A Blog by International Students at Leiden University
Bidding goodbye to a savory Liege, we caught the morning train to our next destination, the final leg of our three-country trip: Aachen, Germany. To be very honest, I’m not a big fan of Germany, it possibly ranks lowest on my list of must-visit European countries – I just don’t know why. My image of Germany has always been a very gloomy, cold, unfriendly one. But still, when there’s a chance to travel, it’s hard to say no.
Maybe just because I haven’t been to the more vivid, colorful parts of Germany. Aachen is pretty, nothing special. Exactly what I thought of Germany, and the weather did contribute to dampen the spirit a bit – it was a chilly, drizzling day. Nonetheless, I think Aachen is quite a good choice for one-day trip. Veolia bus no. 50 departs from Maastricht and Aachen and vice versa frequently during the day. And the bus stop is located conveniently right in front of the station, so whenever you feel bored in Maastricht you can always hop on a bus to Aachen for a change. A one-way trip costs 6 EUR/person, and takes about more than 1 hour. (But for the sake of our tour we took a train from Liege to Aachen instead)
What to say. The main attractions of Aachen including churches and cathedrals – very typical for an European city, are mostly cramped in the city center which is within walking distance from Aachen Hbf Station. And… that’s pretty much it. So you can finish Aachen in one or two hours lol.
Aachen Cathedral is probably what the city is famous of, a trace of a glorious past. If I’m not wrong, it’s one of the UNESCO World’s Heritage, and it indeed has a rich history of playing an important role in pilgrimage route. The cathedral holds very sacred relics, which are put on display occasionally during the Great Aachen Pilgrimage Festival. On the Sunday that we went, the cathedral is open for visitors after 12:30 pm.
As we had to wait to get inside the Cathedral, we took the chance to visit a very famous bakery in Aachen, the Nobis Printen. The shop has been here for a really long time, and their specialty is ginger bread, which many buy as souvenirs. There’s one bakery and cafe right next to the cathedral, but you can see them all around Aachen. Their other products are also very good!
Across Nobis Printen, there’s also a self-service German sausage restaurant. Yes! Finally the only thing I have for Germany lol. It looks almost like a fast food chain, but their sausage is really delicious. The interior itself is quite beautiful. Oh and one thing, food in Germany is surprisingly cheaper than in the Netherlands!
I chose the Munich style. This cost me 6,80 EUR.
Later in the afternoon we visited Ludwig Forum, a modern art museum. Entrance cost 3 EUR for students, but I only waited outside while my friends got in. It’s not really worth visiting in my opinion, unless you’re really into modern/pop art.
It we hadn’t visited this museum we probably have had time to go the three-country border, which is actually the whole point of the trip. Unfortunately as we rode the bus back to Maastricht around 5:30 pm, we figured it might be too late to go to the border. It was getting dark, and the bus that goes directly to the border might stop running. What to note is that bus no. 149 that takes you to the border only runs on Sunday, otherwise you have to walk there (quite a long path I think). And as I research, there’s really nothing much in the border, except for the flags, a tower from where you can get the view for three countries, and a maze. However, still quite a mandatory tourist spot lol. You can decide whether you wanna go there or not, but plan accordingly in advance.
So, that’s pretty much about it. My weekend trip. It’s been excruciating long, but I hope you do enjoy reading. I will certainly travel more in the future, and as I always start from Leiden, so I also hope this kind of travel journal can benefit the audience of this blog. Comments and suggestions are welcomed. And who knows, we may become travel buddies at some point later!