Sunday, September 11, 2011

Time traveling I - Muenster (1993 - 2000)

Slowly a summer of traveling comes to an end. My last longer trip was a one week stay at my sister's place to babysit my wonderful niece (the coolest 23-months-old girl on planet earth). My sister lives with her family in Muenster, North-West Germany and a 50 min flight away from Munich.

is a beautiful town as you will see soon and always scores top ranks in the listings of most livable cities in Germany and even in Europe. Muenster has around 270.000 citizens with almost 50.000 of them being students. And this is where the time traveling starts, because from 1993 to 2000 I was one of those 50.000 students and lived in Muenster
myself. So visiting my sister means visiting my own past as well.

On the Friday of my Muenster week one of my very best friends came over from Cologne
. She never really visited the city before and so I took her on a little walk around.

We first started in my old neighborhood. I lived in three different apartments during my student time but never moved more than 500 m because my hood - Kreuzviertel
- is the most beautiful in town. My sister, who also studied in Muenster, stayed in town after graduation and still lives only a few steps from my / our (we lived together for a while) old place.

Walking Kreuzviertel -  two of the houses I lived in and our old street:

From there we walked up to the city center along the "Promenade". This is the old contravallation around the historic city center and today a wonderful, green "bicycle freeway" you can use to bike (and walk) around the city center being away from all car traffic except some cross roads. That's an important thing since Muenster is a bike city and sometimes even called "Little Bejing" for the ten thousand of bikes on the streets. At the time of my visit we still had semester break time and so it's unusually empty.

On your way downtown we passed by the antiquarian bookstore that is famous through the popular German TV show "Wilsberg".

Muenster is a very roman-catholic city and PACKED with churches. A proverb even says that in Muenster always the church bells ring or it is raining - and most of the time it's BOTH! I can confirm that this is a true story, but at that day we were lucky ... only the church bells were ringing.

Across from the book store is the Ueberwasser Church:

Only a short walk away is the St. Paulus Cathedral:

And another short walk away the St. Lamberti Church:

Across from the cathedral you will find this quite boring looking building called Fürstenberghaus. The Westfaelische Wilhelms-University is not built around a campus but spread out all over the city. The Fürstenberghaus is one of the countless university buildings in town and I spent lots and lots of hours under the roof in the Institute for Eastern European History (I have a M.A. in political science (major), communication science (minor) and history (minor)) - one of my favorite places.

After a short stop for cold drinks we walked on to the historic old town part of Muenster. If you look at the following pictures you might not believe it, but the city center was destroyed to 91% in World War II. Lots of buildings were replaced with modern structures but some parts were care- and beautifully reconstructed.

The Prinzipal Markt:

The old city hall including the "Friedenssaal"  (Hall of Peace):

Inside this building the 30 Years' War was ended with the signing of the Peace of Westphalia in 1648. It happened in this room:

And it involved these politicians (this is less than half of the gallery):

After leaving the old city hall I took my friend to another historic place but not for the city history- only for me. Except our small half-orphan pension my sister and I mostly had to finance our student life ourselves. Just working through break time would not do it and so we had a permanent part time job. And although it was often much less fun than it might look like, we had - like I still think - the coolest job in town: We were selling RECORDS!
The record shop called CD-Forum still exists which is remarkable in a time when big electronic shops with face- and soulless music departments displaying usually only the latest bestsellers and some bargain CDs have almost completely taken over German city centers. My sister and her husband are still regular customers and I love to go there as well when I am in town.

After the long walk our feet hurt a bit and we were hungry and so we stopped at one of Muenster's most famous fast food places and it's really a "MUST DO" when you are in town:  The Hot Dog Station!

The specialty (besides two dozen different hot dogs) is that they do not use Wieners but Dutch Frikandels - that is kind of a deep fried minced meat in the form of a sausage. As you might guess it is not exactly healthy but's AWESOME. Can't wait for my next Hot Dog Special which I will most likely eat sometimes between Christmas and New Year's Even, when I visit my family again.

The rest of the day we spent with shopping (Muenster is a great shopping city), hanging out with my family and eating healthier food - delicious Spanish tapas at Tapa Tapa.

If you are or ever come to this part of Germany plan in a trip to Muenster - it's worth it ... and not only for the hot dogs.


  1. Muenster seems to be a really nice town, lively and cosy at the same time. I'm impressed with the reconstructors' work: if I hadn't known that the town was practically demolished during the war, I would never have guessed, the historic part looks absolutely authentic. The churches are very impressive as well. Looks like there's a lot to see and to do in Muenster. :))) Thanks a lot for this post! :)

  2. I'm glad to call it my home town... and even if I'll maybe move away some day I'll always call it my home, because this city has a much bigger place in my heart than Wesel.