Thursday, October 24, 2013

In Celebration of the Sun

Before autumn completely turns this city into a bushfire, I want to share a few photos with you from weekends spent taking advantage of the last long, bright days of summer. 

The weekend after our first set of exams, Milen, Aehyun, Amit and I took the bus down to Aachen, a small German town just outside of Maastricht renowned for its Christmas market. 

Here is Milen looking superbly thrilled to have discovered these chairs.

And here they all are. Amit is holding up an imaginary parasol for the Queen.

Don't they look happy? That's the unmistakable and collective relief of one set of exams done.

And this is a church. It's not the amazingbreathtakingchurch (that will come later), but it was pretty and peaceful and not touristy, thank god.

A bit of the old reflected in the new

Aachen was charming in the way that most small German towns are, with its cobbled-street centre built around a marvellous church, and streets speckled with designer boutiques and German bakeries. (Everything outside this city centre was crisp, 'modern' and quintessentially urban German, of course, but it was pretty!)

I took pictures of little kids while the rest of my crew tried to pull me away before I got arrested. I have more experience than that, though. (Jokes.)

I also took pictures of this amazing church, which presumably gives Aachen its French name, Aix-la-Chapelle.

Aforementioned breathtaking church

We walked through the city for most of the day, following my nose and some fast-disappearing maps for direction.

We saw these two, with their funny faces.

We saw a fountain, which, if this were Brussels, would probably be called the Manneken Vis (check out the "See Others" on that page).

And we saw lots of red! We also inhaled from a red helium balloon clearly meant for children and requested from the nice lady at the street corner by me (go figure). But we were met with only partial success in terms of balloon voices, though I reckon I can sound like a chipmunk without the dizzying effects of helium.

But we failed in our quest to find German food (Turkish kebab houses are the most German it gets, apparently) and so more than made up in other culinary pursuits by

  1. Buying copious amounts of some gorgeous fresh organic grape wine. All me, of course.
  2. Sampling chocolate-coated gingerbread at every bakery we found. Can you blame us? Christmas goodies come out earlier and earlier each year!
  3. Running around like delinquents inside the German organic food store. Also mostly me.
  4. Dissolving into couches at a Starbucks at the end of the day. What can I say, the coffeeshops in our university environs don't sell real coffee (at least, we haven't discovered it yet), so this was a relative and temporary novelty.

And then, while looking for the parliament building, we found a casino instead. And while looking for the baths that Aachen is renowned for (never mind that we didn't have swimsuits and it was jacket weather), we also found this amazing, totally natural-looking multi-level public garden. Imagine that, this is a clearing in a public garden built behind a legal, regal casino. Too much.

It was all kinds of lovely. The sun, the sights, the company, and the surprises. Such a good start to weekend tripping outside Maastricht. Such a good way to spend a life-slice.


  1. I love the first line, Nanya. "Before autumn completely turns this city into a bushfire..."
    Beautiful sights you're certainly enjoying!

  2. Getting to visit Christmas markets early, perching on a magnificent throne, and having royalty for friends- lucky you, living there!
    Make the most of it, woman!