Our longer than usual ride yesterday rewarded us today with a leisurely 25 kilometre roll to Xanten, a doubly curious destination. Not only is Xanten the only town in Germany with a name starting with X but it also has a remarkable Roman archaeological site and museum.
The site is huge, covering the original settlement from 2000 years ago. It is laid out with a gridwork of pathways matching the original streets, hedges planted to reflect the layout of homes, a brilliant museum- modern, bright and stocked with wonderful artefacts, a reproduction of the town’s colosseum, temple remains and the excavated baths protected by a glass shroud hinting at the original structure.
The site would be reason enough to visit Xanten, but the town itself a pretty destination, surrounded by greenery, little lakes and waterways and even a working windmill. The town square is ringed by cafes, ice cream shops and restaurants and buzzes happily all day and half the night. Lots of fun all round, in fact.
Oh, and as a bonus… our hotel room for the night, in the roof of the building, revealed itself to be the highest inhabitable space in town- we spent the night in the penthouse!