Our first destination after settling into our European home in August was Aachen, Germany, known in French as Aix-la-Chapelle. Despite being in a different country, it was only a short train ride from Verviers, Belgium, and although today the town is little known beyond its own regions, it was once the capital of the illustrious Charlemagne and his Frankish Empire.
I was amazed by Aachen Cathedral, the coffin of Charlemagne, and the old Byzantine-style mosaics on the ceiling of the cathedral. But I also enjoyed the cultural experience–this was my first visit to Germany, after all! It was also my first time to leave Belgium while in Europe, and the first place to visit where French was not spoken (I certainly utilized the two German words I know: hallo and danke!).
For supper some friends and I found a small place that sold baked potatoes, but these were no average baked potatoes. There were many choices of toppings, but mine included cheese, pickles, and green olives, among other ingredients, all in great quantities. We wandered around the city in search of the ancient Roman baths built upon the hot springs of Aachen, and while we never came across them, we did find a very nice park with a hill and a view, as well as some gardens and fountains. We found Aachen to be a very charming city, in all.
As we were going to the train station to return to Belgium, my sister and I spotted an Aldi store, and we decided to pop in. Aldi is a German company, but they have only recently begun expanding into Texas. We bought a few things, including stracciatella yogurt, which proved to be quite tasty (stracciatella simply means vanilla with bits of chocolate).
And thus was my first experience in Germany! Click here to see some more pictures I took there.