Monday, October 08, 2007

Part I of Part II: Kusel, Burg Lichtenberg, Trier, and Luxembourg

On the second leg of our trip with the in-laws, we were a little slow out of the gate because MIL still hadn't visted the castle and did it that morning. I suppose this could have been done in the two hours she spent very slowly checking her email at our house (spends a lot of time on it for someone who never seems to be able to get back to our messages!) one of the other days, but what can you do?
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.
Burg Lichtenberg Sep 07

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.
Esch-sur-Sure Sep 07

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.


  1. Sorry to crash your thread, but would you please have a look at the Meet-Up thread. I'm working on hotel info and need to know how many nights you'll be staying and what time you think you'll be arriving. You can either post it on there or email it to me. Also, having your email addy would be helpful.

  2. Regarding the "Stumbling Stones":

    Heidelberg has decided not to support that project, after consulting with the local Jewish, Sinti and Roma communities.
    The reasoning is that, after all, you're pretty much walking over them... not a good image.

    There are a few over in Mannheim, btw.

  3. Did you know that there are 6 Riesensäulen (stone pillars) from the Felsenmeer built into the Basilika in Trier?

  4. Kato: I've read a bit about the controversy surrounding the stones, though what I read was about Munich, not Heidelberg. Interesting! I guess I don't really see the problem since we walk over graves all the time at the cemetery, and it doesn't seem that different to me from that, and if anything it seems less bad. I like the personal nature of the rememberances.

    Martina: I had no idea! Cool!

  5. I also think the Stumbling Stones are a good idea. A subtle, but poignant reminder that everyday life back then included such horrors. Your very neighbors and friends down the street or around the corner could have been murdered and tortured.

  6. I don't know, maybe i have a different perspective, knowing it could be my relatives' names on these stones.
    In some ways i prefer the way the Heidelberg has taken - memorial plates in some places, a well-maintained, somewhat solemn memorial place where the temple burned in 1938 (behind the Heuscheuer), annual gatherings there that include city officials, and the city offering a specialized tour through the Altstadt for interested people.

    There could be more done, in particular with regard to other groups affected back then, but Stolpersteine just doesn't seem the way to go in my opinion.


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