on a rainy Sunday just before Christmas a group of us headed to Aachen to check out the Christmas markets and the Aachener Dom. the cathedral itself is unbelievably beautiful- it’s the oldest in Northern Europe, was constructed by Charlemagne and is where his remains now lay. inside also is a gold box thing that holds four ancient relics from when jesus was around. these are taken out and put on display once every seven years (Mary’s cloak, Jesus’ swaddling clothes, John the Baptist’s beheading cloth and Jesus’ loincloth). interesting stuff, and apparently people make their way across the globe just to get close to these textiles every time.
aachen is two hours by train from essen, a really old town with stunning cobbled pedestrian streets. its shop fronts were decked out all Christmassy and the shoppers were all in festive spirits. well worth a visit and a Sunday well spent.