In looking for our next home, it must be a place that inspires stories. Our globetrotting friends have so many wonderful stories of their own, and this guest post from Jackie Stanfield shares her adventures as a single woman traveling in Muenster, Germany. — Angela
Ah, Deutschland! My two-week trip in Germany was filled with many wonderful sights and places, but one that stood out to me was the lovely city of Muenster. I will admit that, up to this point, Muenster was a word that I primarily associated with a cheese that I did not like too much. Now when I hear Muenster, I think of an old city that has a youthful vibrancy about it that is palpable.
Okay, so the bicycles do not actually fly. However, when you’re in Muenster, getting hit by a bicycle is a credible threat.
Muenster is known as the bicycle capital of Germany, boasting somewhere in the neighborhood of 400,000 bicycles in the city, according to our guide. That is more than one bike per person! When you are there, it’s not so hard to believe. You see bikes parked everywhere. On the road, you will see the expected cyclists, like the university kids, but you will also see the grandmother with a loaf of bread from the market in her basket, happily peddling her way home. It looked like a scene out of a movie. Actually, the whole city seemed like a movie set.
There was a farmer’s market with the most beautiful strawberries and blueberries, gelato, and other treats. Fresh flowers of many different types were available for purchase. In fact, the entire time I was in Muenster it seemed there were flowers everywhere.
There was a quaint simplicity to this bustling city that I couldn’t quite put my finger on. Then our tour guide pointed out the signs. There is an ordinance in the Old City that only permits certain types of signage, which was all very tasteful and complimented the “Old City” aesthetic. The brief respite from the barrage of marketing that I am accustomed to experiencing daily was like a breath of fresh air.
As my group walked along and the guide shared facts about the city, I marveled at the idea that this city, like so much of Europe, was devastated by World War II. Our guide said that over 90 percent of the old city was destroyed and had to be rebuilt.
As we approached St. Paul’s Cathedral, my excitement grew, because I’d heard about an astronomical clock that put on quite a show each hour. Luckily, we had timed it just right. I had never seen an astronomical clock before, but to say this was elaborate is an understatement. t has a world map, stars, baby Jesus, the Three Kings, astronomers, and more! I sat there transfixed like a little kid as I watched each element move with synchronicity, like it had done for hundreds of years before. Easily one of the highlights of my entire trip.
After the thrill of the astronomical clock, I was famished. We dined at a small restaurant called Altes Gasthaus Leve. It had a homey atmosphere that felt like dining in an old-style tavern. My favorite part of our lunch was the Pinkus Münster Alt, a local, organic beer with a pale, golden color that’s served with a fresh fruit garnish. I am not typically a beer drinker, but these little beers with their apple garnish were so tasty, I had two.
After our meal, we made our way back to the train where the combination of fruity beer, a long day’s walk, and the rhythmic swaying of the car provided a perfect nap after a day in Muenster, where, ironically, I was not offered one bit of Muenster cheese.