Sunday, June 13, 2010

A Day Tour of Aachen

So after such a long day yesterday we slept in. We didn't think they would still be serving breakfast, so we walked down to a bakery that we saw on our detour yesterday. Lucky us, the hotel was still serving breakfast because the lady at the bakery only gave us one apple streussel. So Leslie and I got to taste it, but it was definitely not enough to keep us going all day. It was pretty good too! We finished our breakfast at the hotel and then off to take a tour of Aachen...
Today I feel like we really got to know a little about history and the German culture. Mike (from the local Hanesbrands office) met us at the hotel to take us for a tour of Aachen...complete with all the 'once upon a time' stories they learn in school. Cologne was fun, but learning the old stories definitely made me like Aachen a little more. It's a smaller town, but has so much character. I definitely can't share all the pics...but here are a few of our day. The pics really don't do the city justice...

This is the main shopping street...which we plan to visit this week. Given taht it was Sunday, most of the shops are closed. We learned today that they are normally closed on Sundays, except for 4-5 times a year. Then they open with limited hours.

I hope I'm telling these stories right...bare with me. This area was known for the warm springs/spas that came from the earth...Aachen is built on/over old volcanic area. Any way you leave Aachen you must go uphill. Anyways, they believe the warm water comes out of the earth is from the volcano. They believe this water is very healthy and some people drink it. However, it smells very bad...a strong sulfur smell. I thought the water would be luke warm, but it was very hot. Almost too hot to keep your hand under for very long. Mike said they all had to taste the water when they were young in school...we passed.

Entering a popular area of downtown. It's so quaint with the little shops.

The cathedral (dom) of Aachen. Not nearly as large as the one in Cologne, but I think it was much prettier inside. Emperor Karl wanted the cathedral built, but was had to leave due to a war. He left it to the people of the town to finish the cathedral before he would return. However, the money was no more. The town people did not know how to raise the money, but they knew Emperor Karl would be very upset if it wasn't built. On guy had an idea to get the money from the devil. The devil heard and came at once. He agreed to give all the money they needed for one thing. He wanted the soul of the first person to enter the cathedral. Emperor Karl returned and wanted to be the first person in the cathedral, but that could not happen. The devil was inside waiting for the first soul, when the towns people sent a wolf in from the forest. When the devil saw the wolf come in, he was furious and left the cathedral slamming the door. Til this day there are dents/curves in the door from when he slammed the door and his finger was stuck in the door.

Here we are trying to feel the devil's finger in the door. I felt it! I touched the devil's finger! There's more to the story. So when he left the cathedral he said he would return. He had two large bags of sand he was going to drop on Aachen so it would be no longer. He met a woman on the way and he stopped to ask how far it was to Aachen. The lady was a market woman and walked to Aachen every day to work in teh market. Her shoes were very worn from the walk. When the devil asked how much further it was (for the large bags of sand were very heavy), she knew what he was after and told him that he could tell from her shoes. For they were new when she left Aachen and the walk was so long it her shoes were already in bad shape. He was so angry that he threw the bags of sand down, creating two hills just outside Aachen.

This is the center of town. As you can see the large TV, they are setting up for a public viewing of the Germany soccer game tonight.

Aachen city hall.

We looked so cool with our headphones and electonic tour guide in the city hall. Here's Leslie at the end of our tour.

Leslie, Mike and I up at the top of one of the sand hills. It was a VERY steap and long walk up, but definitely worth the view of the city. They have a tower on the top of the hill with a restaurant that spins so they can see all around.

Here's satan with the woman. Notice that satan has one human foot and one horse's hoof. When we asked why, Mike told us because German's always have to add something to the story...I guess the horse's hoof made him seem scarier to them. Crazy Germans!

Since we woke up so late, we opted to skip lunch and get ice cream instead. Great plan! And won't be able to eat ice cream for your lunch in the future. Only mommy can!

And one last picture for you Justin....a police car i caught last minute. We had to jump back on the street when it was coming. If they see you crossing the road when you aren't supposed to, they will stop and give you a ticket. And I thought cops in the US were mean!! But atleast they drive VWs here!

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