Sunday, November 02, 2014

Monschau (Germany): The Pearl of the Eifel

I am always happiest when I am at home and with the Dutchman or when I am travelling, with or without him. When you are happy, you become contented. Now this means that the act of travelling makes me a very contented woman. It is a vicious cycle I guess, the happiness and travelling thing, alhough recently, my thirst for travelling has slowed down a bit. I guess contentment has slowly catched up. It worries me somehow though because I still want to see the world, but at the same time this brings a warm, and new, yet familiar feeling within. Can you relate?

This trip to Monschau was a last minute plan when I missed my flight to Riga, Latvia last March. It was all my fault so I am not going to moan and cry over milk that I spilt over myself. Instead, I took charge and moved on. Monschau and Lille became the substitutions =)

This is Monschau on Google Maps and my driving route from Utrecht, the Netherlands:

You can move the map by holding it with your mouse, as well as zoom it in and out by clicking on the + and - signs at the lower right hand side.

Monschau [click for tourist info] has been described as the ‘Pearl of the Eifel’ because it is a very charming and picturesque village with preserved half-timber houses in the Eifel mountains on the Rur River Valley. The whole place not only exudes with history, architecture, but also with romance. Yes, it is a dreamy little village.

Not many people know about this village except for the locals and neighbouring cities and countries (Belgium and Netherlands). In fact here in the Netherlands not many people know about the place, only in the southern part in Limburg and North Brabant are people more familiar with it, and I reckon because of its Christmas Markets.

When I arrived town I right away had lunch on the market square. I had a warm schnitzel and fries and had a good view of the square from where I was sitting. After lunch I did some strolling and window shopping. Yep, literally window shopping, if you know what I mean =)

I wanted to try the Monschauer Dütchen which is a sponge biscuit cake formed like an open cone and usually filled with cream or ice cream, but I was so full from my lunch that just the thought of it made me sad. Perhaps next time.

And like most villages in the mountains, Monschau becomes a sleepy town after 17:00 when all the day tourists have gone back to their hotels and homes.

The town has more than 12,000 residents and the core centre is very compact and can easily be strolled within 30 minutes to an hour.

Only residents can park inside the town. Parking for visitors are located outside the village and there is a huge parking area at the back.

The River Rur flowing through the village.

One of the shopping streets in Monschau.

A little bit of history:

The settlement of Monschau (until 1918 Montjoie) owes its foundation to the castle built by the Dukes of Limburg in the 12th century.

The rise of the town was connected with the development in the manufacture of cloth since the first half of the 17th century. Its heyday was in the 18th century: Through a continuous improvement in its quality, fine cloth from Monschau became a brand article that was also exported outside of Europe. With the occupation by the French and the transfer of the Rhineland to Prussia began the demise of the cloth industry.

You can see the old castle ruins above the hills. I actually went up there.

Hanging art (from the bridge): metal fish bone

A local specialty: Monschauer Dutchen which is a sponge type of biscuit cake and usually filled with cream or ice cream. I so wanted to try this but I was too full from the schnitzel lunch.

This is another local specialty: Monschauer Vennbrocken which is a mix of marzipan, nougat, cointreau liquor and truffel.

The market square filled with cafe terraces.

You can find small cafes in the corner and narrow back streets of the village.

The church is located on the market square and beside the River Rur.

A peek inside the church which has a half arena type set up. The altar is placed on the left side (see candle, red table and pulpit on the mid left) and what you are looking straight into is the organ (not the altar).

The village was quite busy for a sunny end of March winter day. Many tourists were local German tourists from neighbouring regions on a day trip.

A house on the other side of the river.

I wanted to eat at this restaurant with the hanging terrace, however it was closed for the season.

A quick stop for coffee is always good. I managed to pick a National park Eifel tourist brochure from the tourist office.

This was at the outdoor terrace of Hotel Horchem which has a very nice location on the river and just before reaching the market square.

Travel Period: March 2014
Destination: Monschau (North Rhine-Westphalia), Germany

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Happy Travels! Enjoy Life =)

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