This past week AGA and I have been entertaining John and Di, our two visitors from Melbourne. They had been sunning themselves in southern Italy and after leaving their main baggage with us were due to go to Prague for a week and so we decided that a little tour of rural Germany was in order, forming a pleasant Germanic interlude to their trip.
We decided upon the picturesque town of Monschau: A short drive south of Aachen, close to the Belgian border, and on the outskirts of the Eifel National Park. We booked a self-catering place in a nearby village, ordered a hire car and as soon as we had finished work, we collected said guests and were off!
Arriving at the car hire centre I was told that as we had chosen this particular weekend to hire a car, we were to be given a free upgrade. For those of you with an interest in such things this meant that we were now provided with a Renault Laguna which is a far larger car than I am used to driving. It has a press button for starting and stopping, an inbuilt GPS and more importantly plenty of luggage space. Added to this I must say that it handled the 130 kilometre speed limit on parts of the Autobahn with grace and the appearance of minimal effort, suiting us perfectly, especially as we had Frederick the Great playing his flute concerti on the CD Player.
Motoring south, we arrived in good time at our accommodation. This was located in the village of Höfen, centre of what is known as Hedge-land.
Why is it known as Hedge-land?
|This photograph was taken by Kirk Dale.|
Hedges are everywhere! Some are famous, such as this one. It is huge and surrounds the entire property:
Interestingly our accommodation, despite being right next to the Heckenweg (the scenic hedge avenue) only had one hedge, around the back:
After a leisurely unpacking of our cases, a cup of tea and a chat; we went to dinner at the local restaurant housed in an old dairy. At present it is Pfifferling season (that’s Chanterelle mushroom season to you) and almost every dish has it included in some form or another. I had pork medallions in pfifferling cream sauce and it was delicious. This being Germany there was a nice big dessert menu to choose from as well and while I am not a person to photograph restaurant food when my own choice arrived I had to take a photo because I had a feeling that this was going to be one of the best waffles with cherries and cream that I have ever had the pleasure to indulge in: And it was!:
The following day we journeyed the few kilometres north into the town of Monschau.
Like many of the town and villages along the German borders it has changed hands many times and up until 1918 was known by its French name: Montjoie. In this town there is a mix of traditional ‘Black and White’ architecture along with more sedate, cream, slate grey and steely blue coloured houses:
And then there were some truly lovely, palatial houses that we all decided we could easily live in!
Monschau is a small place and the Roccoco Mansion (the pinky-red building in the previous photo) which I had in mind to visit was only open at select times, but we had our guests to think of, and so rather than wait, we decided instead to return to the car and motor through the scenic Eifel countryside with its lakes, forests and meadowlands.
Weekends can be so short!
Before we knew it we were getting ready to leave.
We wanted our drive back home to be another chance for our guests to see history and rural charm and so we stopped at the Rheinisches Freilichtmuseum Kommern, an ‘Open Air’ Museum.
I don’t know about you but sometimes those open air museums can be somewhat tedious to say the least. This one however was extremely interesting. The buildings, most of which date from the 16th and 17th Century, have been gathered from all over the district and reassembled into four distinct ‘villages’ surrounded by meadows and gardens. The ‘olde worlde’ part is not over done and both we and our visitors had an extremely enjoyable time:
This proved to be the perfect way to finish our tour and we then motored back from whence we came, dropped of the car, and caught the bus back home. When we arrived, our own village's annual potato festival was still in full swing. The streets were packed and the music loud, however we were able to retire to our secluded bijou apartment for a well-deserved rest prior to ending our lovely weekend (once the crowds had departed) with a visit to ‘The Unicorn’ for a delightful dinner complete with toasts to a nice weekend, good friends and pleasant company.
I hope you enjoyed accompanying us on our weekend away!