First impression: clean. Coming from Brussels and entering Aachen, there were some things that struck me immediately. Number one it was very clean and cheerful. The city has bright colored buildings in welcoming pastels. For a while I felt like I was a doll walking around in a city of doll-houses. Some of the doors were very short, someone six feet tall or more might have to duck when entering little antique or sweet shops.
Continuing around the city, everyone was walking casually enjoying the day. Some people were sitting at the patios, others were going for a stroll and some carried shopping bags with them.
One of the main attractions is the Aachen Cathedral. It is spectacularly decorated from the floor to the roof. Every inch of the roof as covered with tiny squares and other shiny decorations. The pillars made of white and red marble and rich gold seen in every corner.
After admiring the colors and design of the cathedral, walking outside was like stepping back into reality. What I didn’t know I would notice about Aachen was the small details. There was not one cobblestone loose or out of place. There was not one piece of garbage, cigarette butt or gum on the street. The patio further is neatly arranged and the chairs, tables and umbrellas are color-coordinated at each restaurant.
There are several pubs, cafes and restaurants in a big square all facing the old town hall. It’s easy to loose track of time sitting next to people chatting, watching the people walk by and looking at the fountain in front of the town hall.
After a nice break, there is a major shopping street for pedestrians only. Hold on to your handbag because you will be entering a sea of people window shopping and browsing inside the stores. Beware of the German bakeries, its hard enough not to buy one of everything little alone just choosing one pastry.
Aachen isn’t a major tourist destination for those visiting Germany, but it’s makes a great day trip from Brussels and proves that little things make a big difference.
For more photos of Aachen, visit the Uni-Verse-City Facebook page.