Monday, August 18, 2008

Romans & Castles

What to do this weekend? A few of my co-workers suggested Trier, the oldest city in Germany and Saturday morning I set off. My first stop in Trier was Porta Nigra, originally a Roman gate but later a church. The city musuem was next, which I must say, is the most random collection of things. But on the top floor was a collection of clothes which was fun to see. Next I went to the amphitheater before continuing on to the Basilica. The Basilica is the largest Roman age building still intact outside of Rome. It was built by Constantine who left to go found Constantinople (later Istanbul, and you can imagine what song was stuck in my head for the rest of the day). Next, I walked over to the Imperial Baths, another of Constantine's projects. There was a festival going on so I wandered through looking at the booths and admiring the ruins. Karl Marx was born in Trier, so I went and saw the house where he was born, which is now a museum. From there I went to the cathedral, the oldest church in Germany. It was built over the palace of Constantine's mother, Helena. It also holds what is purported to be the Holy Robe of Christ, but it was not on view. After that, I wandered through the market, people-watching and window shopping before heading home.

Rick recommended Burg Eltz (his favorite castle in Europe!) so Sunday morning I set out for the castle. It is a bit out of the way, but Rick described the walk as a pleasant, scenic jaunt. I got off the train at Moselkern, a little village, and began walking after spotting the first sign. Rick described the trail, saying you would basically follow the river to the castle, so after awhile when the road veered away from the river and I hadn't seen any signs I began to get a bit nervous. But in short order, the road curved back towards the river and then I saw a sign. The path kept going and going and going and my feet were beginning to say stupid Rick, stupid castle, stupid path when I happened to glance up from the path (which was uneven and rocky) and saw the castle peeking through the trees. It was beautiful! It was never taken by military force, and no wonder - no army would bother to come all the way out there! But really, the family were quite the diplomats and always on the "right" side. I hung out in the courtyard until finally an English language tour was called (the only way to see the castle is by tour and I have been on non-English tours and I much prefer English tours!). When the tour was over, I looked around a bit more before making the trek back. The way back was a lot easier then the way there, probably because I knew the way. Halfway back I saw a little cave up a hill a bit. If Stacy had been with me, I'll bet she would have climbed in there! So of course I had to climb up and take a picture and while I was doing that a family came along and the kids were really interested in the fact I had climbed up there and so as soon as I came down they scrambled up. Sorry parents, I didn't mean to be a bad influence! Finally I reached the train station and before long the train came to take me home.

As a side note, I met up with Mandi for dinner last week. You can see a picture of us on her website.

2 comments:

NYoMaN said...

nice travel

Anonymous said...

lots of history, lots of exercise, thanks for sharing the fun with an armchair traveler!
mm