Farewell to Europe for the moment

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October 10th 2011
Published: October 11th 2011
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Koln was a city not to be missed. Originally founded by the Romans, it is one of the oldest towns in Germany. Koln has housed 12 Romanesque churches as well as the famous Gothic cathedral. We were fortunate to get the last MH site available at the Stellplatz on the Rhine in Koln and found the tram/underground station right across the street, so we were able to take a quick ride into Koln. As we emerged from the underground, as though by magic, there was the Dom immediately above us. Not only did we explore the Dom,but were able to find many buildings from the 'old town' with surprising historical stories. Whenever we're visiting cities with a lot to see, we take lunch, coffee, etc. and are able to soak up local color and 'people watch' as we're relaxing in squares, platzs and ramblas.

Aachen has intrigued us both as the center of Charlemagnes residence and reign. He built a huge palace complex with chapel cloistered courtyard and hall for himself. When he was crowned emperor in 800, Aachen became the capital of the Holy Roman Empire. From the 10th to the 14th centuries, all German kings were crowned in the palace chapel. Eventually in the 18th and 19th century, Aachen gained importance as a spa. Many of the historically important buildings have vanished and much damage during WWII, makes those buildings, such as the Rathaus and the cathedral, that have survived, even more historically significant.

As we were waiting for the weather to clear, we met a delightful couple from Australia with whom we shared stories, some wine, a few meals and a day long attempt to do laundry. Kaye and I were finally successful, using her little Fiat to suss out many of the washereis (they do it and you pick it up) only to find out that we really wanted a washsalon. Between the tourist information lady and two students from Aachen University we found one of those, At that point it was inexpensive and fairly quick to bring back lots of clean and dry laundry.

Leaving Germany and entering Belgium via the Netherlands has given us a distinct change in scenery. Cornfields have replaced apple orchards, houses seem to be primarily constructed of brick and the neat and geometrical landscaping predominates. We have sampled the Belgian Fries (Frites) and the Belgian Chocolates as well as the other goodies that Belgian has to offer. We are now heading for the coast of France to ferry from Calais to Dover, put the motor home in storage and head for Cape Cod. An absolutely amazing European trip over the past four months and we have enjoyed sharing our meandering with all of you subscribers to our Mature-Meanderings.

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