12-Jul-2013 -- continued from 51N 9E.
From Cologne, I took a side trip to the west to visit another noteworthy geographic point - the "Drielandenpunt", where Germany, Belgium, and the Netherlands meet. This marked my first visit to Belgium and the Netherlands. I then went on a scenic drive through the nearby cities of Liège, Belgium and Maastricht, Netherlands.
Before returning to Cologne, I made a short detour to visit 51N 6E. From Maastricht, I first passed through some tidy suburbs, then - just as the scenery turned to farmland - crossed back into Germany, and entered the small town of Gangelt. After passing under a narrow stone arch, I saw signs pointing to "Mercatorpunkt". What was this, I wondered, and was it related to the nearby Degree Confluence Point? If I had read the reports from previous visitors, I would have already known the answer: It was a monument that noted both the life of famed 16th century cartographer Gerardus Mercator - who lived for several years as a child in Gangelt - and the coincidental nearby Degree Confluence Point, just 125 meters away. The monument listed several cities that shared the same latitude or longitude, and listed "Kiev, UdSSR" as being one of the cities that lie on 51 degrees North. This tells me that the monument was built before the breakup of the Soviet Union in 1991.
The Confluence Point itself lies just inside a grassy field, near a house. As I entered the field, I saw a woman in the distance exercising two horses. I waved at her, and she didn't seem to mind me stepping inside the field to take photos; it's probably a common occurrence.
Continued at 52N 9E