I visited the town of Monschau towad with two friends. It's situated in a narrow valley, and with the winter sun low in the sky, much of the town is left in shadow.
As the town follows the winding course of the rushing river, the turning angle allows more sunlight in. It falls on typical half-timbered houses, some of which have their upper floors faced with slate shingles, as isn't uncommon in the region, and a number of Rococo stone buildings.
Many little bridges cross the river Rur, some leading only to single buildings.
The town was decorated for Christmas, and the market square cluttered in the shuttered booths of the Christmas market.
The Catholic church had a strange, modern layout inside.
The town is mostly closed for cars, which is wise. The streets and bridges are narrow, and the town is popular with tourists (especially from nearby Belgium and the Netherlands), so there are a lot of poeple walking around.
Of note are the many lovely doors. The region around Monschau is known for the Aachen-Lüttich style of rococo furniture from which the carpentry on many of the buildings takes some cues.
Most of the businesses cater to tourists: lots of cafés and restaurants, souvenir stores, antique dealers, but also a few specialiy stores.
A path zig-zags up the steep side of the valley to the ruins of an old castle.
It offers a great view of the town, back down into which we followed the path.
Another couple of flights of stairs lead up to the second castle, which still stands intact.
The erstwhile castle is today used as a youth hostel ran by the local Protestant church.
All in all, a lovely place, well worth a visit.