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Travels in Germany


After making our way up the Rhine, we headed west to Aachen, a medium-sized city that borders the Netherlands. Here's some ACT analogy practice for you: Lincoln is to Springfield as Charlemagne is to Aachen. This place had Charlemagne fever! I even saw one guy with a t-shirt that said, "Charlemagne is my homeboy." (Not really, but I bet these yahoos would have worn them!)Here's a brief history refresher: (I'll give you MY version... no need to put you all through the Al version that I endured this afternoon..)

Charlemagne basically united what is now known as Germany and France and ruled as their leader. He pretty much was badass (in a good way) and ended up ruling most of Western Europe. If you want to know more (I personally think I've summed it up pretty well, but whatever...) feel free to talk to Al. Really, do the rest of us a favor and give her someone to talk to about it. Please.

So back to Aachen... this place was one of his centers of power. It houses the Dom (cathedral) that was founded by Charlemagne in the 800s. His throne and crown are allegedly there, but I couldn't find them (we weren't part of an organized tour, so we were limited in what we could see). But what ARE there are his dead bones in a gold box. It's way in the back of this HUGE room that's all roped off so I didn't get a great picture (I'm not 100% sure I was supposed to be taking pictures, so I didn't want to put forth too much effort and end up in German Jail). But, I've posted what I was able to get.

This Dom was INCREDIBLE. Al and I both agree it's the most beautiful of all these old churches we've been in. I've posted a few pictures. The cathedral also has a 12th century chandelier. I caught Al trying to climb up there to steal one of the candles, but was able to wrangle her back to the ground before things got messy.

And, I've saved the best part for last. In another gold box is what's known as the Aachen relics. This box is said to have the Virgin Mary's robe, Christ's swaddling clothes, Jesus' loincloth, and John the Baptist's Decapitation Cloth. I'm in the process of writing a letter to the mayor of Aachen to see if I can have a clipping of either the swaddle or loincloth to run some DNA analysis - I've always thought there was something special about me...

There may have been something else in this special golden box but I can't remember - maybe Jesus' baby teeth or a lock of hair from his first haircut... I'd ask Al, but, well, there's never a simple answer with these kind of questions.

Anyway, every 7 years the "relics" are taken OUT OF THE BOX and put on display for people making pilgrimages. The next time they'll be on display is in 2014. Spring Break Aachen 2014, anyone?

Bad Godesberg: Al really wanted to pretend she was princess for a day, so we made our way to Bad Godesberg. The Godesburg castle was attacked and mostly destroyed in 1583, but the surviving tower has been made into a restaurant. She was making me call her "Princess Ali," and ordered me to drive up the mountain to take her to her castle lunch. So I did (because I like the challenge of driving a car that resembles a roller skate up and down steep slopes). We got there 10 MINUTES before the kitchen was to close, but after Al explained that she was the princess of the castle, they naturally agreed to stay open for us to eat.

They didn't have an English menu, and the servant (Al's word, not mine) didn't speak English, so it was a close-your-eyes-and-point kind of deal. Al ended up getting some kind of baked roll stuffed with cheese and broccoli - she LOVED it! I recognized a word that resembled pasta, and that that would be a safe bet - it ended up being the MOST AMAZING spaghetti with TONS of veggies in it. It was FANTASTIC! We were SOOOOO relieved to hve a good meal after the fish sticks disaster the night before.

After all the servants bowed down to Al, we made our way back down the mountain...

By: tallral
 

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