I arrived at my hotel, the Hubertusklause Hotel and Restaurant, in Monschau rather late last night - so late that it was closed!! I should have read the booking that said check-in was until 9pm. However, a quick phonecall to the published number produced the owner who let me in and saw me to my room. Feeling rather chastened I didn't complain when he told me that the wireless internet was down due to renovations although this was a bit disappointing. Nevertheless I STRONGLY RECOMMEND this as a place to stay - really, really friendly people - comfortable room, a great breakfast, free WiFi (when it is working) - and all for only 42 € per night.
Having only a day to do an awful lot I rose at 6am to head out on the first part of my Vennbahn expedition before the 9am (a civilised time!!) breakfast. The hotel was just a short way down the hill from Monschau station so that was the first stop on my tour. Someone has placed a large number of geocaches all along the Vennbahn - at almost every crossing and station - and so that was a great way to merge my two related hobbies today. Yesterday evening, after my drive from Frankfurt, I had found 4 that were along the totally Belgian part of the railway, all of which contributed to my tardy arrival at the hotel. I did also briefly visit the quaint town centre of Monschau - it gets dark so late at this time of year (sunset was at 2149) that I quite forgot the time. There is a rare webcam geocache (Monschau Cam) there that is worth taking a look at online since you can see a live view of Monschau at any time of day by following the instructions at that cache listing page. Anyway, today was the day to focus on the part of the Vennbahn that ran through Germany. The first one was entitled, not surprisingly, Vennbahn, Bahnhof Monschau. First of all, though, I went for a short drive under and over some bridges, seeking some evidence of a VDOS (Vertical Differentiation of Sovereignty). Any that I did find was very nebulous though, being more in the manner of omission of anything indicating Belgian ownership or responsibility for the road under or over the railway. Quite inconclusive.
First a map to show where the various photos and videos are from.
This is Bridge 1 from the map above where the road passes under the railway. We'll come back here later.
Turning left I quickly crossed over the railway at Bridge 2 - a still and a video here.
Time now to return to the station area itself.
A view where the road crosses the railway - looking north east
and in the opposite direction
A nearer view of the level crossing
The station house is pretty much abandoned - I needed to gather some information off some notices from here to calculate the final location of the geocache. It turned out that I needed to walk down the railway a short way to find it near the first bridge that I had driven under.
A video of the whole station area.
The station area comes to an end as the multiple tracks converge into a single line, and another necessary piece of information to calculate the final geocache coordinates is found.
Looking North from the top of Bridge 1, close to where the geocache was finally located.
What looks like a boundary marker (complete with very large snail) on the north of the railway lines, between Bridge 1 and the station.
...and another boundary stone, on the south side of the railway line this time. The road junction you see is that close to the letters ND on the earlier map.
The same border marker is just visible in the long grass here
Looking down the railway in the other direction, towards Bridge 2
...and finally a last video from this area.