Fresh air, walkable, friendly, and cozy are all words that come to mind when thinking of the beautiful old city of Aachen, Germany. Team blue got well acquainted with the people and surroundings on our longest stop for Europe on Track.
We arrived in Aachen after a long train ride from Budapest. We were welcomed by our friendly hosts, Nils Barkawitz and Michael Schlicht, and led to our accommodation for a nice homemade supper and rest. With it being the Easter holiday, we had some time to catch up on work and much-needed sleep.
Our first morning, we decided to go for a nice group run through the forest up to the top of the hill. I fell in love with the city at this moment as it is so easy to find the woodland and surround yourself with nature, something which is very important to me. There was a feeling of complete inner peace as we wandered through the trees, with nothing more than the whimsical sound of songbirds, just as a light mist poured down upon our skin – refreshing and revitalizing.
We had the chance to stand in three countries at once, as the top of the hill is where the countries of Germany, Netherlands, and Belgium all meet up. We felt so lucky, as this was the first experience for us all.
One evening, we got to try a traditional German home cooked meal which consisted of mashed potato, bratwurst, and sauerkraut. The room was filled with laughter and warmth as we sat around the table in the student common area, sharing stories on our home countries.
We also had a quiet city tour with Michael, where we learned new facts about the westernmost city in Germany.
Developed from Roman influence, the ancient architecture breathes history. We learned the many legends to go along the intriguing design and enchanting landscape. For example, the legend of the Lousberg Hill:
Once upon a time, the devil was angry from a past experience with Aachen and headed to wreak havoc amongst the city. His plan was to smother out the city with his bag of sand. Before he got to the town, he met a woman who knew his plan and wanted to protect her home. So, she told the devil that Aachen was still a long journey away and would take several days. Not wanting to go any further, he dropped the bag of sand and left – therefore, creating the hill on the outskirts of Aachen, with a beautiful view overlooking the city.
Going hand-in-hand with our workshop on Food Sustainability, we got to spend the day with ‘Food Sharing’ ambassador, Michael Schlicht. We began by meeting up with him and other ambassadors after their stop at a local grocery store where they received an abundance of perishable food items, still in great condition. As Michael stated, the concept behind the ‘Food Sharing’ project is “to not have any food go to waste”. This is an innovative concept seen in several cities all over the country.
With the food items given by the project, we cooked a fresh lunch and brought some into our workshop for people to try.
To read more on the ‘Food Sharing’ program, click here!
With a day full of activities, we also had the chance to tour the local Urban Garden. An interesting project that has been developing over several years. After touring the garden and seeing the raised beds and plants, we got to work! As a team, we got our hands dirty and planted several willow trees! A feel-good experience as we felt the benefits of our actions.
Thank you for hosting us AEGEE-Aachen, see you somewhere in Europe!
For last week’s blog on Budapest, click here! Stay tuned for Team Blue’s next adventures in Eindhoven!
Written by Brittney St.Amant, Photos by Gab Mejia