life through the lens
The second stop on my enclave tour was at the five enclaves that make up the Vennbahn, a set of German territories near Aachen, set aside from the motherland by the width of a Belgian railtrack. The former Vennbahn railway, sovereign Belgian terrritory cutting through sections of Germany, is now a cycle path. So I see these enclaves as theoretical, more a consequence of the definition of who owns a railtrack bed - April 2014.
Running north to south, the enclaves are: Munsterbildchen, Rotgener Wald, Ruckschlag, Mutzenich and Ruitzhof.
Germany and Belgium both use the Euro
I used Aachen as a base to visit the Vennbahn. My Aachen photos
I took a bus from Aachen via Eupen to one of the Vennbahn enclaves, Mutzenich. It's a very rural area with not much to see! Mutzenich, Vennbahn
Vennbahn was a Belgian railway cutting through small sections of Germany, south of Aachen.
I walked from Mutzenich to the nearest town to look for onward transport. Little did I know that Monschau is a picturesque tourist destination
The timbered buildings of the old town - Monschau
The town isn't an enclave, it's entirely in Germany. But it's a useful link between the Vennbahn enclaves and definitely worth a diversion - Monschau
Restaurants vie for space in the old town centre - Monschau
Is that Santa? I guess he's at a loose end in April - Monschau
There's plenty of day trippers to Monschau and several hotels
Quaint buildings in the old town - Monschau
I managed to get a bus to Ruckschlag, the tiniest of enclaves. It's a single private property in Germany at 33 Auf Aderich, surrounded entirely by Belgium - bizarre! On the right is what I presume is a border stone indicating where B for Belgium begins - Ruckschlag, Vennbahn
Another bus ride towards Roetgen and another enclave, this one being Rotgener Wald, Vennbahn.
As with the other Vennbahn enclaves there's not much to see - Rotgener Wald, Vennbahn
Two enclaves converge at Roetgen's tourist info centre. The Vennbahn track runs across this picture: on the far side is Belgium proper; where I'm standing is Germany proper; a few metres to the left and right, out of picture, are the German enclaves of Rotgener Wald and Munsterbildchen , Vennbahn. In the bottom right is a border stone
A close up of border stone 885 with 'D' for Deutschland (Germany, left) and B for Belgium (right) - Rotgener Wald and Munsterbildchen, Vennbahn
Vennbahn is a busy cycle track and the area is popular with hikers and walkers - Rotgener Wald and Munsterbildchen, Vennbahn
Eat Belgian frites from this cafe in the German enclave of Munsterbildchen, Vennbahn
On the right is the Belgian Vennbahn dividing Germany proper from the enclave on the left - Munsterbildchen, Vennbahn
I guess the building on the right with a Roetgen sign is a former Vennbahn train station - Munsterbildchen, Vennbahn
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http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vennbahn - Wikipedia guide to the Vennbahn
http://enclaves.webs.com - info on enclaves (often runs out of bandwidth)
http://geosite.jankrogh.com - maps of the Vennbahn enclaves
www.monschau.de - Monschau tourist info
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