The huge cathedrals, amazing museums and the burial place of Charlemagne
To getting to Aachen
we took the Wupper express. It is roughly 1.5 hours and reminds me of the GO transit system in Toronto. The commuter train, double decker, make a few stops along the way and no reserved seating. For the two people( under 6 is free) cost 33 euro as long as we returned same day and the ticket was valid from 9 am – 3 am. Along the way, we found out that there is a Lindt factory outlet in Aachen, but not near the city centre. It was around this time that I ran out of data on my phone. I quickly texted my carrier for more internet and googled the location, as well as the train stop. FYI, its called “Aachen west”. Go down a few streets, maybe 10 minutes at my walking pace and there it is – huge parking lot as well. As we were walking in, we saw people walking out with large boxes overflowing with chocolate, and some filled shopping carts full. We didn’t have that kind of money or transportation abilities so we had to hold ourselves back. When we walked in, it was a giant warehouse with rows on rows of chocolate discounts. We bought 12 pieces, and it only came to 24 euro. Not bad for Europe, but that stills $35 Canadian for 12 pieces of chocolate, roughly the same price as Walmart on sale – though I hear the quality is much better.
Exploring the city
We made our way to the Roman bath and site of the double-decker bus tour. The Roman baths were amazing, and warmer than I thought. I say inside the building, but under the roofed part of the baths, there were two fountains on the wall, signs in German and English said not to drink it; they were serious. The water is straight from the natural hot spring under the city and contained sulfur. On one side of the building was a large walkway with benches and a line of water jets coming from the ground; this was proper city water and made to be played in. On the other side of the building, the bathes were all lines up along the building walls and people were just sitting there on their lunch break. When the kids started to arrive, they played in the mid-calf high water; a mix of natural spring and treated town water so it was safe to play, nice and not freezing cold, but most of all, it was authentic. Most of the adults left once kids starting jumping in, our munchkin had a great time walking up and down the individual baths. At the far end of the line, we found a man strip off his shirt and wash himself in the bath; definitely not in Canada anymore.
We walked a little further up the hill and found our first Gothic church, followed by the Charlemagne museum and the Dom. The museum does not allow photography, strollers or bags to be brought into the viewing area; there is a coat room with lockers for personal effects and the security guard at the top of the stairs watches the stroller for you. There is also an option for self-guided tours; for a small fee, patrons borrow a handset with a keypad. Each exhibit had a three-digit number next to the name plate. Select your language, dial the exhibit number and listen away. Since munchkin had to walk, and we planned on having him sleep throughout the quiet, air conditioned, museum, he was sleepy and therefore cranky. We held him and he held the handset, or “his phone” as he referred to it.
The Dom was the same way; there was an aw-inspiring set of stairs to get to the main level, then another two flights to get to the actual exhibit. We decided to separate this time, hubby walked around the square, admiring the sites and took photos, I toured the Dom. When I was done, I waited at the bottom of the stairs until he got back, then he got to tour the Dom. Munchkin was fast asleep by the time it was my turn, so I shopped.
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