05 June, 2007

Day 16: Riding to Aachen

"I ended up liking Aachen, its just hard to navigate once you leave the Zentrum, but the Zentrum was rockin'."

Today we left Belgium and rode back into Germany. The downtown of Aachen was preparing for a large event. It turns out that they were in the middle of religious pilgrimage that happens every seven years.

The dom in Aachen is a UNESCO site since it was the coronation site of some 30+ European kings including Charlemagne, who is fabled to have been born here and still currently resides in an intricate gold box.

Our first attempt to enter the dom was foiled by huge crowds, after a lunch break we tried again.

The architecture of the dom was nice, but the main draw of the pilgrimage was the religious artifacts temporarily put on display. We saw what was claimed to be a tunic worn by Mary, a sack that held the head of Jean the Baptiste, and diapers worn by Jesus... thats right the underpants of J.C.

Church officials gently touched items brought by pilgrims against the cloak of Mary to bless them. Most people brought candles, pictures, BBQ spare ribs, or trinkets..

P.S. Don't forget to take your hat off, I did..