Posts Tagged ‘Aachen’

Aachen und Darmstadt

January 16, 2016

Saturday 16 January 2016

I flew to Frankfurt Wednesday, arrived Thursday. It was late afternoon by the time the train arrived in Aachen. I don’t sleep well on airplanes, I have a cold, and I had no enthusiasm for going out in the cold and dark. Friday, I went in to the offices here. Come evening, I was still dead tired, and the weather was still unattractive, but I really ought to get out and get a little fresh air. So I did. Not very far, but at least out.

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When I see a sign that says Pasta, I expect a restaurant. Especially if it’s near the tourist central area. No such thing, not here.

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Enough to make us believe we’re really in Germany.

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I overslept this morning, had to check out quickly — and the hotel’s DSL modem was down, so I had to wait while they re-synchronized it — and then scurry to the train station. The ICE train goes to Frankfurt airport, where I caught the Darmstadt airliner bus. It drops me right in front of the hotel, where I checked in about 10:15. Looked over the room info, discovered that hotel breakfast was available until 10:30, and I had not eaten anything. Easy choice!

Then I unpacked, sorted myself out a bit, walked into town. When I squoze the micro-tube of toothpaste the dentist had given me, most of what I got was an air bubble. So my excuse for going into town was to buy a tube of toothpaste to get me through the week. Whatever excuse works …

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As you might imagine, there was another dog off the picture to the left. The other dog was bored and completely uninterested in being friends.

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I have no idea what this was all about, but there were half a dozen (maybe more) different uniforms, each represented by a dozen or more members. I saw something like this long ago, various shooting clubs out showing off. Don’t know whether this was the same or something else entirely.

Weather deteriorated somewhat, so I headed back to the hotel. On the way, the streetcar I had noticed when I was here before.

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I hardly claim to speak any Deutsch at all, but I guess I’m somewhere above absolute zero when I understand idiomatic German puns. (Schwarzfahren is to ride without paying.)

Aachener Wald

June 14, 2015

Sunday, 14 June 2015

Why will it surprise none of my friends to hear that I wanted to get out into the countryside for a hike today? According to Google maps, the biggest green area is south of the city, between here and the Belgian border. Sunday breakfast only available at 7, and I was on my way by 8.

I had done a bit of research last evening; one of the recommended longer hikes began at Adenauerallee and Eselsweg (donkeys way, for those who don’t know), so that’s where I headed. A bit after 9 by the time I got out of the urban area, a bit delayed by the choice to take Robert-Schumann-Strasse instead of Karl-Marx-Allee, obviously a good tradeoff.

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The hike begins at the upper left and wends randomly to the southwest and west, heading back into the city from somewhere off the map to the right. Black line at the bottom is Belgian border.

Shortly after getting into the wood, a woman noticed my camera and recommended a side trail to see a special root. What could be special about a root? See below…

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Needless to say, that conversation was in Englisch. It was far enough outside my expectations that I would probably never have understood her, even had she used only words I knew.

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Most of the country is forested, but ranging fairly widely in density and undergrowth. Some gravelled tracks big enough for maintenance vehicles, some single-track, everything in between. Cyclists, hikers, a lot of trail runners, people with strollers, equestrians, and a little kid walking along behind a mini-horse. Say what ?!

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What’s this about a mini-horse? Mom and dad on the trail, leading one. 4-year old Junior walking along behind. He was considering it, but wasn’t at all sure he wanted to get up on that thing. His parents were encouraging him, but not pushing. That’s good.

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Not far beyond, the stable that rented out the mini-horses, obviously going to do a good business today.

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I’m also keeping an eye out for small animals. Above: these have to be some kind of world record antennae, in comparison with body size. Below: a robber fly enjoying Sunday brunch. One got tangled up in my leg hair later on; I gently brushed it away, without annoying it.

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Eventually, back into the city from the far southwest side, very close to the Belgian border here. Luetticherstrasse becomes Jakobstrasse, and evidence of a Jewish neighborhood.

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The black plaque above is a 1952 memorial to 1700 Jews whose homes were here prior to the Holocaust. I found it interesting that racism is now abhorrrent, but Karl Marx still gets an Allee here, and not far away, Bismarck is also honored. (Commercial: Friedrich Hayek explains the connections Marx-Bismarck-Hitler in considerable detail. Of course, it didn’t have to unfold against the Jews, but there does have to be a readily identifiable common enemy.)

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Well, after that we need some humour, and what better way to honor Labor than this!

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Back to the Marktplatz and around to the hotel. Tired and sore, but a good day.

Later: walking through the overgrown paths, I wondered whether European meadows were infested with ticks. Answer: yes. Only found one (so far), but that’s enough.

Aachen

June 13, 2015

Saturday, 13 June 2015

Checked out of the hotel after breakfast, walked to the Darmstadt Hauptbahnhof through a cool, gray morning. Claimed my reserved tickets from the automat after fiddling around a while. You get the tickets by entering an identifier number; okay, that’s fine. I had a confirmation number — nope. Well, there was an order number — no. And then there were distinct numbers for the two legs of my journey. Those worked. I’m glad; I was just about to run off the end of the integers I knew about.

Short hop from Darmstadt to Frankfurt Hbf, where I had time to wander a little before boarding the ICE train to Aachen.

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How often do you suppose a train overruns the end of the track?

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… at speeds of less than 15 kph? I’d like to see their test bed.

By the time we reached Aachen, the sun had come out, and it was a cool, pleasant day. Pulled up GPS and the local map on my iPhone and found the hotel. Deviated slightly from the shortest route to get there, but it’s okay. Dropped my things and went out to explore the town.

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First thing (well, the first thing I photographed) was a vocal rehearsal in a church. Nice. I especially liked the passage where one of the men in the back row (off the picture to the right) whistled the background accompaniment.

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Cherries for sale, and enthusiastic customers. Busy town, people out enjoying, shopping. Setting up stands for craft or flea markets later on, planning some live music.

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Marktplatz, though it isn’t full of Markt today. The Rathaus fronts one side of it.

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The view from the Rathaus.

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Dom in the background, a whimsical fountain in the foreground.

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I didn’t see any indication that there is a story to be told. Just whimsy, I guess.

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Continuing the wander, I came to the Elisenbrunnen, a sulphur spring and spa. Been here forever, I understand; several signs about the world’s rich and famous who deigned to spend time here.

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The space in front of the Brunnen, and a little girl who knows exactly what it’s all good for.

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More wandering. Nice town; I like this.

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Not yet performing, just getting ready.

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Beautiful things for your dog. This Foto dedicated to Eve.

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Further along, a Doctors without Frontiers stand, and next to it, Engineers without Frontiers. Unfortunately, their schtick seemed to be growing beans to save water, in comparison to raising beef and pork and things of higher value. A bit disappointing: engineers ought to be able to compare values. But they also had flyers about helping with earthquake remedies or prevention in places like Nepal.

Back to the hotel for a short crash, then out for … dare I admit it? After wandering out to the Pont Tor, near the Technische Hochschule, I returned to the Marktplatz and had fajitas at Sausalito’s. I like all cuisines, and it has been a while since I had Mex. Especially since they had Dunkelweizen, which is not at all Mex.

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Late sun on the Rathaus as I left the restaurant. Just after shooting this, I bumped into a colleague, with his wife. They were going around enjoying the choral festival that’s happening in half a dozen churches this evening. Small world, ties into the rehearsal I heard earlier today. Nice.