Aching all over in Aachen


Today my appointment finds me in Aachen, one of the high-tech centers of Germany (RWTH Aachen University is a prominent technology research institution). University life spills over into its economy and spurs cultural diversity. Like several other European cities, Aachen has been through medieval ups and downs, survived a great fire, suffered through severe WWII bombings, and now reclaims its place in history primarily because Charlemagne held court there from around 792 to his death in 814. His remains are kept in the Karlsschrein of the magnificent Aachen Cathedral, where 30 kings and 12 queens have been crowned.


The interior of the church is as ornate as it gets. Mosaic ceilings dimly lit by daylight passing through fantastic stained glass windows are just a few sights to behold.  The windows were shattered during WWII and replaced in 1951.  It’s virtually impossible to take any clear pictures, especially on such a cloudy day like today.  The next pilgrimage will be held here in 2014.


But I do manage to capture a video of a private ceremony taking place inside one of the smaller chapels. What you hear is the mystical sound of a pan flute:



Today happens to be one of the coldest days of my life. I’m wrapped up in a long fur lined coat, scarf, gloves, fur earmuffs, two layers of clothes underneath, and shearling boots, yet after thirty minutes of walking around I lose all sensation in my fingers and toes. My hands are shaking so badly none of my pictures turn out clearly. But here are a few exterior shots of the cathedral:


See these gargoyles looming above me?


Two moss encrusted ones are displayed like bookends on the church grounds: 


I only have time to also quickly tour the town hall or Rathaus…


where for 2 euros you can view the enormous Coronation Hall where the replicas of the crown jewels are displayed:


Most of the rooms on the ground floor are closed but I do get to peep inside this white room filled with paintings of dignitaries dating from the 1700s or earlier:


I manage to catch a few parting shots as I head back to the car. It’s starting to sprinkle and even my eyeballs are feeling the freeze…I’m aching all over in Aachen.


Let’s hope where I turn up next won’t be quite so bitterly cold. I only have one guess for you:  I won’t be in Germany any more. auf Wiedersehen!

1 Comment

  1. Anonymous

    Aww, it doesn’t look so cold. It just looks beautiful! It’s so exciting to be able to see your daily blog like this! Can’t wait to see where you go next!

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