October 2-3, 2022
The Mosel River Valley with Riesling vineyards on steep hills snakes beautifully along a twisting path from Trier, Germany, to Cochem, Germany, and even beyond. Delightful is an understatement.
Trier is Germany’s oldest city with deep ancient Roman roots. As the northern capital of the Roman Empire, it is filled with ancient Roman artifacts. As we walked along, I thought, “The glory that was Rome!” The Emperor Constantine’s (3rd-4th Century) Throne Room is the largest single room remaining of ancient Rome. Today, it is an Evangelical/Lutheran Worship Center. Marty and Karen attended the Sunday worship service and said it was beautiful. The Imperial Baths are monstrous. The Standly’s and we walked in underground tunnels and were amazed at the length and complexity of the baths. We thought we might get lost, but didn’t. Intriguing! The Coliseum is largely a ruin today. However, we were able to walk in its underground beneath the coliseum floor where the wild animals and gladiators were kept. A stage system was able to be employed to raise surprises to the surface during the games. The seating capacity was 22,000 spectators. The coliseum had 4 vomitoriums—places where people who were sickened by the spectacles or who had drank or eaten too much could go to “throw-up.” Another stand out site is the well preserved Porta Nigra, or city gate. It is colossal in size. Besides all this, the Altstadt (old town) is beautiful in its own right. The wonderful Roman Catholic Cathedral is actually two churches. The Gothic side is superb with beautiful paintings and stained glass and the Romanesque side is daunting with intricate plaster work and numerous archways. It is one of the finest Romanesque architectural works anywhere. Unfortunately, the remnants of the Electoral Palace of Trier were closed and we did not get to see the famous Rococo staircase. The palace was at one time one of the most beautiful in Europe with a Baroque wing, a Rococo wing and a Renaissance wing. Wars over time, especially World War II, ravaged it and now very little remains. Amazingly, the Rococo staircase was largely unscathed, although the rooms around it were destroyed. We had to comfort ourselves with pictures and maybe, another time?
Oh, how we quickly fell in love with Cochem, Germany, on the banks of the Mosel. An amazing fairy tale castle looms over the medieval city. Narrow cobble stoned streets wind through the old town. Our bus trip up very narrow passageways to the castle above was fun. Our time in the castle was awesome! Begun in the year 1000 A.D., the castle was used for defensive purposes and has had several wealthy owners over time. Today, the city owns the castle. Antique furniture from the 13th century onward filled the rooms. The painted ceilings throughout were wondrous. However, what we thought was wallpaper in many of the rooms was intricate hand painted surfaces and not wall paper at all. The wood carvings on walls and hand rails were from the 14th century and were beautiful. Outside turrets and towers reached upward and vines crawled up many surfaces, now turning bright red. We all had a very satisfying adventure at the castle. We ended our day at a great restaurant along the river. Several of us ate the venison with cranberries (mixed with lingonberry) and spaetzel (the best spaetzel I have ever eaten)—our last German meal since we leave for Spain tomorrow.