How, you might ask, did I end up in the city of Trier, Germany one day in July of 2016? Well, I was in Luxembourg, my afternoon was free, and Trier was a 45-minute drive. The novelty of driving less than an hour to get to a completely different country was part of the attraction, too. I grew up in LA, where you can drive for an hour and you’re still in LA!
Trier is in the Moselle wine-making region, so the drive was beautiful: rolling hills covered with trees or grapes on both sides of the road. Before too long, I was on the outskirts of Trier. Another person might have scouted the city for tourist things to do, but not me. I just parked the car and started walking.
It was market day! What a great introduction to a new city. It seemed like the whole population was out in the sunshine, enjoying the day. Coffee shops were doing great business and window shopping the small shops lining the square was another popular activity. I checked out the goods on offer, but since I was getting on a plane the next day with an already stuffed suitcase, I didn’t buy anything.
When the crowds got to be a bit too much, I wandered off down a side street or two, fascinated by the architecture as well as the variety of shops, from antique to tourist postcards and everything in between. Most of the shopkeepers spoke enough English I could chat with them a bit (let’s be honest, my German is non-existent, sorry, Sina!)
I’m always looking for cathedrals when I’m in Europe. When I spotted that tall steeple, I changed course and headed in that direction, admiring the buildings and the curving streets along the way. Those winding roads, though, meant it was a 15 minute “where the heck did it go?” excursion rather than the “looks like it’s right there” five minutes I thought it would be. Lesson learned, city streets can be confusing without a map or a data plan on your phone!
The Cathedral of Trier is actually the oldest church in Germany. Part of the nave was made of Roman brick in the early 4th century, and a bit of that is visible from outside the building. The cathedral been added on to repeatedly since then, giving it quite a mix of styles. Not too often do you see squarish Romanesque naves with Gothic vaulting. I wandered around for quite a while, looking at all the stonework. And the organ pipe installation was pretty darned interesting too (on the left side below).
I headed back out into the sunshine and caught the other end of the open-air market winding down. A few stops and photos later, I retrieved my rental car and headed back to Luxembourg. Rather than being tired after two weeks of working in Europe, I was energized by an afternoon spent in another country, exploring the charms of a new city.
Want to know more about Trier? Check it out on Wikipedia (link)
More about Trier Cathedral on Wikipedia (link)
One’s destination is never a place, but a new way of seeing things.