For more than a year now, I’ve written about Charlemagne, talked about Charlemagne, answered questions about Charlemagne, joked about Charlemagne, fielded emails about Charlemagne, translated poems about Charlemagne, and have otherwise come to see the old boy as a sort of ghostly roommate who makes dubious excuses (“dude, I totally left my wallet in my other rodent-fur cloak”) whenever he’s asked to contribute to the rent.
The thing is, there was one Charlemagne-related thing I hadn’t done—specifically, a Charlemagne-related place I hadn’t visited—and I got a little tired of people expressing surprise about that. So, on a whim and sort of at the last minute: greetings from Aachen.
A few lessons for those similarly inclined: Maastrict-Aachen Airport does not, in fact, service the city of Aachen. However, the airport does give you a wonderful opportunity to discover the Dutch language skills you didn’t know you had while you enjoy a crash course on the bus system of provincial Limburg. In the rain. Next to lots of billboards advertising a museum retrospective about Smurfs.
But you know what? As Chaucer’s Friar Hubert famously declared: It beats being in the office.