Central Europe Adventures 2016 – Part Eighteen: Aachen and Liege

Departing Osnabrück in the rain I had to catch two trains to get to Aachen. I had hoped to stop for a few hours in Dusseldorf but given the wet weather I stayed on the train to Cologne and then switched for the local train to Aachen. The second train I caught was completely full of football fans and I had to stand for close to half the journey.

Once I arrived in Aachen I walked down the road to my hotel, the Ibis Hauptbahnhof, which ironically is further from the main station than the Ibis Marschiertor. After I had checked in I met up with a friend who was so excited to see me she literally knock me to the ground when running up to give me a hug. We then joined a larger group of students and had Flammkuchen for dinner (it’s rather similar to Pizza) and rounded off the night drinking a bottle of wine in the student dorms at the university.

The following morning it was still raining, so my friend and I spontaneously decided to go to Liege, Belgium to escape it. To get to Liege we caught the smallest (and maybe the oldest) train I’ve ever travelled on to a station in a small village just across the Belgium border. We then waited about 20 minutes for a more modern train to come along and less than an hour later we were in Liege. Right from arriving in Liege you noticed the difference in culture, heavily armed soldiers were guarding the train stations and some of the big malls in the city.

Leaving the station, we got lost pretty quickly, but after we found the river that runs through the heart of the city and we walked a few kilometers up to the old town. Despite my complete lack of any French (I’ve literally forgotten everything I learnt in school) I managed to buy some real Belgium Waffles and a guidebook about the local cathedral. After getting lost a few more times we found our way back to the main train station just as the rain caught up with us.

Once we got back to Aachen we met up with a group again for dinner and then headed to the town’s cinema complex to watch Deadpool. It was an interesting experience watching a movie in English in a room full of Germans. The jokes they laughed at and the ones I laughed at were almost mutually exclusive.

The next day I met up with a different friend and we headed up Lousberg. Halfway up the hill we came across a sculpture of a confused man and a smirking woman. My friend explained to me the story of how Lousberg was created by the devil coming to bury Aachen but the woman fooled him and he dumped his load of dirt in the wrong place.

After getting hailed on at the top of the hill we headed back to the centre of Aachen where we had lunch at the Nobis Printen cafe. To then round out my visit to Aachen I caught up with yet another friend that evening and I managed to accidentally order Flammkuchen for dinner again – but it was great.