Hello again Münster! It’s been 17 years since I first came here and nothing and everything has changed. It’s still the quaint and quiet historic town that I remember.
After a plane ride from Rome to Dusseldorf plus 1 hr-train trip and short drive, I found myself deep in the heart of the Nordrhein-Westfalen state in Germany.
Just a couple of minutes from the Autobahn, this small city is a total throwback to the middle ages. Modern comforts, German engineering and efficiency, red-brick homes, medieval castles, cobblestone streets, ancient churches.
To keep up with my list-making tradition. Here’s a couple of things I love about Münster and my first week in Germany:
1. Kaffe und Kuchen – the wonderful German tradition of Coffee and Cake every afternoon. Their cakes are fantastic. Rich cream, fresh berries, smooth custard, melt-in-your-mouth crust.
2. Kaffe und Kuchen – the amazing combo of coffee and the heavenli-est cakes known to man. One of Germany’s best contributions to life. Check this out and tell me I speak of untruths.
3. Architecture – everywhere you look, you see red bricks and row buildings. Medieval and historic with a smattering of modern buildings. Bottom line: picture perfect!
4. St. Lambert’s Church – with it’s creepy spires and gargoyles and prisoner cages, it’s one of my favorite church designs ever. In 1535, these cages were used to display the corpses of leaders of the Münster Rebellion, who promoted polygamy and renunciation of all property. Fun fact: My uncle’s great grandfather was one of the stone sculptors/carvers during the construction of the Church.
5. St. Paul’s Cathedral – built in the 13th century and among the most significant church buildings in Münster and, along with the City Hall, is one of the symbols of the city. The St. Paulus Dom was bombed during WWII but completely restored now. Inside the church is a massive astronomical clock made in 1540. The clock has hand-painted zodiac symbols, which traces the movement of the planets.
This church is very significant to me because right across the entrance, there’s a giant statue of St. Christopher. He is the patron saint of travellers and 17 years ago, when I made my first solo journey to Münster, my dad gave me a gold St. Christopher medallion. I was 11 years old. The necklace is now being worn by my younger brother.
Another awesome thing is the Weekly Market held every Wednesday and Saturday on the Cathedral grounds. You can find a lot of local products and delicacies from fresh produce to gourmet food items to souvenirs and more.
6. Prinzipalmarkt– the main shopping street of Münster. Home to a row of historic buildings with picturesque pediments attached to one another and filled with luxury stores and expensive cafés. It was also completely destroyed during WWII but reconstructed back to its original state.
7. Medieval Castles – some of the castles here date back to the Middle Ages and they are beyond cool! The first castle I visited was Burg Vischering in Lüdinghausen. The castle consists of outer defensive courtyard, defensive gateways, moat, drawbridge, main building and chapel. While walking the walls, I could imagine archers guarding the gates and enemy knights storming the keep. The Master’s Bedroom had a hole in the middle of the floor where people could safely slide down and escape to a side door where a rowboat was waiting. Awesome!!
The second castle I visited was Schloss Nordkirchen. This massive castle is called the “Versailles of Westphalia” because it’s the biggest castles with a moat. It was built in the 18th century. Note: The ducks are wild.
8. Parks, Lakes, Recreation – everything is so green. I’ve gone blind. The air is unreal. On the bus from Münster to my Aunt’s town of Albachten, all you can see are forests and lakes and farms and vast tracks of land. Even the walk from the bus stop to her house is just scenes of green.
10. The Filipina Ladies – my aunt’s Filipina friends who welcomed me with a couple of nice gifts and the best chocolates. Plus, I got to eat pansit, paksiw, rice, nilat-ang na sabaw and all FIlipino food that I’ve missed so much after almost 2 months. They also prepared some going-away presents to take back to Cebu.
10. Livin La Vida Local – as Belle says “there must be more than this provincial life”. Well, there are probably lots more but was not looking for anything else. I loved my week in Münster. It was quiet, peaceful, chill. After a month of chasing after schedules, backpacking, taking planes and trains and buses, getting lost with my friends in Paris and Italy, my short break in Münster was exactly what I needed. I was able to reconnect with the city. I met a new friend who toured me around. I shopped a little. I did my version of local living. Here are some snapshots of my short stay in this lovely city.
• Chillin at home with a couple bottles of Radler. A German beer with lemon flavour. Refreshing, light, not so bitter, lesser alcohol. The best thing that has happened to a non-beer drinker like me.
• Grocery shopping. One of my favourite things to do in other countries is to go buy stuff at the local grocery or market. It’s a great way to observe people, save money and eat yummy food. The Outdoor Market in St. Paul’s Cathedral is still the best. Lots of choices! Also, The yogurt section here in Europe is insane but my favourite is the Movenpick yogurt. RIDICULOUS! It’s almost like ice cream. One of the things I definitely miss. Also, I love how efficient the Germans are. There’s a bottle recycling machine outside the grocery store that exchanges plastic PET bottles with grocery credit that you can use to shop.
• Coffee Breaks. Without the cake! Taking a short breather in one of the cafes in the city is perfect for people-watching and just recharging from all that walking. This cafe outside the library near my bus stop is one of my fave spots.
• Happy Hour. My aunt and I dropped by her favourite joint, Besitos. So yes, I had tapas and cocktails at a Spanish Restaurant in Germany. The food was good and I am officially a fan of the Long Paloma. A jumbo cocktail with vodka, gin, tequila, triple sec, lime, lemon, zitrone and pink grapefruit lemonade. As a result, we missed the last bus home.
• Bakery Hopping. The breads “Brot” here are fantastic. Crunchy, soft, savoury, huge, freshly baked. Yum! Plus I got to try some legit pretzels. And that is SALTY. Like seriously baked with 5 barrels of salt kind of salty. Not my jam.
And that’s the end of the Münster leg. Thank you Tita Cora (and Tito Manfred too!) for showing me around, for being my travel tag-team partner, for cooking rice and bacon, for all the goodies and treats, for pushing me to shop because it’s meant to be haha, for taking me to meet your ‘ladies’, for being a part of my grand adventure.
Münster, you have not seen the last of me!!!