Reminiscing about Aachen, Hamburg and Münster
When the opportunity arose for Gary and me to head back to Germany on a road trip, we jumped at the chance. Incredible architecture, fascinating history, friendly locals and an abundance of sausages. What more could you want?
Aachen cathedral at dusk
The dome of Aachen cathedral
The detail in the Karlsschrein
When we visited the Dom, we were given a one to one tour by a lady that had been married in the Cathedral. It felt such a privilege as this incredibly ornate and beautiful building is so ancient.
It was Charlemagne ‘Charles the Great’ that instructed for the original octagonal chapel to be constructed between 793 and 813. Charlemagne died in 814 and is buried in a golden shrine within the chapel.
St. Lamberti Church
St. Lamberti Church
The three iron Anabaptist cages on St. Lamberti Church
The Tower Keeper at St. Lamberti ChurchSubtitle
The Tower Keeper at St Lamberti Church has been keeping the city of Münster safe for over 630 years. We were given the opportunity to visit the Tower Keeper. For the first time in over six centuries, the role is being undertaken by a lady, Martje Salje.
We climbed the 300 spiralling stone steps, and when we reached the top, it was magnificent and the night skyline across the city was breath-taking.
Martje the Tower Keeper tooting the nightly horn
Following Martje out onto the top of the 246 feet (75 metres) tall tower was an incredible experience. Each evening, except Tuesday, Martje blows the horn from the top of the tower. In the direction of north, south and west at 9pm until midnight, every 30 minutes.
Unless there is anything untoward, Martje sounds the all-clear toot, and Münster can breathe a sigh of relief, that the city is free from fires or enemies beyond.
Walking tour with a difference
The iconic view of the Speicherstadt district
It’s a fantastic area to head to of an evening, as the sunsets and the evening light swathes across the historic warehouses it is delightful.
The Speicherstadt and Kontorhaus District with Chilehaus were inscribed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2015.
The old Elbe Tunnel
Aachen walking tour
The Rathaus from the rear
Münster Rathaus & Hall of Peace
Original wood panelling in the “Hall of Peace”
I highly recommend heading to the viewing gallery to enjoy the 360-degree view across Hamburg, the Landungsbrücken piers and the city’s port.
A visit to the viewing gallery is free, grab your ticket at the main entrance and hop on the world’s first arched escalator. The top segment of Elbphilharmonie is constructed entirely of glass.
Enjoy an evening cruise
Enjoying the view from Café 1648
Am Knipp – Aachen’s oldest Inn – 1698
Am Knipp Inn dating from 1698
Klein Aachener Printen
Reisfladen – traditional rice cake from Van Den Daele café
A reference guide
I love nothing more than planning a trip and so often I use the DK Eyewitness books. I find them extremely informative, easy to follow and the pictures and maps tempt you into discovering more.
We used a previous version of this book to plan our Germany road trips, now you can grab the revised copy.
St Nicholas Church and tower
St.-Nikolai-Kirche is an emotional and touching place to visit. Hamburg suffered extensively during WWII, and St Nicholas Church stands as a poignant symbol to this.
The only sections that remain are the tower, spire and crypt, within the crypt is a fascinating museum.
St Nikolai-church tower
A view from St Nikolai-church tower
You are able to visit the top of the tower a lift has been installed and transports you 247 feet (75 metres) above, to a platform within the spire.
There are historic storyboards within the spire that follow the church’s history through time. The views from here are incredible too.
Beggar at the Circle of Money Fountain
Bronze Puppenbrunnen with hinged limbs
Each bronze character depicts the changing hands of money. Whether it’s a young girl receiving pocket money or a beggar pleading with a banker. All the while, the water feature is flowing in never-ending circles.
Keep a lookout for the interactive bronze Puppenbrunnen and the Hühnerdieb - ‘Chicken Thief’.
Also, part of Hamburg’s UNESCO inscription is the beautiful Chilehaus. The incredible lines that have been created by the architect Fritz Höger are stunning. The 1920’s 10-storey office building has been designed in the shape of a ship’s prow.
The pointy end of Chilehaus
I urge you to visit of an evening if you can, it’s even more elegant and stylish when it is illuminated.
I’m sure there is a big kid inside everyone waiting to get out, if so, then head over to Miniatur Wunderland, in Hamburg’s Speicherstadt district.
I was going to refer to it as a model village, but it’s actually more of a city.
HafenCity Universität U-Bahn station
HafenCity Universität in red
One for next time
Hamburg at Christmas, Hamburg, Germany
Let us know!
We ran out of time
Low Emission Zone (LEZs), Autobahns and Tolls
Germany - Be aware that some German towns and cities have Low Emission Zones. Therefore, you will require a sticker for the windscreen of your car, to signify which category your car emissions fall into.
We found the following websites useful; also, you can apply online in advance for the sticker for €6 (2019). The Urban Access Regulations in Europe details all the European emission zones and the Senate Department for Environment is where you can purchase you Germany LEZ sticker.
When you drive along an autobahn in Germany, you may not even be aware that you are on one (they are not signposted). It’s not until you feel the vibration of a vehicle whisking past your window that you know you’ve arrived. I would like to highlight that in my opinion, German drivers are quite considerate.
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Inspired by a road trip to Germany
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Our visits to Aachen, Hamburg and Münster were arranged in partnership with the local tourist offices. In exchange for honest reviews and an account of our personal experiences.