The world record holder of backwards running is from Muenster NRW. But that is not what makes it worth a detour if you are already visiting Duesseldorf, Cologne, Bonn or Aachen. (Perhaps you’re also on an easy hike in the nearby Hermannshoehen trail?)
Muenster is a charming town that is not short on historical significance.
From the Prinzipalmarkt, while having a hearty German lunch, you can look up the tower of the Lambertikirche and imagine starving Anabaptists looking longingly at your dish while languishing inside the hanging iron cages.
These cages are the original ones and are powerful reminders of the rather violent defeat of the Anabaptists in their attempt to make Münster the capital of their proto communist movement in the 16th century. They have also been recently nominated to receive the UNESCO European Cultural Heritage Label (which they are confident of getting.)
A turn of the head and you will see the equally noteworthy Friedenssaal, where the Peace Treaty to end the 30 year’s war was signed, and as a consequence of which brought about the birth of the modern state of the Netherlands.
If you are around on a Wednesday or a Saturday, the town‘s twice weekly market is just a few steps away from the Prinzipalmarkt. It is a lively market never missed by locals or visitors to get the freshest produce from all over the region (from fruits and veg, to meats and cheeses).
Muenster is one of the wealthier and more sophisticated towns in North Rhine-Westphalia and is also a pleasant university town. But the liveliness of Muenster is not confined to the Innenstadt or town centre.
Hop on a bike and weave around town on its ubiquitous bike lanes through the Promenade, a tree lined circular path marking the place where once the town walls stood….
… over to the Aasee, the town’s lake on whose grassy banks you can loll or picnic on a sunny summers day mingling with the town’s university student population or get paddling in the lake with rented pedal boats.
As Muenster is a university town, night life could be quite interesting.
Don’t fail to try the Bowle (a big glass of cold beer with pieces of fruits floating in it) at Pinkus, the restaurant/bar of the brewery that produces Pinkus beer (slightly darker than lager) that is typical of the region, its home.
And before you ask, it’s NOT where that cheese came from.