Last weekend the Dutch girlfriends and I planned a little escape. Fall was in the air and we were craving a change – a weekend outside of Amsterdam or a day in another city. We marked the weekend in our calendars without making a concrete plan. If the weather was sunny and gorgeous, we could head up to Texel and stroll the beach. If it rained, we could spend the day shopping and eating in Antwerp. And if it was a clear, fall day, we could trek a bit further and spend the day in Germany, drinking crisp beers and exploring a new city – which is exactly what we ended up doing!Melissa picked us up at the crack of dawn. I’d gone out on Friday night and was *dead* after only three hours of sleep, but the adrenaline of visiting a new city for the first time is often stronger than a good cup-o-joe, and so by the time we reached Münster (our decided German destination) I was refreshed and ready to go! This post is going to be more beautiful than informative, as I did no research on Münster ahead of time and don’t have a boat load of recommendations to share. We looked at good ol’ Google Maps once or twice for navigation guidance, but left the rest up to luck! We stumbled into shops, ate at random stops, and gawked at the numerous stunning churches. We started our morning in the city center. We’d all passed on breakfast in Amsterdam so we could enjoy our first meal of the day at a traditional German bakery, which was unexpectedly caped by flags and a beautiful German church. We placed our orders at a small bakery right off of the main square. I’m a terrible blogger, because while I’m pretty sure we ate at Pain et gateau (Michaelispl 9, 48143 Münster) I can’t say with 100% certainty that’s where we dined. But we ate at a cute bakery within eyesight of the Lambertikirche (St Lambert’s Church). There were lots to choose from, and really, the atmosphere was what made breakfast special.For whatever reason (maybe this is a year-round embellishment) the city streets leading up to the Lambertikirche were draped in yellow, white, and orange flags. We felt welcomed and cheerful as locals scurried about on their weekend adventures.This church kind of reminded me of the cathedral in Cologne!
Münster is similar to Amsterdam, in that the locals love their bikes. Overall I would say we were excellent tourists, as our Amsterdam-training had us avoiding bike lanes and respecting those cruising faster on two wheels.There were many adorable terraces around the Lambertikirche, and while I could have sat outside in the fall sun all day sipping beer, Melissa is actually pregnant (!!!!!!) and so our activities were slightly less boozy than normal. We strolled down the Prinzipalmarkt, Münster’s historic marketplace, picking up small gifts and goodies for friends in Amsterdam.^ ^ Check out these awesome condiment collections!!! At McDonalds in Holland, ketchup is .50 cents per packet. I almost felt at home (American-home) in Germany with the generous amount of condiments lining each table!^ ^ The Erbdrostenhof Palace.This 3-D city map was actually way more accurate than Google Maps ;)We stopped in adorable artsy cafes for teas and juice, warming up every now and again and stealing wifi :)^ ^ This is the ceiling of the Clemenskirche, which I didn’t get a chance to snap on the outside. But holy cow, the ceiling mural was breathtaking.
The most notable attraction in Münster is St. Paul’s Cathedral, which was built in the 13th century and features a mix of Roman and Gothic architecture. In the morning and early afternoon, a large market was set up around the cathedral, which made a stunning backdrop for afternoon shopping.
The inside of St. Pauls was beautiful. I would love to see a mass held here, or someone play the gargantuan organ!! Perhaps my favorite feature was this bird bell. Where can I get one of these for my apartment?!
After exploring the cathedral, we walked down what was probably my favorite street in Münster – a colorful brick lane, lined with bright houses, bars, restaurants, and adorable signage. We were slightly early for the evening rush, but I can imagine that on a nice night, the street becomes packed and lively. We wound through a small park (can I have this owl statue, too??) making our way towards the palace. The Schloss Palace was built in 1767. Today, it’s an administrative centre for the local university.^ ^ I took the photo above and Melissa took the one below. I’m in LOVE with her camera, and you can really tell the difference in quality. Her camera has a real knack for capturing just the right lighting and mood. Not to knock my Cannon Rebel, as it’s awesome. But man, her photos make me ready for a camera upgrade ;) v vAfter exploring the grounds around the palace, we strolled back into the botanical gardens. The gardens are now maintained by the university, which is a big task, as they contain more than 8,000 plant species!!
We relaxed for a bit in the gardens, tired after walking around all day! After hanging on a sunny bench for about an hour, we decided to walk back into the city center for dinner.
We chose an adorable cafe called Grosser Kiepenkerl, which I would highly recommend. We hadn’t seen any ratings prior, and stumbled in by pure luck. One look at the menu and we were sold. They offered a special porcini menu. Porcinis are rare, wild mushrooms from Münster’s local forests. They are a delicacy in the region and not to be missed! The menu also featured a ton of hearty german classics – roast potato soup with sausage slices, velvety pumpkin cream soup, crispy Schnitzel with dumplings, veal ragout, and pan fried sausages with apples, tanned onions and mashed potatoes. My stomach LOVES German food. I went for the ragout, and was informed upon ordering that it was made with veal and pork organs!! The waitress convinced me it was a local favorite, and so I went for it, hoping it wouldn’t taste too much like cat food ;)I have to say, it was absolutely delicious!! Washed down with a tall cold beer, the meal was a hearty gem – one I would definitely order again. We finished the meal with some shared deserts (the rice pudding was an A+) and then headed back to the car for the 2.5 hour drive home. Overall it was an awesome day venturing outside of Amsterdam, one filled with good friends, good food, and beautiful sights!! If you’re in Holland for an extended holiday or period of time, I would definitely recommend taking a ride over to Germany. The food, people, and architecture are all so beautifully different, and make for a wonderful little weekend escape.