Sunday, January 20, 2013

What did the Romans ever do for us?

Another crappy nights sleep.  Michael arrived for his ‘check-out inspection’ .. that man is anal, he even counted the books/brochures on the coffee table!  Tony mentioned the music and his response was that we should have phoned him and he would have phoned the police and that would have put a stop to the party… yeah sure!
By the time we headed to the tram it had started to snow again but we navigated out way to the station and onto the correct platform with time to spare.  The train was delayed 5 min due to the weather but the trip was uneventful and the scenery was beautiful.  The track slithers through small narrow valleys with little villages round every corner.  The hillsides are heavily wooded, mostly conifers of some kind and today everything was blanketed in white.

Found our way to the hotel, checked in and headed out again to explore.  Our hotel is directly opposite the Porta Nigra … it’s a 2nd century Roman gate into the city which normally you can go into.  Unfortunately, the snow, thaw and subsequent freeze had rendered it unsafe so it was closed today – with luck we’ll have time to visit it again tomorrow.

 We intended to go next to the Dom (St Peters) but our/my navigation skills have gone astray (I’m gonna blame the fact that the sun is now coming from the south and I forget to turn it upside down)  .. anyway, we came upon a big church and since I’d not really looked at pictures of the Dom, wasn’t too sure what I was looking for.  We had in fact, found St Pauls and inside it is amazing!  White walls and the MOST amazingly painted & gilded ceiling.

We finally got our bearings and made our way to the Dom.  It is massive and looks much ‘heavier’ than the Cologne Dom which is so light and ‘airy’.  Inside, as with all the cathedrals we’ve been in is amazing and the crypt especially was fascinating. They have been burying Bishops of Trier there for hundreds & hundreds of years.  The inside was really plain in comparison to some of the other cathedrals we’re seen but had huge altars and statues on most of the columns.  This one is a mostly Romanesque, so the arches are rounded rather than pointed like the Gothic churches.

Next stop was supposed to be the Konstantin Basilica built in 310AD as Constantine’s throne hall and later converted to a church but it has really short opening hours so we missed out.  Might try again tomorrow morning.

On the way to the Kaiserthermen (Imperial Baths) we passed the ruins of the Forum Baths (1st century) but there was a private function going on inside so we snuck a look and some photos from street level.  Onwards to the Kaisertherm, only to find it closed for the winter .. I guess it is too risky having tourists trample all over things that are covered in snow.  The brickwork on the tower in one corner was astonishing.

Following the ‘Tourist Route’ we headed for the Ampitheatre… patted a well-fed cat on the way and once again, found it closed – we were 20 min too late.  So we’ll go back again in the morning.  We have about 3 hrs before we head back to Worms so there is time to get in a return visit to a couple of these places.

After following the ‘tourist route’ back to the hotel, we remembered we needed some milk (hotel has kettle etc but only provided 2 of those stupid little milk thingies) figured if we walked a block, turned left, walked a block turned left etc we’d get back to the hotel …. Wrong!  The blocks here are very strange and 45 min later we were at the other end of town, in the dark and both needing the bathroom! .. and we didn’t find anywhere to get milk.

Dinner tonight just across the road then another search for a coffee (and possibly milk) came across a Maccas … coffee… yes!  Milk … ah yes, if you pinch a handful of their little milk thingies!  Enough for a decent cuppa in the morning!

Tomorrow we’ll explore a bit more of Trier, go back and visit the amphitheatre and hopefully Konstantin Basilica and then on the train.  Regional train to Saarbrucken, ICE to Mannheim and then back to Worms on a local.  Almost the end of a very grand adventure.

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