|Kusel Sep 07|
Our first stop, not planned, was in the town of Kusel to pick up some picnic fixings. It was here that I found the first Stumbling Stones I've seen - I read about them in the past, so this was an interesting find for me. You can see them up closer in the photo album. The artist decided to make these when he overheard a German once saying that "none of the victims of the Holocaust lived near here anyway!" and the project is meant to show that they did, indeed, live near you.
We took our fixings to a nearby castle on a hill, Burg Lichtenberg, to eat. There were ruins there, as well as a hostel, church, two museums, and a house! This was also a completely unplanned stop, but a very nice one. Actually, I'm not really a castle person (!! a major sin among American tourists), but picnicking is generally pleasant and it's nice to see everyone else get psyched up about a castle.
|Trier Sep 07|
One of the two main things Damon and I had wanted to come in this direction for was Trier - oldest city in Germany, full of ridiculously old Roman goodies, and a place we've heard a lot about in general. Because of our late start, though, we got about an hour in Trier, right before sunset, to run through and see about three of the zillions of significant things we could have seen there - the two major churches and the Porta Nigra. (See photos for info on all this.) Damon's parents weren't impressed with Trier at all in our one-hour stop. His Dad called it "the Missouri of Germany" based on the fashion sense of those walking around. That's no compliment coming from an Illinois person. His Mom thought it looked too fake because it was so nicely painted. I'm not sure where she'd been for the rest of the trip through zillions of other nicely painted towns. Neither is all that interested in history so I guess that did not redeem it for them. So, off we went, with a few pictures to show for it. Maybe we'll have to make another trip to see the inside of the Konstantin-Basilika and all the baths, as we were disappointed at the briefness of our stop.
|Luxembourg (City) Sep 07|
We stayed at a pension on the tiny town of Bekond near Trier. The parents were horrified at the lack of soap and old carpet. It was hotels only from then on. (I was just glad to be in something better than a hostel. And kind of impressed at the good state of the pension since it clearly hadn't been updated since the 60s.) The next morning we went off for a one-day tour of the entire country of Luxembourg.
Damon's dad made Liechtenstein jokes and French jokes, then spent the morning hanging around near where we parked d/t his bum knee. We had two hours to see everything we wanted in the entire city. Damon became cranky at this. I can be a very efficient tourist/picture taker if necessary but his mom is more deliberate so the shortness of time was not a good combination with her thoroughness. He was afraid to become upset with her about it though, so I got to hear about it instead. (Do parents realize how much we let them get away with without saying anything? Especially compared to how we treat our spouses? Do they exploit it?) We made it through Notre Dame - very nice to see a church with a somewhat different style from those in Germany - and the Bock Casemates - more info on these in the photos. We were late getting back to his Dad, and then we had lunch in an Italian chain cafe and took off again.
Our next stop, recommended by Lonely Planet of all places, was Esch-sur-Sure, a tiny town that sits on a loop in the Sure river. We spent about 45 minutes there, climbing up to its old crumbling castle ruin and checking out its church and strange gift/candle shop.
|Echternach Sep 07|
On our way back into Germany, we stopped in Echternach, right on the German border. The sun even shone for the first time that day. Then we returned to Germany for dinner at a restaurant somewhere near Bekond. Damon's dish turned out to be three whole cold (cooked) fish! I wish I'd remembered to get a photo of them all stacked on his plate.
Coming soon: the Mosel and the Rhein. Cast your bets now on which one each person liked better.