely, one little square after another, each with a fountain and statue. Lots of selfie moments. The city hall is well worth a visit and shows the rich history and historical importance of Aachen.
But it is the Dom Cathedral of course that is the main attraction. Aachen centre is not big, everywhere you walk you always seem to end up at the Dom. We visited it twice, once alone and once with a guide which was great. The high stained glass windows (some 27m!) of the choir hall and the rich golden ceilings in the chapel are overwhelming but the stories the guide told us made it all come alive. The building of the chapel started under Charlemagne 790-800 and went on for centuries. It is the oldest cathedral in Northern Europe. Here 30 German kings and 12 queens were crowned. It has become part of Unesco World Heritage since 1978.
No visit to Germany without eating a bratwurst. We found a nice place in the shadow of the cathedral, with the apt name Hanswurst. They have a whole menu full with bratwurst dishes, but we went for the simple one, on a bun. With mustard and ketchup!
Another local delicacy we tried in Aachen are the Printen. These are gingerbread like cookies with a cinnamon frosting. By the end of the day we had nibbled a whole packet between us two, they are yummy.
One more thing you must go and see when you are in Aachen is the Newspaper museum. It is from Aachen that Reuters' founding father, Paul Reuters, sent carrier pigeons with stock prices to Brussels, the first newswire. There is a great overview of news reporting from the prehistoric ages to present times all presented in an interesting and interactive way. Lots of things to listen to and buttons to push, even a space like travelling egg to sit in.... The nephew was sorry to leave but happy with a great topic to write about for the next essay at school.
Tourist office Aachen
Friedrich Wilhelm Plaz
T+49 241 180 29 60
Museum of newspapers