Sunday, July 15, 2007

Another must-see cathedral bites the dust.

Yesterday we hitched a ride with a friend to Speyer, a very nearby town on the Rhein. She wanted to make a stop at an orchid greenhouse, as she is an orchid junkie, so we went there first. We ended up getting a cool orchid as well (called Pimoccio or something - green and pink and supposed to bloom almost all the time!) and a little tiny pot of hens & chicks, one of my favorites from childhood! Afterward, she dropped us off in the downtown of Speyer (no interest in touristy stuff) right at the end of the Maximilianstrasse. This street is marked on one end by the town's old gate, a huge clock tower, and on the other by the Imperial Cathedral, built in 1100 (since burned to the walls and renovated a few times) and one of the zillions of nearby UNESCO World Heritage sites. The cathedral was built around the same time as the ones in Worms and Mainz which we already visited.

We made our way down the Maximilianstrasse, stopping first at the tourist info place for a map. I also found a tiny little booklet of all festivals happening in the Pfalz this year, including wine festivals - mmm, that's important information! We also saw that Speyer was currently celebrating Brezelfest, complete with big rides. We never made it over to the fest though. The weather was already getting really hot. The shady side of the street was so crowded as to be irritating, while the sunny side of the street looked like a ghost town. Alas, I'm not one of the world's many lovers of hot weather. I hate it.

We stopped for lunch at a doener/Mexican joint right on the Maximilianstrasse, then headed into the nice, cool cathedral. We discovered that they have at some point since December (when Damon came here with labmates while I was in Mainz) added a 2 EUR charge for visiting the crypt, complete with some shiny metal gates installed. I supposed they got annoyed by having so many visitors here to collect their UNESCO point and not leaving any donations. The crypt is one of the most important things about the cathedral, so we went in. Several emperors are buried there. The cathedral also has some interesting relics, and they're not all hidden away in boxes - some are bones right out for you to see. There is a relic of Edith Stein, who taught for ten years in Speyer, and a shrine to her near the baptismal font. Edith Stein was a Jew who converted to Christianity and became a nun, and later was murdered at Auschwitz.

We walked through the cathedral courtyard and park afterward, stopping for more beverages and taking a look at the Brezelfest - from the shade. The whole fest was right out under the burning sun, and didn't look too busy. So, we walked through some other areas of the town and stopped in a couple of shoe stores - I'm looking for a new pair since mine turned out to have a lemon. Great brand, expensive shoes, but one of them broke. I guess I do walk a lot. Plus I really only wear one pair. Love shoes, no money for twenty pairs. I didn't have any luck though, as most of what was in the stores were junky sandals and runners/trainers. I guess I could go for athletic shoes in the end but I usually like something a little nicer-looking.

See the photos to get the full story!

Speyer & More Jul 07

At the end of the afternoon we headed back to Heidelberg on the train. You gotta love the S-bahn, full of screaming (literally) teenagers, grown adults painting their toenails right there in the enclosed space with you, and people sharing their favorite music with the whole train via boom-box. Always a treat.


  1. Holy crap! Dead emperors! Sheeeeit dude, so much history! I get excited about a hundred years ago. Compared to Germany Seattle doesn't even exist yet!

  2. Speyer is indeed lovely. You should go back sometime to the Technik Museum, if you're interested in that type of thing. I was down there a couple years ago and thought it was fantastic.

  3. Oh, by now they actually have a Russian Space Shuttle at that museum (in the Speyer branch, that is). Just great.

    As for the S-Bahn, be glad it was afternoon, not nighttime. Much, much worse.

  4. I'd love to see a picture of your orchid.

  5. Sara: Whoa, you are seriously warping the space-time continuum living in a place like that!

    J: Thanks for the recommendation! There's really a lot in Speyer for such a little place.

    Anonym: The only night problem I've had on the S-bahn are creepy leering dudes now and again...Oh well, I'm going to count myself lucky that at least it was slightly air-conditioned, which can't be said for all DB trains.

    Mary: I took one, now I just need to get it online!


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