Aachen was an important city in Germany in the Middle Ages, and is where the kings of Germany were crowned. It was Charlemagne’s favorite place to be, and undoubtedly his mark is felt on the city.
I really enjoyed our visit to Aachen–at just this time last year. The Mann lived there when doing graduate work, so he was able to show me around. I thought the city had a really nice vibe and feel to it. It felt low-key, and yet it had that energetic “university town” element to it. We talked a lot about how livable it feels.
Aachen has a notable and quite unusual cathedral. Charlemagne had the Palatine Chapel built in 792 (through 805) as part of his palace, and today it still houses his throne and bones. I thought it was a very special place, with its octagonal structure, its striped marble, and the colorful mosaics. Throughout the ages the chapel was built onto several times, so that now the cathedral has a rather discombobulated appearance inside and out.
We stayed at an Ibis hotel, and I have to say I was really impressed by its simple stylishness for a very low price. I don’t usually care for chain hotels, but I can highly recommend this one.
Aachen has some really fun and playful public art that people can interact with, including one sculpture/fountain with moving parts. It was fun to arrange the arms and heads of the sculpture people.
The food we had there was incredibly tasty and outstanding! Aachen has an abundance of excellent bakeries and pastries that we couldn’t stay away from. The city is also blessed with a wealth of cheap, student eateries. At Café Kittel, one of The Mann’s old student hangouts, I had one of the top two lasagnas of my life. The lasagna noodles were handmade, and it was incredibly fresh. The café had plywood walls and floors, but still, the food was amazing and very cheap. I’m still dreaming about that lasagna.
I can’t wait to return to this city!
Check out more of my photos from the visit below: