Archive for the ‘Aachen’ Category

All Seasons Hotel in Aachen, Germany

Saturday, January 9th, 2010

Yesterday was a day off from performing and look at this contempo-fabulous hotel we stayed in!…All Seasons Hotel in Aachen, Germany.  My bathroom actually had a tub I could fit in, and there were at least 3 English news channels, and best of all…free wifi!  Praise God!

This morning, I enjoyed a moment in the reading room’s bean bag chairs…

Before going walkabout to Aachen with Narada and Travis.  Most of you don’t know that I have a special fondness for gargoyles, and here are two fierce ones chillin’ on a nearby church…seems like one is on a leash!

Further down is a piece of crucifixion art.  I suppose it’s very contemporary.  It’s close to a huge spa, “Carolus Thermen”, one of many in Aachen.

This was my favorite part of the walkabout, in this storybook/romantic winter wonderland.  If you squint reeeeally hard, you can see me in my black coat on top of the bridge.

Another view of me and the bridge…

Beyond the bridge is a HUGE park, where the snow is so deep, we couldn’t see where the sidewalks ended or began…it was just a bunch of vast, deeply snow-filled park!

Across from the casino, “Spielcasino”, is a hot spring fountain (note the sulfery steam).

What I loved most about this fountain is that the ducks are sooooo happy in the warm water!  If I were a duck, this is where I’d like to be!

Aachener Rathaus is the Gothic city hall of Aachen, first built in the 14th Century, as a sign of their civil liberties. For the ceremonial signing of the peace treaty ending the War of the Austrian Succession in 1748 the Hall of Peace was established.  The city of Aachen received portraits of the apostles, which are now located in different rooms of City Hall.  In the middle of the 19th Century, the facade facing the market was equipped with 50 kings as well as symbols of the arts, science and Christianity.  After only two costly fires through the centuries, Aachener Rathaus was restored by 1920.  During the Second World War, the city hall was severely damaged by bombing. Restoration began in the 1940s and ended in the 1970s.  Today, faithful copies of the crown jewels from Vienna Secular Treasury are there, reminiscent of the 31 royal coronations, which took place from 813 to 1531 in Aachen. Among them are the Reichsevangeliar (a manuscript from the time of Charlemagne), the sword of Charlemagne, the imperial crown and the orb.

I zoomed in and cropped the above picture, to prove that I really am on the front landing, but the place is just so crazy big that you wouldn’t even see me in the zoom shot if if weren’t for my purple hair!!!  Hah!!!  Good decision, after all:)

You can see the Aachen Cathedral beyond the Markt (marketplace).  There were lots of “lady stores” with fabulous European fashion inside, but I’m just letting you know that I abstained!!!  I didn’t buy anything!!!  And that, my friends, is a miracle:)

Below is only part of the cathedral, or “Imperial Cathedral (Kaiserdom)” of Aachen.  The church is the oldest cathedral in northern Europe and was known as the “Royal Church of St. Mary at Aachen” during the Middle Ages. For 600 years, from 936 to 1531, the Aachen chapel was the church of coronation for 30 German kings and 12 queens. The church is the episcopal seat of the Diocese of Aachen.  Charlemagne, when he died in 814, was buried in a vault in the cathedral.

Since autumn 2000, the cathedral treasure (“Domschatzkammer”) features precious reliquaries, liturgical artefacts and garments as well as insignia of archbishops and cathedral clergy from the 4th to the 20th century, medieval sculptures and Frankish grave finds.  The most significant exhibits to admire are St. Peter’s crosier and chains and the baroque Engelbert shrine which originates from 1633.

We had been looking forward to “the big white building”, officially called Elisenbrunnen, all journey long, and when we finally saw it, we were very impressed with it’s bigness and whiteness, but then…what IS it?!  We could see straight through the “front doors” to the outside behind the structure.  So…what IS it?  I took a few pics, then headed home to Google and this is what I found out…

Because of its numerous hot springs, Aachen was a seaside resort and spa. Even the Romans used the hot springs as spas. By the end of the 17th Century, Aachen was established as the “fashionable spa,” which was visited by royalty and other celebrities. Elisenbrunnen was completed in 1827 as a representative structure of Aachen’s “healing waters”.  The Elisenbrunnen consists of an open foyer with a portico and a pavilion on the left and right, each with several rooms. Two drinking fountains flowed with warm water from the “imperial source”. The water is very sulfurous, so the Elisenbrunnen always smells of rotten eggs (hydrogen sulfide). I experienced this firsthand today!  Celebrities who drank from the fountain include Peter the Great, Giacomo Casanova, and George Frideric Handel. Established in 1907, the right side of the pavilion is the Aachen Transport Association, while the left part is a restaurant.  In 1938, the lower drinking area was closed.

In the Second World War, the Elisenbrunnen was almost completely destroyed by bombing, then faithfully reconstructed in the early 1950s. In 1971, the large fountain basin was replaced with African granite, which has a higher resistance to the hot and mineralized thermal waters. Since then, the water of the imperial source bubbles from two lions’ mouths, which are mounted on the granite bowls.

Behind the building, the Elisenbrunnen joins with a small park, Elisengarten, developed from 1873 to 1891.

Here I am participating in the “Klenkes show”, which is an old greeting between fellow Aachens…

“Klenkes-Denkmal” monument from 1970.  The Klenkes is the distinguishing feature of people of Aachen, and the well-know gesture of greeting between each other. It is the  little finger of the right hand. Aachen was known for its cloth industry and needle factories. The workers, often women or children, used to check and sort out the needles, her right little finger. Over time, the cloth industry increasingly lost its dominant role in the region of Aachen. But  the little finger remained the symbol of the Klenkes.

And then the journey was over.  Back to the All Seasons Hotel to pack up the bus and head to Alsdorf, Germany, where our show is tonight.  There is a local news crew here this evening to tape some backstage footage which will be aired locally (throughout Germany) tonight.  In other news, I hear the stage is SMALL, like a hallway really, so I can’t wait to snap some shots at mic check and gear up for Newsletter 6!  I hope it’s as entertaining to you as it sounds to me!

Have a blessed day and unless your “cold” is 19 degrees, it ain’t cold!!!  :)P

Genießen Sie die Sonne! (Enjoy the sun!)