Münster: Germany’s city of Bikes

“In Münster, I had the unusual opportunity to encounter and participate in a remarkable piece of history.”

Henry A. Kissinger

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The final trip to mark the first ‘half’ of my Year Abroad being over, was a trip to the city of Münster, considered to be the cultural capital of Bundesland Nordrhein Westfalen (NRW). Münster has also been named ‘the bike capital of Germany’ and this was very apparent even upon arrival at the Hauptbahnhof!

Not quite sure where we were going, due to the lack of an obvious Tourist Information bureau, we followed the crowd and the stream of bicycles, in what thankfully turned out to be the direction of the Altstadt. Having heard several good things about the town I was keen to experience it for myself and make my own judgement and I tell you what, I was not disappointed.

The city’s Altstadt is surrounded by a narrow area of parkland, or a ‘green belt’, marking where the old city walls once stood. Crossing this Park, we were soon in the centre of the old town and greeted by an array of churches, christmas markets and beautiful buildings dating back to the Hanseatic era . Despite the fact that Münster’s location is inland it is one of Germany’s Hanseatic cities, meaning it was part of a commercial and trading alliance which incorporated the following towns, Hamburg, Bremen, Lübeck and Danzig,  in the Late Middle Ages bringing them a great deal of prosperity and importance. We spent some time wandering around and ticking off the sights, such as the Rathaus (Town hall), various churches, the Dom (Cathedral) as well as the Marktplatz (Market place).

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Rathaus

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Prinzipalmarkt

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Hanseatic Architecture

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Once we had investigated all in the heart of the old town we wandered out a bit further along the edge, following a sweet little stream and finding more picturesque buildings.

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After covering most of the sights we decided it was about time for lunch and went in search of Vapiano (what I would best describe as the Italian version of Nandos). We had a delicious lunch and then spent the remaining part of the afternoon, exploring the shops and Christmas Markets. There we discovered a stall selling flavoured Finnish Honey with extra ingredients including menthol and eucalyptus, cappuccino flavouring and there was even one with a few dashings of Vodka.  A strange but interesting concept – I’m sure that would help cure a few colds in the Winter!

At about 4 o’clock, when darkness was approaching we returned to the Hauptbahnhof and boarded the train back to Düsseldorf – another successful adventure completed.