On Wednesday several guests joined our Aachen friends Marion Heinrichsen and Franz Thelen for a tour of the historic city of Aachen. Franz who is 82 has a deep sense of the history of the city which goes back to the legend of Charlemagne’s horse who founded the city by pawing the earth discovering a hot springs. In preparation of the tour Marion spent hours preparing the history and educated and entertained us with great stories of each of the spots we stopped.
The most important historical epoch of Aachen started with the takeover of the government by Charlemagne in 768 AD. The imperial palace by the hot water sources soon became Charlemagne's permanent residence and so developed into a spiritual and cultural reservoir.
Charlemagne was buried in the [Cathedral of Aachen] in 824. Two hundred years later he was canonized, which resulted in a flow of pilgrims wishing to visit and see Charlemagne's tomb and the relics he gathered during his life. The Cathedral was our final stop after Marion and Franz took us on a walk around the historic city telling us the tales behind the many fountains and the bronze statues, and ancient buildings which include the original castle of Charlemagne and an old bookstore (now a bar) where books were price by their weight and not their content.
Deborah Hausman whose jumper stallion Nassau would finish sixth in the Prize de Europe with Jeroen Dubbledam later that afternoon, brought her mother Dorothy Lunde. “Do you know how many cities we have just visited never taking the time to explore their history?”
But it wasn't all history as we passed a multitude of fabulous shops with clothes, shoes, jewelry, and Aachen’s Printen store, famous for the gingerbread cookies. We would lose a few of our guests as the Paxton women Jackie and Janet were easily side tracked when fashion and shoes took precedent over the next statue on the walk.
Most of the store windows had the theme of horses and the CHIO Aachen event, where a grand prize is given to the best design. Our pick was the window of the Printen store where the Lipizzaner Stallions who performed at Aachen this year were fashioned in a Quadrille of frosted horses in perfect unison.
Our final destination was Franz’s favorite bar/restaurant where we were greeted with a buffet of good German food, and beer, and we were done in time to get everyone back to the Stadium in time for the beginning of the Grand Prix.
We brought banners and flags for each of our riders, and our group seated behind A, were there to cheer as Steffan Peters and George Williams set the standard for the Nations Cup, the team competition launching the United States into first place.
l-r - Marion Heinricksen, Fred Stallings, Ursula, Franz Thelen, Barb Putnam, Mary Cornelius, Linda Stallings, JJ. Hathaway, Margaret Heroy,Jackie, John and Janet Paxton.