I had a full day in Aachen after I arrived via train. It was absolutely pouring, so my first stop was finding a warm cafe. I ended up at the Aachener Cafe, which was recommended on all the travel blogs I read prior to going to Aachen. It was right next to the Dom and City Museum, so it was a good location. The Aachener Cafe was incredibly busy, likely due to the weather. I felt very rushed to eat my potato soup and down my coffee. It didn’t seem particularly allergy-friendly either. If you’re visiting Aachen, I would pass on this cafe.
Aachen has four major relics–Virgin Mary’s dress, Jesus’ swaddling cloths, Jesus’ loin cloths, and the decapitation cloth of John the Baptist. These are all kept in the Shrine of the Virgin Mary in the chancel of the cathedral. They get removed and presented to believers, during the Aachen pilgrimage, which regularly takes place every seven years since 1349. Afterwards the shrine gets secured with a padlock, and the keyhole is sealed with lead. They key is sewn into two pieces, of which the key bit is given to the municipality of Aachen and the bow to the cathedral chapter. The padlocks are on display in the Aachen Treasury, which was my next stop.
The Aachen Cathedral Treasury is one of the most important treasuries of medieval Christian artworks in Europe. It costs 5 Euro to see the Treasury, and it was an enjoyable rainy day activity in Aachen. I spent about 45 minutes looking around the Treasury.
The Treasury is next to the Aachen Cathedral, which is the monumental church of Charlemagne. The cathedral and treasury were added to UNESCO’s World Cultural Heritage list in 1978. After the Treasury, I went into the cathedral and walked around. It was free to enter the cathedral, and the church asked for donations if patrons wanted to take photos. I opted not to take photos and just enjoy the beauty of the cathedral itself.
The Aachener Dom, as it’s known in German, is one of the oldest cathedrals in Europe, it was constructed by order of the emperor Charlemagne, who was buried there in 814. From 936 to 1531, the Palatine Chapel saw the coronation of thirty-one German kings and twelve queens. I highly recommend walking around the cathedral for its beauty!
I then walked around the Christmas Market late afternoon, which was a great time because it stopped raining. There were few people around, and I picked up some great Christmas gifts for my family.
I ended my day at Cafe Zuhause where I met up with my friend, Natan. He’s an Aachen native, and this was one of his regular spots. Cafe Zuhause embodied “hygge” and coziness. The mismatched furniture and abundance of books created a warm and welcoming environment. I enjoyed a local Hamburg cider and pizza from a nearby restaurant. Cafe Zuhause doesn’t have a kitchen yet, but they allow customers to bring in outside food. They have menus on site for Greek, Asian, and Italian cuisine. The pizza was incredible. I was happily stuffed and in a food coma by the time we left Cafe Zuhause.