Saturday, December 7, 2013

The Liebfrauenkirche (The Church of our Lady) Trier, Germany

The sun came through the windows the morning that I walked into this church and I was blown away. One of the prettiest churches that I have ever been in. The placement of the windows was perfect.

Travel Tips

Before I step on a plane to my destination I look for an online map of the terminal that I will be landing at. I want to know where the train station is, train ticket office location and ATM locations. The first time we went to Europe we got Euros from the bank and AAA. Now we have a few coins to tide us over when we land but I still like to have cash in my pocket. It keeps me from having to find an ATM when I get to my destination. It seems that most, if not all, of the train ticket machines in Germany have an English button to push. It used to be so much harder - trying to figure out your destination in a language that you may not know well. I used these machines some but for the initial visit and some others I went to the train ticket office at the airport or the one in the city I stayed in. Most ticket counter people speak good enough English. When I got to the train at the Frankfurt Airport I wasn't sure if I was headed out on the right train and which station I was getting off on. The ticket instructions, when put in use, were a bit vague and I was a little tired. So I approached an older couple and asked them if they spoke English (in German - do learn some key phrases for the country that you are going to). The husband spoke English and helped me with getting off at the right place.

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Porta Nigra, Trier, Germany

According to Wikipedia, Porta Nigra is the oldest Roman gate north of the Alps. The gate is quite impressive as you walk through a shopping area to get there and it doesn't blend in with the surroundings.

Trier, Germany Christmas Market

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

More walk to Valwig photos

Sunday Concert - Catholic Church of St. Martin, Cochem, Germany

As I walked past the church on a Sunday evening the bells were ringing wildly so I walked into the church to see what was happening. A concert featuring a violin, organ and an Alto was about to begin. For 10 Euro I was treated to marvelous music. The acoustics were perfect. The children that sat in front of me were not. I'm used to seeing older German ladies correct behaviors that they feel are not quite correct. Sitting down on church steps, parking where you aren't supposed to - naming a few (and only one of them I'm guilty of :-). So I waited for someone to tap the mother of the children to tell her to get her kids under control or take them out. It never happened. The mom tried to get the 4 year old girl to stop talking and the child just smiled sweetly and said "Nein." and she kept talking while coloring. The 8 year old boy was fine until near the end when he started teasing his sister. At the end of the concert he ran over to the prayer candles and started to play with them and matches! The older woman with them never said a word. I was shocked. But back to the music. The three played and/or sang Dvorak, Mozart, Corelli, Bach along with Handel's "O thou that tellest good tidings to Zion" The best however was the last song which was the hymn "Lobe den Herren" - Praise to the Lord, the Almighty. The congregation stood and sang. It was beautiful. A perfect ending.

Monday, December 2, 2013

Cochem, Cond and the walk to Valwig

Cond is across the bridge from Cochem. Valwig is down the river Mosul to the SE.
Church in Cond.
View of Cochem from Cond
Garden allotments fascinate me. They are an intimate portrait of the people who enjoy them. Many were vegetable gardens while other contained small vineyards or just playground equipment - most with little huts.
St. Martin's Catholic Church 1826, Valwig
Graveyard at St. Martin's Catholic Church, Remembrance Day

Cochem, Germany - Christmas Market tour 2013

Cochem, Germany is one of those small towns that is the perfect place to use as a base to see Christmas markets in Western Germany and Luxembourg City. The train station is centrally located and offers easy access to other Christmas market towns (abt an hour or so train ride to many). It has a small town atmosphere, a nice promenade along the Mosel River and a beautiful castle that overlooks the area.
The market in Cochem is small but not as tiny as some articles on the internet would lead one to believe. There is a major tent with live (sometimes) music, a restaurant and some artisans selling their wares. On the outside of the tent were little huts with several vendors selling everything from candy, snacks and Christmas items or presents.
On the day I arrived I got some hot cocoa (unfortunately watered down a bit and with whipped cream that seemed to be lacking in sweetness) and a nutella crepe that was delicious.
I sat on a bench on the walkway by the Mosel River and drank up the scenery. It was slightly chilly and damp but the views of the boats going up and down the waterway and of people out for a stroll were so relaxing that I could shake off the travel stresses with ease. (why do airplanes oversell seats and then beg people to give away their seats so that others could make it to their destinations? If I wanted to give away my seat would I have made plans to go to Germany in the first place?) But anyway . . .
The manger scene was adorable.
The shop windows were adorable. And at 6 pm most of the market closed down and it was time for dinner and an early bed.