We had a slow start into the day, with a lovely breakfast (more freshly baked German rolls) with Nora, Ingrid and Ralph. Around 11 am, we took off (without Nora, who has a weekend job cashiering) for a drive into the country and a 6-mile hike in an area of the North Eifel, part of a large hiking area with beautiful rolling hills, forests, high-moor plants, and a really intriguing history. On the way to our hiking area, we crossed in and out of Belgium a couple of times, since we are so close to the (open) border. We went to a place called Vogelsang that is now a huge nature park area, but was built by the Nazis as a (barely used) training site for Aryan leaders. The Belgians turned it into barracks and a military training area after the war, and when they decided to give it up in 2006, it was donated back to the Germans and, since it’s been relatively untouched, turned into a history and nature center. It’s under construction, so some parts of it are not currently open, but the views are wonderful, and the hike goes through some very varied landscapes (forest, high-moor meadow, etc.) and is beautiful. It also includes a very strange “non-village” called Wollseifen, which was forcibly evacuated in 1946 by the Allied forces to make room for the military exercises and then used for ground combat practice. They razed all but three buildings (including a village church and a school building) and built some mock buildings for training instead. It’s a very strange place, and it was hard to imagine that about 550 people (in about 115 families/homes) lived there, since there is nothing but high ground and these ruins left. After we had hiked for about three hours in the area, we drove to a rather famous little town nearby called Monschau, which features a very lovely town center with tudor-frame homes, all crooked and crunched together, along a river called the Rur. Complete with cobblestones, little tiny shops and cafes, and a very sumptuous mansion from the 1760s at the town center, it is a big tourist destination, but it was really rather nice. A castle and a castle ruin overlook it, and the sumptuous mansion, built by one of the textile industry magnates that made this area fairly wealthy, was tourable and featured some very nice 18th-century decor and furniture, but most spectacularly a beautiful three-story wooden staircase with some gorgeous banister carving. After we’d wandered through the town, we had coffee and cake on the market place, and then drove home (both Ingrid and I fell asleep!). Ralph and Ingrid had some errands to run, and then Ingrid and I fixed a fairly late dinner for Mark and the two of us. Nora joined us a little after 9 pm, when she was done cashiering, and we sat around for a little while longer, but went to bed around 11.