While Antonia was busy having fun in kindergarten, Sonja, Martin and I raced to Aachen for a short preview. I would later return one the third leg of my journey so they were just trying to get me orientated. We first stopped at the pillars. This structure represents the natural hot springs that Aachen is famous for.
People have been comming to bathe in the sulfur water for centuries. Of course the hot springs is not located in the center of the town, but this just tells a bit of history under this giant domed area of the structure is where salsa dances occassionally take place. You just have to hope you can dance through the rotten egg smell of the water that comes through these lion heads.
After the pillars we wandered through town quickly and came to the great cathedral. As legend goes the great Charlemagne gave Aachen tons of money to build a great cathedral. When Charlemagne left the city, however, the citizens pilfered the money and built no church. Later news arrived that Charlemagne was returning to Aachen and was anxiously awaiting to see his new church. The people panic, knowing that in days time the leader would see how the citizens wasted his money. Then the devil stepped in and offered the townspeople something they couldn't resist. The devil would build the giant cathdral in one night if he could have the soul of the first one that enters the church. The people agreed, but knew the first soul to enter a cathdral is always a bishop. How could they sell the bishop to the devil?
After thinking of a way to avoid the death of the bishop, they had a solution. The devil spent the night building the cathedral. The next morning the townspeople gathered to marvel at the structure and put their plan to action. They released a wolf into the church. The wolf was instantly killed and the soul was the devil's. Now the bishop could safely enter the church, and Charlemagne wold be pleased with his gracious cathedral. Now a statue of the wolf seats at the entrance of the cathedral to remind the people of the deal they made.
Inside the church was beautiful. The church was originally built in the 800s, so the whole cathedral is a mixture of relics for different time period where parts were destroyed and rebuilt. The ceiling was amazing. It was an almost entirely hand crafted mosiac tile mural, depicting many different scenes and symbols. The tile however was part of an 19th century remodel. The podium, however was original to the 800s when the church was completed. It is covered in gold and is detailed with precious gems and ivory. It was really quite delicate.
Soon it was time to return to the kindergarten to pick up cute little Antonia. I had a great time doing a mini tour in Aachen, and I was definitely excited to be returning later in my trip.