Night Location: Luxembourg, Luxembourg
Song of the Day: Friday I'm in Love - The Cure
Mumisode of the Day: "You better ration that gingerbread. Who knows how long we could be!" During our long detour with Claude at the helm.
It is Friday and we are in love with the autumn colours. Overnight we stayed in a very colourful hotel in the literal sense. The decor is full of bright orange, yellow, blue and green, lights hang over the bed at various heights and you sleep in a bed that looks like it is better suited to a space ship! We awoke this morning to brilliant blue sky and sun; it was almost hot when we were heading toward the cathedral.
We have all been having history lessons during our stay in Aachen. It is a famous city in its own right but seems to be off the beaten path of tourists. Aachen was the seat of Charlemagne, crowned Holy Roman Emperor in 800. He ruled his kingdom from Aachen, and for 600 years afterwards, kings of Germany were crowned here on his ivory throne. Charlemagne was fabulously wealthy and so has collected many relics including pieces of the cross, the swaddling clothes of baby Jesus, clothing of the virgin Mary and so on. Even more interesting were the bones of Chalemagne. Poor chap was exhumed a few hundred years after his death and is now encased in gold plated splendour. You can view his thigh bone and forearm bones (radius/ulna). You would not have thought this would be an overly exciting thing to have on display. The cathedral itself is the most amazing cathedral that we have been into. The original church of Charlemagne built in the year 800AD still stands and is in an octagonal shape. The ceiling is made up of a fabulous gold mosaic and there is a chandelier that dominates that is over 1000 years old.
Aachen is also famous for its gingerbread. For the first time, Christmas is starting to appear all around us. We saw decorations being hung for the first time and trees are appearing with lights in shop windows. Even better though was the gingerbread store. It smelt just like Christmas. Amber and Gemma both bought a slab of gingerbread, most of which was consumed today in the car trip. There was also another great chocolate shop so David invested some quality time there.
After a leisured start to the day we set off through the Ardennes Valley. Here the grass is so green it is as though it has been drawn on with a highlighter. Everywhere you look there are dark green pine trees standing next to clusters of brilliant gold and red, and leaves blow across the road. The autumn season is definitely upon us. Mum is loving every moment of this season. We have never seen colour like this before.
Today was another transit day. For some time, all was going well with just the odd tractor and milk truck to slow us down, but then we rounded a corner and there was a construction fence across the road. Dad started to head through but had to stop given the level of shrieking coming from the back of the car and Mum saying in a loud voice, "You are not going through there." We were forced to turn around. Unfortunately there does not appear to be a function of the Navman where you can enter, 'Road closed. Find another option.' Instead no matter how far we seemed to get away from the closure hoping that we might be redirected, Claude insisted that we needed to turn around and tricked us into doing so at least once. We have established that the word for detour in German is a funny word starting with a 'U' and so we followed the 'U' and it eventually led us around the blocked road and on to Trier. It was during this section of the journey that Mum got increasingly animated about the Navman and once again wanted to "Turn the chap off". It was here after we had turned around for the third time that she suggested we start rationing the gingerbread as she wasn't sure how long we were going to be driving around in circles.
Trier is a fantastic city. It was established by the Romans over 2000 years ago and still has an original Roman gate, although Amber pointed out the renovations and repairs that have obviously happened here. We were all fairly hungry by this time in the late afternoon and made a beeline for yet another German bakery complete with awesome German sandwiches. It has been decided that the Germans do not know how to stuff up bread making. Even though it had started to rain a little bit it did not deter us from having an ice-cream. The chocolate was almost good enough to rival Venchi.
The trip to Luxembourg was fairly uneventful. Our hotel overlooks the old city of Luxembourg and the beautiful arched gate across the gorge. A British girl pushed in in front of us in the queue to purchase a wireless internet hub and conveniently for us we are now using her internet for free. That is called Karma!
We are about to head out for a French vegetarian restaurant famous for its creme brûlée, so that should be exciting. Tomorrow we go exploring the old city on foot.