Edit Blog Post
Published: September 10th 2006
The last weekend of August Kate and I spent the weekend in Aachen, Germany attending some of the World Equestrian Games. The two-weeklong games are held every four years in a different country. In 2010 the games will be held in Kentucky. I would advise anyone thinking of attending that they start seeing about tickets. We bought our tickets in late January, seven months before the games, and all the seating for the finals were sold out. The World Equestrian Games are the Olympics of the equestrian world. What was interesting is that the games consisted a good number of events that we have never seen at any other equestrian event. Vaulting, team dressage with wagon, an endurance competition, and a carriage competition that consist of driving wagon and a team of horses through an obstacle course to name just a few.
The games, besides the cross-country course, were held in three different stadiums, one of which easily held over 50,000 people. The vaulting competition consisted of 7 members on a team that performed various acrobatic tricks on a horse as it moved at a pretty steady pace around the ring. Germany placed first in the competition and the U.S.
placed fourth. I think the U.S. should have placed higher but I understand that part of the score is based on the horse and controller. After the vaulting we headed over to the cross-country course. It was a huge course and somewhat difficult to get around to see. That evening we had tickets to the dressage final (standing room tickets). The stadium that holds over 50,000 people was packed and the standing room section was also packed. Kate decided to stay while I went to see the various vendor booths. At one of the booths they had a large TV that I was able to watch the dressage in some relative comfort and was afforded a better view than standing in a crowd of a couple thousand people.
The next day we had some fairly good seats for the show jumping portion of the three-day event (cross-country, dressage, and show jumping). It was held in the large 50,000 seat stadium. Although good seats, the field as you can see from the pictures was huge and it was hard watching the jumping on the other side of the field. I compared it to trying to watch a NFL football game
when your seats are at one end zone and the action is at the other end zone.
We only got to spend a little time in Aachen, which is a city full of history and beauty. Aachen is located on the border with Belgium and the Netherlands and is located about 40 miles (65 km) west of Cologne. Aachen’s main claim to fame is it is the burial site of Charlemagne. Charlemagne loved to come to Aachen, especially in the winter months and enjoy the hot springs. He began to build a palace here but died before its completion. The sole surviving remnant of the palace, its magnificent chapel constructed in 796, later became Aachen Cathedral and where Charlemagne’s tomb can be found. In more recent history, Aachen was the first city in Germany conquered by Allied forces in World War II.
Besides the cathedral and spa, Aachen also has a large casino and a great old city, which is great to wander through and enjoy the sites. It is also a city of sculptures in that you can find some very interesting sculptures throughout old town section. A major industry of the past was the needle production,
which led to the distinctive mark of the people from Aachen, the Klenkes. The small finger of the right hand is spread from the hand, which was originally the way women sorted the needles. There is this statute in one of the squares of three boys with the pinkies held high. We haven’t quite figured out exactly what is the real story of this “pinkie high sign” We would have loved to spend more time there just enjoying the sites.
Due to the throng of people attending the world Equestrian Games we were unable to find a hotel in Aachen and wound up staying in the Netherlands, in the little town of Valkenburg. It was only a short driving distance from Aachen. Valkenburg has a little river that runs through the middle of the town. Either because of convenience or they do not want to walk too far, a number of the people living along the river have built private bridges that connect their homes to one of the main streets of the town. We really enjoyed our stay there and would not mind staying there again in the future.
Until our next travels,
Tot: 2.897s; Tpl: 0.049s; cc: 17; qc: 105; dbt: 0.0622s; 2; m:saturn w:www (220.127.116.11); sld: 1;
; mem: 1.6mb