I’d like to announce that the week of no whining has commenced (with a nod to little Lily via Claire on “Modern Family” for today’s title)! Yep, happy Monday to you, too! What, might you ask, has provoked such an unheard-of week??!! The weather, of course. The whole week, with not even one single little tiny moment below freezing! No hat on today’s adventure out and about, and I was a-ok. I’m not quite breaking out the sundresses, but I’d be lying if I didn’t say that the thought of flip flops hasn’t crossed my mind…
Before I get overly carried away with all of that, however, I wanted to share with you the rest of our adventure “to the north.” (hehe… I think that is more than a little ironic… me, talking about traveling roughly around 2 hours to go to the north; I also am not really sure that I think of Cologne, Düsseldorf, Bonn, or Aachen as really being “north,” but when we decided to head out to northern Germany, we ended up there. We will, however, be making the rounds of what is truly northern Germany at some point, but the weather in this pseudo-northern part of Germany was so inclimate that we were a bit hankered to begin with!)
We left Köln on Saturday morning (after enjoying a really delicious breakfast at our hotel) and headed first to Düsseldorf. I’d looked up the main things to see in each of the towns we’d planned to visit before we left, so we had a brief list of places to see in town. They were mostly pedestrian shopping area, so I guess we got what we were looking for! Based on my very limited impression, it looks like the primary occupation of Düsseldorfians is shopping! Rock on, my friends, rock on… However, we were not on a shopping mission, so… after a little while, it was off to Bonn for us!
We took the train from Düsseldorf to Bonn. Around halfway there, our train ended its route. Everyone on the train was *urged* to exit the train. In our case, this task of *urging* was undertaken by a gang of 10-12 year old boys who felt that screaming at everyone was the most effective means of communication. We didn’t get it. I’ll be honest. We sat on the train with a small amount of confusion for a little while (while being screamed at in German with words we didn’t know), but I am also proud to say that we were definitely not the last ones off the train, either. I’m not sure if the train schedule had recently changed, or if there are some trains along that path between the two cities at that time of day that complete the journey without interruption, but there were a lot of people who were very upset standing on the platform in the middle of nowhere. I’ve started listening to what other people are saying a lot more than I used to, and let’s just say that that 45 minutes was filled with many, many “Scheiße” utterances (although not quite as many as during the soccer game that we watched in the pub yesterday afternoon).
After losing feeling in my fingers, toes, and nose (a little whine from the past, I acknowledge), we were finally back on the train to Bonn. I was really, really sorry for the delay (and not just because of the cold) when we got there because it was already starting to get a little dusky, so we weren’t able to do everything that I wanted to do (a little more past-tense whining). Bonn was a lovely town, however, and we could easily discern the lingering influence of the French occupation of the area. As the former capital of West Germany and for nine years, the capital of the re-united German, Bonn has served (and continues to serve) as a key city in the governing and business of the country. In order to honor that (even though it isn’t the capital anymore), it is known as the Bundesstadt of Deutscheland (aka, federal city of Germany). Its known history dates back to the 11th century BC as a settlement area, and the fort that was built there by the Roman Army is, to date, the largest remaining fort of its kind (via Wikipedia). Bonn was also not devastated (architecturally) during the War, so it has a real old-time feel to it.
On Sunday morning, we got up (a little extra early because of the el-crapola weather) and drove up to Aachen.We’d actually been to Aachen once before, on an ill-fated trip to find the Dreilandespunt (the intersection of Belgium, the Netherlands, and Deutschland. Needless to say, the previous attempt failed, and we’d since learned that there is not only a Starbucks in Aachen, but that they had their own mugs. So… a hunting we did go. This time, we found both the Dreilandespunt and the Starbucks with nearly no ado! And as it turns out, Aachen is a really cool town with a really cool history! Aachen, the most western town in Germany, was originally and primarily a spa town, and then became the favorite place for Charlemagne to live (and I’m guessing it would be fair to say that he could have been kind of choosy). Aachen (and its Cathedral) was also the location of the coronation of the Kings of Germany after Charlemagne. They kind of fell out of power for a while up there in Aachen, and there wasn’t much news coming from them. However, in WWII, Aachen was the first German town to be captured by the Allies (and according to Wikipedia, Aachenites welcomed their liberators), and the story gets better from there. The Allies appointed a mayor, who was then assassinated by SS troops (a squad that included at least two women!) after parachuting into nearby Belgium from a plane that they’d captured (it was one of the men who supposedly pulled the trigger, however). Now, Aachen leads a little less dramatic existence, being known primarily for their science, engineering, and scholarly endeavors.
Ciao, y’all! Hope you all had a great weekend!