Tues 17th – Today we head to the ancient city of Trier, famous for its ‘”Porta Nigra” the Black Gate from when the Romans ruled here. We are getting our folks used to the train and it seems like we meet new friends on and off the train!
We met our Toga Tour guide and even though it was a little drizzly we followed him through the streets and listened to what live was like during “his time” inTrier. We learned why this was an important city to the Romans and how things eventually declined. He showed us several coins which demonstrated with their weight and size how things declined. Towards the end of their empire coins were very small and light as a feather. The Porta Nigra gate survived due to the fact that after the Romans left the gate was big enough to use as a church which is what they did. He also showed us the holes chipped in the gate that people did to get to the iron rods used to support it.
We visited Trier Cathedral, a Roman Catholic church that dates back to Roman times and is home to the Holy Tunic a garment with a recorded history back to the 12th century, in Catholic tradition said to be the robe Jesus was wearing when he died. It is exhibited only every few decades, at irregular intervals. Then on to the huge Constantine Basilica, a basilica in the original Roman sense, it was the 67m (219.82 ft) long throne hall of Roman Emperor Constantine; it is today used as a Protestant church.
After the tour we needed something warm to drink, and went in the closest pub. I ordered my Hot Chocolate and Baileys and then went to the restroom. Regular place and everything was going fine until the lights went off!!! Those Germans and their energy conservation I guess but I mean completely pitch black and as I made my way out of the little cubby I had no idea of how to get out. I felt along the walls and kept ending up back in the stall, the only door I could find. After 5 minutes or so I was starting to get scared. I did not have my cell phone with me, which has a flashlight on it or even the glow of the screen, nothing. I finally found the paper towel dispenser which gave off a very short red glow when dispensing a towel and I must have hit that a dozen times. So now I am thinking do I start yelling and embarrass myself or what? This bathroom was in the cellar so I wondered if anyone would hear me and of course no one in my group apparently was missing me! Finally I called out a couple times and made my way around the walls again and found the exit door! What an experience, I will never think of Trier again without remembering this frightening experience. Hahahahaha
Wed. 18th – Free day where many folks went out to their hometowns. I always am on alert waiting for a phone call saying that someone got lost but everyone did fine and got home with lots of good stories of what happened in their towns. One of our ladies had the TV crew with her so we are anxious to see how that goes. Several people spent time researching, walking through the villages, meeting cousins and even walking through ancestor’s houses. I am hoping to get some of them to write a guest blog for us so we can hear about their experiences. One lady has her own blog and she has updated it about her trip so you may want to read this. http://kimwolterman.blogspot.de/
Thurs 19th – Another free day for people to go to hometowns. Matthias and I rode with a couple ladies who were free to take them to visit the castle in Cochem on the Moselle and then we went to Koblenz to see if we could visit in the Archives and also for me to see the Deutsches Ecke (German corner) where the two rivers Moselle & Rhine meet. We took another cable car up to the fortress on the hill (we are getting brave on these height things) and get a better shot of the rivers. We had a good day and then when people came home in the evening the TV crew wanted to do one last interview thing with the group so we did, exciting to hear everyone’s story.
Pictures: the Fortress in Koblenz, the vies of the two Rivers and some weird guard. haha
Tomorrow we leave for our next home base: Speyer. Before we leave a couple shots of the view from my Hotel room overlooking the Rhine.