The following day we carried on down through the Mosel valley to our next destination in Trier, Germany, drawn here because of the amazingly preserved Roman buildings and ruins. In particular, Porta Nigra, standing tall as the portico into Trier city centre and the Kaisertherma or thermal baths. And also because of it’s fascinating history (particularly to some of us LOL). It was originally founded by the Celts in the late-4th century BC as Treuorum, later conquered by the Romans in the late-1st century BC and renamed Trevorum or Augusta Treverorum (Latin for “The City of Augustus among the Treveri”) – do you get who that someone is now?? – and finally named Trier once the Romans left in about 400AD (so just a couple of years ago, then?). Although it’s not 100% certain, but it’s a well-held belief that Trier is the oldest city in Germany and it did not disappoint.
We arrived in Trier with the clouds gathering and the rain starting to spit anew. This swing between sun and rain has been dogging us throughout our trip but we’re quite happy as long as the sun keeps making it’s appearance. Our next stop was on a vineyard about 1km from the city centre – fascinating in itself because of the close proximity of 65 acres of some of the best quality wine land with the city built just on the outskirts. But with the vineyard owner only available from Wednesday (a lot of the stellplatz or motorhome spots are operated on honesty boxes), we found ourselves a prime position and settled in.
Oh yes, so it was raining on arrival…..what to do? Surrounded by vineyards and set to be inside Kaya for the next couple of hours at least, whilst the gorgeous Mr T settled down for a good read, I did what I love doing, and settled down for an afternoon of cooking. I sneaked outside, scissors in hand, to quickly harvest some vine leaves and after a wash and a soak, did the only thing possible and made Greek dolamades (stuffed vine leaves).
And then the rain stopped and we did the only next possible thing, fired up the gas braai (fires not allowed around the precious vineyards) and settled down, glass of red wine in hand for a Greek/German inspired meal (did I tell you that we have fallen heavily in love with German food?)
By the time we woke up the next day, the rain had stopped again so we fired up our trusty steeds and made our leisurely way into town only just managing to by-pass the Biergarten without a refuelling pitstop. Well, after all it was before 10am!! But we will come back to this later.
Onto the Kaisertherma or thermal baths and they truly did not disappoint. The ruins, even as they are now, are mind blowing in their complexity for the time in which they were built, in fact, even for these days! We are both equally fascinated (I think that’s a good thing!) that in a time when the Romans were building 6 story buildings with the height of 3 stories above ground and another 3 below ground, with clean running water ducted in, under floor heating and sewage kept separate and cleanly disposed of……. we were all still living in single roomed bog huts and poo-ing in our drinking water…..the mind boggles.
|And reminiscent of a 2 Ronnies sketch…
Me: Oh look, an arrow…
T: A narrow what?
Old age is upon us!
Then it was onto the very ornate palace built by the French in 1795 after they succeeded in “claiming” Trier in 1794. Wow, the French got around a bit – remember they sacked Maastricht and stole the mesosaurus from the Dutch around the same time! Note: Trier has had a really fascinating history from the Celts to the Romans and passing between Russian, French and German rule over the years.
And as the sun was starting to break through the clouds, onto the cathedral, the Dom (the oldest church in Germany) and on our final step of our cultural tour via the market square and colourful town centre, Porta Nigra or Black Port towering over the city centre.
On to lunch with some German street food on offer. Salted pretzel yum-yum, the obligatory wine (we are after all in the wine region!) and currywurst and chips…..but I have to say that we’ll leave the currywurst to the Germans…. a little too sweet for our taste.
And then it was time to make our way back to Kaya as we had some business to attend to. Part of travelling in a motorhome is that waste water (from showers and washing up) has to be disposed of, along with the contents of the toilet cassette – not a job for the feint hearted. But without the vineyard staff on hand, where to do it (safely and responsibly, mind!)? We searched high and low but there was not toilet disposal point to be found, anywhere! Well, desperate times call for desperate measures…….the gorgeous Mr T ripped off his vulcroed trousers to reveal his Superman costume and to said dramatic music bundled the cassette up into a discrete black plastic bag, strapped it on (tightly!) to the back of his trusty steed, and with cape flying, sailed into town looking for a public toilet that we knew we had seen! I cycled in the rear, sweating profusely, eyes swivelling in my head as I imagined the toilet police ready to leap out from behind a bush to clap us in irons! No such luck! Toilet found. And so with me crapping myself and trying to whistle nonchalantly outside (have you ever tried to do this with a bone-dry mouth and no back pressure?) and to more suitable dramatic music, finally the load was dumped. Oh dear god, as I said not for the feint of heart! (And for those of you so inclined, we use organic products so no irresponsible dumping was done!).
Back on our steeds and just a little lighter, we set off for Kaya passing said Biergarten again. Well, had I mentioned the sun was out? So heady with our success (and clean hands!) and a need to wet my whistle, we had to stop for a beer, to settle the nerves you see!
Back to the vineyard for a tour of the very extensive cellar and some fabulous wines, followed by a wine tasting €10, supper €40, being pissed and slipping on a grape, priceless!!!!!!