Face masks were everywhere in Monschau and it was refreshing and scary at the same time.
We went just across the Dutch border to Monschau a couple of days ago, for the first and hopefully not the last time this year, and it was a little jarring in the beginning. Like many previous visits we were again at a loss with parking, only this time we knew where the main parking lot was but then couldn’t figure out how to pay the German parking meters. All our different payment cards were rejected and while we had actual cash we didn’t have coins for the meter. After retreating from one parking lot in search of another, we had to drive through the narrow, medieval streets, through the old town center, carefully snaking past pedestrians, street-side restaurant tables, and a UPS delivery truck – not once but twice! – until we reached the parking lot at the other side of town only to find the circumstances were the same. This time though I did notice ads for a free parking app that could take care of our problem and once I confirmed that Teko’s Dutch parking app didn’t work in Germany, I crossed my fingers, downloaded and set up the app, and was relieved to high heavens that it seemed to work as advertised. After that harrowing start it was all easy sailing.
The main point of visiting Monschau was lunch and the first thing that caught my eye was Flosdorff next to the church along a prominent corner of the main square. It was easy getting a table – face masks to get inside were mandatory though – and given the harried staff and busy clientele we both expected a long lunch ahead of us. While it felt unnatural going anywhere with a face mask after not having to do so in the Netherlands, it didn’t take long before I got used to it and was satisfied that we were seated in anticipation of a reliable meal. Monschau isn’t a town like Cartmel in the U.K. or small towns in France where meals are done with a certain dedication, definitely not a setting for chefs menus and rows of glassware on the table. What it is is a hugely characteristic town, highly popular as a Christmas destination, with decent, simple food served in vaguely German fashion, which is more of what Teko and I were there for. Extended as our lunch was, the roasted chicken breast was delicious and the warm apple strudel was the best I’ve had in a while, and a stop at the year-round Christmas store, plus a walk around town to burn off calories afterwards was enough to cap off another successful visit to the fairytale-like town that’s at times too attractive for its own good. With luck we’ll be back again in a few months for the Yuletide feels, minus the overcrowding and negative health advice please.
Interesting to note, the local choo-choo train used in ferrying people around town, and which I imagine doesn’t travel outside the town borders, has honest to goodness license plates.