Christmas Markets in Mönchengladbach, December 2012
Day 1: A Snowy Welcome
I am planning to spend a year in Germany between 2014 and 2015 to experience living in another culture and of course to avail myself of the excellent cake selection.
I have been checking out various promising bits of Germany that are reasonably easy to get to from the UK (for visits) and are also good for cycling. Thus my trip to Nettetal in August (really nice place but a bit too quiet and mostly full of retired people!) and Koblenz (lovely but too far – 5 hours by car is no fun). Having studied a map it seemed that Mönchengladbach would probably fulfil all my requirements, being very close to the UK (2.5 hours from the Hook of Holland, 3 hours from Eurotunnel Calais), being a reasonable size (260,000 inhabitants, i.e. twice the size of Colchester) and having lots of reasonable looking cycling around and about.
I decided it would be sensible to visit MG to take a look-see and check if it’s the right place (a few German friends had commented that I might find it a bit boring) so I booked the ferry to Hoek van Holland and back and organised an apartment for five days in the centre of Mönchengladbach. I took the car (it was December after all) but had my trike in the car and hoped to be able to have a few cycle rides whilst in MG.
As it happened the weather was great and I was able to cycle every day. The links to my daily rides are above. And, more importantly, I discovered that Mönchengladbach isn’t the place I’m going to choose for my year in Germany but Kempen, a town about twelve miles north, is.