For the first time, we took the advice of friends and traveled an hour and a half or so to the Aachen Christmas market. We met up with those friends, who live nearby in the Netherlands, which made the visit even more fun.
We walked all around the market together (minus The Girl, her friend, and The Boy, who were set loose for a couple of hours). I took this photo outside the lovely Town Hall. We went inside briefly but opted not to take the tour, especially since our friends had already done that.
Husband just had to stop for a piece of pfannekuchen, a German puffed pancake with apple. They had some with plums, too, but he went with the traditional apple. If I am remembering correctly, he got another piece before we left the market.
I took a photo of this for some reason; I believe this is the quaint exterior of the oldest pub in town.
We didn't end up with any pictures of the famous Aachen Cathedral, where Charlemagne is buried and more than 30 German kings were crowned. They want you to pay to take photos inside, and I just wasn't sure I could do this remarkable place justice with my iPad's camera. We fell in love with this cathedral, though--it has now become one of our favorites anywhere. It's a bit reminiscent, on a much smaller scale, of the Hagia Sophia. Seriously! We'll have to take pics another time.
Now let's move on to another day, after Christmas. We managed to pick one of the gloomiest days (weather-wise) of the holiday (and that's saying a lot--there were many to choose from!) to take the kids on an impromptu day-trip to Metz. The rain absolutely poured down on us during our drive, but thankfully, by the time we parked our car in a garage adjacent to St. Etienne Cathedral, the rain had stopped. This cathedral, built between the 13th and 16th centuries and considered one of the most beautiful in France, also boasts France's highest steeple.
Inside, I went straight to the series of stained glass windows I like that are by Marc Chagall. Beautiful!
I kept trying to get some good shots in some of the darker parts of the Cathedral, but let's face it: the iPad isn't quite up to such a challenge. I do like this photo of the Fam, sitting somewhat patiently against a wall, waiting for me to stop being frustrated and just move along. I think they look like the members of a chill indie band.