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The adventures of the Mel

On the border of Germany

GERMANY | Monday, 29 September 2008 | Views [751]

I honestly don’t have too much to report, but I thought I’d take advantage of the free wireless here in the hostel. At least, after I could get my damn computer to work! The drivers for my Ethernet card and wireless went missing and it took me 2 hours to fix the damn problem. Sigh.

I arrived in Germany yesterday to Aachen, a small city on the edge of the border with the Netherlands. I found my way to the ‘hostel’ I was staying at and was immediately uncomfortable – the area wasn’t super – let’s just say there were some less than classy characters around. However I happily found that they had no interest in me whatsoever, just the beer they were drinking and whatever else they were doing. Turns out aside from being situated near a drug-rehab place it was also in the Jewish part – everything was written in Hebrew and then German. Needless to say I was not heavy on the understanding. But thankfully the human spirit can conquer an inability to communicate verbally – I ‘spoke’ with a woman (using hands of course) and we established that I was waiting for the owner of the ‘hostel’. She called him and he was there in five minutes. He thankfully spoke some English, but he was extremely over-friendly and I felt a bit anxious. Turns out they overbooked and he had to put me in a big apartment all by myself. Normally I’d be thrilled but I couldn’t wait to get out of the place. He was eager to stay and chat (he even offered if I got lonely that I could call him) but thankfully talk of my ‘husband’ scared him off. I love fake husbands, they’re awesome. Much more useful than actual boyfriends. Okay, perhaps boyfriends are somewhat useful but they are boys and hence they suck.

Anyway…after dumping my stuff in the apartment I went for a wander into the pretty little city that is Aachen. Typically European, it has a number of interesting fountains that I could only find a couple of considering that I didn’t have a map. One of the fountains I found represented the circulation of money – comical figures stand around a ‘fountain’ which contains in its centre a whirlpool which ‘sucks’ away the money. This whirlpool is apparently affectionately known as ‘taxpayer’ in Aachen.

It felt like I had arrived at about 5pm because it was overcast and absolutely dead. It was even dead for a European Sunday. Cuh-razy. The only place where there was a decent number of people was the Dom. This yet another beautiful old Gothic cathedral, though this one is Unesco-listed. Inside is stunning and has a lovely tale to it – apparently the locals were running out of money part-way through building the church, and a mysterious benefactor turned up and helped them. The locals recognised this benefactor as the devil in disguise (by his cloven hooves, no less) but agreed to his cooperation. When he demanded in payment the soul of the first being to enter the church, the local folk happily agreed, releasing a wolf into the doors. The devil pounced on the wolf and was furious when he realised that he had been tricked. In his rage he ran out of the church and slammed the door on his way out…jamming his thumb in the door. Today you can reach into the lion’s mouth on the main door and feel the devil’s ‘thumb’. Inside is also a statue of the wolf with a hole in its chest where the devil ripped out its soul.

After checking out the local fairytale I wandered around for a bit, but quickly tired and headed back to the apartment and read my book. Mmmm….books and reading.

I have made it to Dusseldorf but haven’t explored yet courtesy of my stupid freaking computer. I am annoyed at all of you for keeping different hours to me. Why can’t you be awake NOW when I am not doing anything instead of when I’ll be exploring the city. Stupid people.

Aachen photos


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