See trips hub: Europe Road Ways

For themes of conflict, present in any country, see Studying War.

Sunday, December 31, 2006

Wittenburg - Martin Luther: 95 Theses Church, Home, Stove

Wittenburg, Schlosskirche, Castle Church of Martin Luther, Germany
Wittenburg, the home base of Martin Luther, is a World Heritage site. See With damage from WWII, it has many reconstructed buildings in a minimalist (read "botox") style, but much of that plain, stretched look is dictated by the cost of renovation, and the flavor of Martin Luther's old city remains. Some call the Reformation, to which Luther's work gave focus and momentum, a revolt against the established Catholic hierarchy. Others call it a needed course correction, back to original intents, since the original J never espoused hierarchies, authority, acquisitions or force in the first place. All in the name.

Here are the church where Luther is buried and where he posted his 95 Theses (Schlosskirche, or "castle church"). The doors are reconstructions..

Here also is Luther's stove, prominently and theologically located in the home that he shared with his wife.

See Martin Luther's Stove for what began as a light-brained review of the uses of the stove in great thinking; now delving into serious matters of what original texts really say - transliterations, word for word, rather than someone's interpretive translation.
Martin Luther's Stove, in his house, Wittenburg, Germany
Theology blooms around the heater.

Here, in this house, he served as mentor to many who gathered in the room. For Aga lovers, see, this predecessor probably rates deification.

Luther's home dates from the 16th century (probably before, since he lived there in the 16th century), on monastery grounds in Wittenburg.

See a photo gallery about Martin Luther's Wittenburg, and the interiors of some of the buildings he knew well, at :// There is also a picture of the stove there. Armando Rodriguez - fine job there.

Saturday, December 30, 2006

Wittenburg - reconstructions

Wittenburg, Germany. Square, Martin Luther, Schlosskirche
Wittenburg: Martin Luther in the foreground, the Schlosskirche behind the new buildings.

It is not a smooth transition between the reconstructed buildings, and the old, in East Germany. How could an entire country be rebuilt as it was, and with the same detail and materials, and this sector did not value preservation of religious sites.

Wittenberg chose to reconstruct - but in the simple, evocative style. It takes your eye from the old church, rather than lead you to it, but there was not enough money to create ambiance, especially here, in the old East Germany. That is Martin Luther in the center. We wish they had focused at least on recreating the old in this critical space. Other towns did combine both, the old half-timber and the new, so the some of the old tone remains. Not here, yet.

Wittenberg is in the old East Germany, however, and funding and interest in those things was limited.

It still is jarring, though, when you do see the very old. Nothing can compare.

What a waste. A culture decimated.

There are constant reminders of the wars, with most of the focus (we thought) on the Allied damage, and not why they were there in the first place. In Wurzberg, there is an entire room with a model of the city; then, in the next room, the model of 22 minutes later, after the bombing. Devastation, but perhaps a reference as to why the bombs fell, even if it had been overdone (I have no idea, but it was awful) would be helpful to the next generation.

Sunday, December 17, 2006

Parc Sanssouci, Potsdam - palaces, parks. WWII

Dan Widing at Sanssouci, Potsdam, Germany. Guardhouse.
Frederick the Great of Prussis.  In about 1740, he built a palace, then some 700 acres of parks and buildings.  The name, Sanssouci, is the French "sans souci" or "without care".  Located about 17 miles from Berlin, it is an easy stop before going to the city.  See the 300th anniversary of the royal birthday at
More residences were added over time, and large villas along the Havel River. Potsdam the City now boasts the Schiffbauergasse theater district, on a lakefront, and exhibits of the life of Frederick are now opening (this by way of update 2012) in some 70 previously unopened rooms.  The settlements of World War II took place near this area, at Potsdam. These are UNESCO World Heritage sites. See, and

Voltaire stayed at one of these buildings, known collectively as Sans Souci,without worry, to old French students, or in Wikipedia, without cares: see The complex was built by Kaiser Wilhelm IV. Negotiations settling WWII were worked out at a smaller half-timber residence. Sans Souci and Potsdam.

Friday, December 15, 2006

Links, posts, archives

Please copy and paste in your own search bar to get to the reference. See

Post dates reflect a trip chronology, but those change when we change the post. A post date is not necessarily the date of first posting on the topic.

Archives - do read. These complete the trip - showing how and where we ended up.

Technorati Profile

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Berlin - Wall, Brandenburg Gate, Checkpoint Charlie

The Berlin Wall. Sections remain, not contiguous.

Berlin Wall, plain section

One section of the Berlin Wall is unadorned, just preserved, open.

This other section has two parallel paths, one for faster walking, another a close walk, to read the memorials and informational entries.

Berlin Wall, covered memorial walkway section

 See its history at Here is a timeline. Here is a narrative approach at

Brandenburg Gate, Berlin, Germany

The Brandenburg Gate. See There is surprisingly easy parking here, as they have put broad diagonal parking rows in the center of the huge boulevard. See its evolution in photos from the 1700's to date at

Why keep Berlin's walls after their purpose is finished? They get repurposed:  memorials to all those who died trying to cross them. Reminders, guideposts.

Berlin -Checkpoint Charlie, facades, reconstruction, Unter Den Linden,

Berlin, Checkpoint Charlie, Germany
The passage point from the Russian Sector to the Allies. See

The museum at Checkpoint Charlie, see, makes a commendable effort to keep the exhibits honest - they even show a VW with bullet holes, the car used to take people across from the old East Germany (bisected the city) to West Germany, where the wall was. They explain that the bullet holes were added later by someone trying to make the point more strongly, and that the museum in no way countenanced it.

Unter Den Linden, Berlin, Germany, facades survived
Unter den Linden Boulevard - This majestic avenue is reconstructed, but the old pictures' glory is gone. Some buildings remain, this one not on Unter den Linden, but near. The words mean under the lindens, lindens being trees. Some of the trees were 250 years old, replaced by Hitler with flags. Another landmark street - Friedrichstrasse.

Strategy for finding hotel: go into a good one, then ask the clerk for a recommendation to a less expensive one. They often will even call ahead for you, to the other hotel, and give instructions.
Modern Berlin, Germany, houses, offices
Much of Berlin's reconstruction is imaginative. For a walking tour of Berlin, click away at

Berlin's Jewish Memorial Museum

Berlin, Jewish Museum, Germany
The Jewish Museum in Berlin. The off-kilter square columns, on the slanted floor, that disorient you. This is an experiential museum. See There is an exhibit where you step into a long rectangular area, that gets dark and enclosed and the end, and is filled with 7-9" iron disks.

Each disk each has shaped holes for different kinds of eyes and mouth shapes, forming faces, and expressions from horror to disbelief, to all the rest that people feel in their situaiton. You step in, they move and sounds are made. If you move faster the sounds get louder. So you tiptoe. There still are sounds. You go back to the dark part, and suddenly you are there.

Jewish Museum, Berlin, Germany

We had come there from Weimar and Buchenwald, in the fog.

The museum here is interactive, so leave time to experience it.

Monday, December 11, 2006

Chemnitz - Meet Mr. Marx

Chemnitz, Germany. Karl Marx several stories high.
Chemnitz: The city was 90% destroyed by WWII bombing. Many such places were reconstructed with bare approximations of the old manner, but Chemnitz decided to start over. Instead, mostly, they rebuilt in a new socialist style and renamed the town, Karl-Marx-Stadt.

This seems to have worked because the town is thriving, and its wide streets and fine office buildings have brought business. Sterile at first look, much like Plymouth in England (also rebuilt to accommodate predictions of traffic needs for a new city, rather than preserve-recreate historic areas)(see England Road Ways. But I don't think Plymouth ever recovered.

This head of Mr. Marx, at the new City Hall, is several stories tall. Wikipedia has a good reference section for Chemnitz at The city name means "stony brook" says the site.

The area of Saxony: How to make sense of all the germanic states and tribes? Start at That site says, in summary, that a large tribe, the Franks, ruled much of what later was France and western Germany and Italy. Big King: Charlemagne in 800A.D crowned as emperor. Empire split into the West Frankish, evolving into French, and East Frankish ("Franconians, Saxons, Bavarians, Swabians, and several others") evolving into German and electing a Franconian, Conrad I, as king after Charlemagne's descendants. See chronology of German history, overview, at

We were headed from Berlin and Dresden, going south. It got dark, so we stopped here by chance. Excellent choice.

Sunday, December 10, 2006

Nuremberg: Hitler stadium; 1937-1942 - Propaganda and education

Hitler Stadium, Nuremberg, Germany

Nuremberg houses the Documentation Center, focused on the history of Nazi activities, founded in 1991, see There are documents, films, library, recreated scenes, photographs. An era of manipulation and horror recreated so it may not be repeated, but do we ever learn. The stadium where Hitler addressed crowds is behind and would look familiar if you have seen old films of Hitler's parades and displays in the 1930's and 1940's. For a thorough re-chilling, see for Leni Riefenstahl's "Triumph of the Will." The entire (I think) film on the events here in 1934-35 or so, with the speeches and parades, all authentic, are on this site. There is a short beginning, and then download the full 1 1/4 hours or so, as you may wish. See

The Nuremberg Trials. The topic of war crimes and what is and what isn't, is always current. See the Nuremberg Trial issues at; and at

Persuasion, propaganda. How did the rulers persuade/distract the populace? Persuasion skills became an art form through people like Edward Bernays, a nephew of Sigmund Freud, in 1928 here - and that followed years of use of the techniques. See; and

From 1937-1942 our government through its Institute for Propaganda Analysis educated us citizens about persuasion techniques we could spot it and not be taken in. The techniques were listed and explained. See

Sampling: Note the propaganda techniques list at that site, against which the US citizens were warned:
1. Word games (name calling, generalities, euphemism),
2. False connections (transfer, testimonial)
3. Special appeals (plain folks, bandwagon, fear)

And logical fallacies. Do all these sound like a current political playbook?

Saturday, December 09, 2006

Nuremberg: Old City; Duhrer house, Marriage Carousel sculpture

Nuremberg, Germany. View of city from old walls.
Nuremberg: the old city. Find its thousand-year history at Hitler's choice of Nuremberg, the "Imperial City," for his place of choice to address crowds, see other Nuremberg post here, was no accident, given its totemic stature in German history.

The old city walls are still there, with gaps, and with the covered walkways and towers. A hostel is inside one section of the walls - a great location for quick bunking. We have not used hostels yet, but hear good things about them.

The Albrecht Durer house, Duhrer 1471-1528.Albrecht Duhrer house, Nuremberg, Germany

Now, see it (watercolor and gouache) in 1496, when it was by a pond. Go to And another - so it must be true - Here is his hare. Go to Now see his life and more works at If you have something around the house with the commingled real AD logo, you may be wealthier than you realize. Go look.

Then, in the old town there is a fountain - The Marriage Carousel. I would have taken pictures but couldn't find a discreet angle. Scant clothes. I wore them, but not the subjects.

"Bittersweet Married Life," 1541. The fountain is an allegory of life and marriage, based on this poem by Hans Sachs, a Nuremberg meistersinger (member of a musical or poetic guild) 1494-1576, see; and

 full size image

Fair use thumbnail from

See views at; Here is another at The poem, or part of it, is also at that last site.

Thursday, November 23, 2006

Bamberg and outdoor frescoes

Bamberg, Germany. Exterior frescoes. 
Bamberg is a UNESCO World Heritage site. See; and The US Army has a garrison here, with a fine homepage to orient newcomers at

The cathedral and square are in the Old Town. These sections are often up a substantial hill. When lost in an old city, aim for the high ground. Just keep driving up. Cathedrals, main squares, often there to facilitate defense.

The City is proud of its beer-brewing tradition - beginning at monasteries in the 10th Century. And for its outdoor frescoes, on the sides of entire buildings, look at this sample on the riverside . For more on frescoes, this technique of painting on wet (or dry) plaster, that lasts for centuries if done right (also done indoors), see

Bamberg is also among the cities of Germany cited by the Jewish traveler-scholar, Benjamin of Tudela, from Tudela, Spain, travels 1165-1173.  See On the Road to Paradise, article focusing on the Baghdad experience of Benjamin of Tudela, and the tolerance, wisdom and mercy of the cultural leaders there at the time, Archeology Odyssey magazine.m May-June 2000, see  The travels are online at The Travels of Benjamin of Tudela,  He wrote a hundred years before Marco Polo left for China.  He traveled 2000 miles, visited more than 300 cities.  His book is entitled, Sefer ha Massa'ot, or The Book of Travels.

Medieval Jewish communities of scholars, families, all on good terms with each other and their neighbors, are noted by Benjamin of Tudela on the Moselle River, including "Coblence, Andernach, Kaub, Kartania, Bingen, Worms, and Mistran." Then, " [along the] Rhine, from Cologne, where the empire commences, unto Cassanburg, the frontier of Germany, which is fifteen days' journey, and is called Ashkenas by the Jews."  Travels at p. 425.  Ashkenazi.

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Regensburg: The Pope in 2006; and the oldest sausage place in Germany

Regensburg, Germany. Oldest sausage stand in the world!
Regensburg is a UNESCO World Heritage site. See Here is the Goliath House - huge outdoor fresco - see

The Pope was here in 2006 and Muslims took note. Read the Pope's speech at,,1873277,00.

Regensburg boasts a sausage establishment said to have started out when the 11th century bridge, just behind, was being constructed - to help feed the workers. Excellent sausage still served, beginning at 10AM when we were there. Began to fill up as we left. Added them to an already splendid breakfast. See

For sausage, see

Monday, November 20, 2006

Altotting - Black Madonna; Plague Fountain; Berchtesgaden

Altotting? Germany. Plague memorial.
Many fountains and statues commemorate the Plague in Europe - Plague began in Constantinople in about 1334 and was spread by Crusaders returning to Europe.

Some estimates provide that, in 20 years alone, half the population of Europe was decimated.

This fountain shows the skeleton of death in various modes, going around and around. I believe it was in Altotting, but am not sure.

The painted alpine building may mean closer to or at Oberammergau, where the dramas memorialize the Black Death era and the city's survival. See

Altotting, Germany, Black Madonna
This Black Madonna is at Altotting, south, near the alpine region - found by chance. There were many pilgrims here. Am trying to find research on why so many black madonnas are in France -- dark-skinned family makes sense, but it not part of our regular tradition. Legends say that Mary Magdelene went to France - are there villages where she is said to have given accounts or other stories put the color at the forefront?

The guidebooks do not always tell when there is a black madonna. Many seem to be from the 12-15th centuries, smaller ones (as in Guadalupe, Spain) far earlier- even in the first centuries after.

We also found black madonnas in France and Spain. always looking for these, and we found more. Internet sites for Black Madonnas offer listings of those known to date, and possible explanations.
Altotting, Germany, pilgrimage center for Black Madonna
The Black Madonna is in this church-type setting. I recall it more as a "housing" for it.

Berchtesgaden:  Hitler's eyrie.  What you save by going off-season you lose by missing some sights.  In April and early May, we started up to see Berchtesgaden, and found the road closed because the snow had not melted.  All snowed in still up there. 

Berchtesgaden: You may want to plan trips that include higher Alps for late May at least. We were there in early May - this eyrie was supposed to be open, but weather stepped in. Snow still blocked the higher reaches of the Eagle's Nest at Berchtesgaden, see This is where Hitler had his headquarters. Had been there in earlier year, but sorry to miss this time.

Sunday, November 19, 2006

Munich - Marienplatz; and Hofbrau, of course

Munich, Marienplatz, Germany
Marienplatz, the main square. Great clocktower, or glockenspiel. For a visual tour of Munich, go to Bookmark the site for photos of most everything anywhere, it seems.

Dan Widing at the Hofbrauhaus, Munich, Germany (yes, both are of age)

Drive right into town, find the Hofbrau House, and then locate the nearest hotel. Best way. In any new town, find a local attraction, and house yourself nearby. Park it and forget it.

Munich is big tourist attraction, well rebuilt, fine square.

When you need a break from driving, walking and sightseeing and finding places, come here and just sit back, keep the wursts coming and watch the world for a few hours. See

Castles: Linderhof; Hohenschwangau; Neuschwanstein

Once you get used to saying these names, they come easily. All stem from 1845-1886: Ludwig II, "Mad Ludwig," the builder of castles; he of the mysterious death in Lake Starnberg. See

Linderhof Castle, Germany
Linderhof. A secluded hunting lodge built by Ludwig II. See See also svnum="10&hl=en&lr=&rls=GGGL%2CGGGL%3A2006-28%2CGGGL%3Aen&q=Mad+Ludwig&btnG=Search.
Hohenschwangau Castle, Germany

Here is Hohenschwangau. See,where Ludwig II spent summers. His largest castle is Herrenchiemsee, see Too big and glitzy for us. Maybe a visit next time. His dream castle apparently was Falkenstein, and he could not finish it. Died first. See

Ludwig's most fairy tale castle (Sleeping Beauty-type, although other castles in other countries claim that Disney-fueled fame as well, see France Road Ways), is Neuschwanstein, see The former owners were the Schwangaus, and the swan (schwan?) was a favorite of theirs.

Thursday, November 16, 2006

Oberammergau, Garmisch, Alps

The road near Oberammergau:
Take the small roads. See your own Alps.

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Wieskirche (Rococo church) Bavaria, trumpet voluntary

If you want a looping everlasting little baroque trumpet voluntary as you read this, go to the site at in a separate window, and it will begin. And go on and on and on. Why not?

Weiskirche, Germany
This is in the area where the other fairy-tale castles, most by Ludwig II, are also found, in the alp areas of southern Germany. It is off the usual path. This is a pilgrimage site, stemming from events in 1738, see - tears reported, the "Statue of the Scourged Savior." Click for the English home page, then on "history" in the left menu.

This church dates from mid-18th Century and the interior is said to be among the world's most beautiful - Rococo (very fancy, gilt and many angels). See this gallery of photos at Splendid organ. Concerts. Ludwig's Castles nearby. Need a site for a destination wedding?

Sunday, November 12, 2006

Augsburg - Back to Celtic and Roman; big on Renaissance

Augsburg Cathedral, Augsburg, Germany
Augsburg is in the south, Bavaria, and gets so much Renaissance-type attention,, that the older Celtic and Roman and Medieval times get lost.
We like the older.

Here is the Cathedral. In the Cathedral, The Dom of the Holy Virgin, I believe it was called.  Below ground level is a crypt floor, and areas below that with columns with old Celtic design, the "Irish" (as we think of them) swirls, from the earliest church there.
Celtic designs, Columns, Augsburg crypt level, Germany

Roman artifacts, Augsburg Cathedral area, Augsburg, Germany

And carving bits through the years.
There was the old Via Claudia or Claudius through here, leading from Germania to Rome. My notes say that the stonework shows those times, in the outside courtyard where the Cathedral now stands. Not sure.

Here is the list of bishops since 697 A.D. or so.
 Bishops Succession list since 697 AD, Augsburg Cathedral, Augsburg, Germany

Friday, November 10, 2006

Rothenberg, Dinkelsbuhl, the Tourist "Roads"

Rothenberg, Germany. The Gate

The Gate at Rothenberg.

Rothenberg, Germany. Town view.
Some of the best old cities were not bombed. Prime examples are Rothenberg and Dinkelsbuhl. Be amazed, as we have been, at the size of medieval buildings. See also the Schwabisch Hall post here.

A good overall site for Germany and the towns and regions is

Rothenburg, Germany
These are also taken at Rothenberg Rothenberg. Huge tourist attraction.

The town of Dinkelsbuhl, at, is nearby, and smaller.

For those who like external organizers for trips, the German Tourist Bureau offers several "routes" for touring Germany:

1. Romantic Road that covers lovely medievel sites like these,
2. Fairy Tale Road that covers Grimm and the rest,
3. Wine Road with the most stops,, 1st 20 miles, Wine Road, and
4. Romanesque Road at; and
5. Castle Road at

We did not do those. Instead, we checked their itineraries and noted which places were in our own path. Otherwise, too much time is wasted sign-watching, and you miss what is in between.

We liked Fritzlar - not so fixed-up; buildings look more their age. Fritzlar is north of Frankfurt, near Marburg, the houses are so big and old that they tilt toward each other at the top, nearly touching. The guidebooks point out the different kinds of facades in the cities. Also see Alsford, nearby. Huge half timber.

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Wurzburg -

Wurzburg. We visited the model display of the city before and after it was bombed in World War II. They are set up in adjoining rooms, so the impact is greater on seeing the devastation. Here is an article addressing why the bombing, and when: Any country justifies its nationalism and outrage, and here it takes the form of an omission, of why there were attacks on Germany at all. See also the history at That still does not remove the need of the victors to analyze why so great a devastation.

The palace residence (The Residenz) here is a UNESCO World Heritage site. It escaped the bombing. See

The city is in the middle of a highway mixmaster, lending itself to a quick run-through so we can get back to a countryside. We did - on a little ferry - just got off the highway and drove.

See lovely photo gallery at This is, to me, the world's best website for Germany photos and succinct information. Check out all the other cities there as well. Better yet, go to his home page and write him about his fine work. I am no relative, don't even know him, but I salute. Scroll down to all the other categories - Roman world, all over the world.

Thursday, November 02, 2006


Heidelburg, Germany

Heidelburg - familiar name, lovely city. See The US army also does a nice website on Heidelburg. There is an army base there. Still?

Flicks. "The Student Prince in Old Heidelburg" was a movie in 1927, see; and "The Student Prince" came to us on moving celluloid again in 1954 with Mario Lanza ("Drink!" three times). See

This was the one city where we found no hotel room - so we did our walking and seeing, had a cafe snack and people-watch, and went on to Speyer. No problem. Distances are not great.

Go here for a free Heidelburg jigsaw puzzle. It

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Heidelburg, Speyer - Jakob Spilger, Pilgrim

Speyer, Cathedral, Germany

Near Heidelburg is Speyer, where the Cathedral at Speyer is a UNESCO World Heritage site. See Any new Bishop, we were told, was expected to fill that large fount with wine, and the burghers (we thought it was all the town) emptied it in themselves. See also

The tradition of pilgrimage gets passing attention now, but there used to be medieval pilgrims walking thousands of miles through here or from here. One route - in its entirety - was from Germany (or even Scandinavia) to Santiago de Compostela, in Spain. Here is a statue of Jakob Spilger, that kind of pilgrim. See, for more on the statue of Jakob Spilger.

Jakob Spilger, Pilgrim, Speyer, Germany

Speyer itself is 17th century in look, with its wide streets. We were told that planners in those days would level most of a town in order to recreate it. Like now.

In 1084, the Bishop of Speyer awarded by charter land and privileges in a specific location to the Jews in the area, to bring them in and foster the growth and prestige of the new town. See the Medieval Sourcebook at for information on Grant, Bishop of Speyer 1084.

Wine font, Speyer Cathedral, Germany

We were told that a huge font n front of the church was filled with wine each fall, for community celebrating.

Here is a different one with a little man on top. Need to check photo. See More history, overview:

Monday, October 30, 2006


Worms Cathedral, Bishop Burchard, Worms, Germany

This is Bishop Burchard at Worms. Say "Vorms." Or "Verms." Please. Here is the story of his life, written soon after he died in 1025: do read it aloud for a while, at He wrote a collection of canon law., among other achievements. If you like odd bits, with your history, try It says that he left his sister, in his will, a hair shirt and chains. Follow the links and you find that these were reminders of penance and mortality. There is also reference to the violence of the day in accomplishing one's goals.

Other Worms phrases, places and events that come to mind:

1. Diet of Worms. That means the Reichstag or legislative body there. The Diet of Worms in the 16th century declared Martin Luther an outlaw for refusing to withdraw his statements of belief, leading to the Reformation. and read more at the usually-helpful starting point,,_Germany. A summary of that event, is at another generally good starting point,; and

2. Coat of arms. Early times in summary: Worms originated with the Celts, was captured by the Romans, became a Christian bishopric in 600-something. Coat of arms, history and legendary beginnings -- the locksmith who foiled the dragon who wanted the queen - all at Pay attention to heraldry. The site says that five-pointed stars were used by the French, six-pointed stars, as shown on the Worms flag, are German. Way back when.

3. Heiliger Sand - founded in about the 11th Century, and believed to be the oldest Jewish cemetery in Europe. See
Much of the Jewish section of Worms was destroyed in Kristallnacht, the Night of Broken Glass, see, in 1938, that killing, razing and destruction pogrom that many believe was the beginning of the holocaust against the Jews.

4. Niebelungen. Many scenes for it are set here - read about Richard Wagner's opus at There is a Niebelungen museum here, but we did not go in.

Sunday, October 29, 2006

Worms area ferry : Follow the rule

Ferry, at Worms, Germany
If you see a ferry sign, you have to take it.

This is the one found after the cloverleaf-mixmaster around Worms, as we aimed in vain toward Aachen and Charlemagne. Finally said, Enough.

And got off and just went cross-country - and found a ferry. Great idea. It left us at a place called Bruhl, see 1575 etching and maps at, and found our way beyond to Aachen easily from there.

Only our car, and one motorcycle on board. Ahhh.

Saturday, October 28, 2006

Trier, Romans and WWII

Trier - the WWII allied breakthrough here was, to the German soldier writing here, about one of the greatest catastrophes of WWII. See

The Roman gate here, built as part of a much larger building, is known as the Black Gate. See Click below the picture at the Trier online site there for an album of the area. Now, it looks like the gate is cleaning itself, the effect of cleaner air, as I see in Pittsburgh over the past decades.

Roman monuments in Trier are also World Heritage sites. See

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Burg Eltz - The Survivor Castle. Tribute to Diplomacy.

Burg Eltz Castle, toward the Rhine area - standing after centuries of wars around. See
The family managed, we were told, because they were master diplomats, able to bridge any dispute. The same family has owned the castle for all that time, and ongoing. Original furnishings in many rooms. Cars can only go so far, then visitors walk down the longish road to the castle. Fine photo gallery at
Burg Eltz Castle, Germany

There is a rose symbol above a door in the imposing council room. That shape means confidentiality: what is said here, stays here, a custom stemming (ahem) from Roman times. For more on sub rosa, see

We may be more familiar with the now-commercialized uses of rose traditions, for example, this site from a florist:

Aachen: Charlemagne, his Gate and family values; the Romans

Aachen, Germany. Charlemagne's burial chapel, Cathedral
Charlemagne's burial chapel, at the Cathedral at Aachen. See details of his life, and the burial here at the Medieval Sourcebook site, Scroll up to the full menu. This site notes some disagreement on where the remains are,

The Cathedral - Hear the choir at
There are four selections. I tend to find a music site, put it on in a separate window, and just lean back for a while. The home page is The Cathedral is a UNESCO World Heritage site. See

Aachen Cathedral, Aachen, Germany

Charlemagne's Gate, Aachen, Germany
The fortress-type gate on the left is Charlemagne's Gate at Aachen. It had been part of an entire city wall system.

Find Charlemagne's geneology at, and note his father, Pepin the Short, or Pepin III (Broadway?), King of the Franks; and his mother, Bertha "Bigfoot" of Laon. His son is also Pepin. Is that Broadway? No, that is Pippin. See numerous Pepins/Pippins at

Charlemagne: In sum, a great medieval king, with a vast interest in education. He had palaces at Aachen, Nijmegen, the Netherlands, see Netherlands Road Ways, and Ingelheim. His favorite was at the capital, at Aachen, and his cremains are there. Aachen's Cathedral is a World Heritage site. See He was an early Christian, and the chapel is also still there. He was 6'2" tall.

Charlemagne and family values: a biography of the historian, Will Durant, says as follows - this little quote surely being fair use, out of the huge work as a whole, and this trifle not discouraging anyone from going to the original:

"He was so fond of his daughters that he dissuaded them from marriage, saying that he could not bear to be without them. They consoled themselves with unlicensed amours, and bore several illegitimate children. Charlemagne accepted these accidents with good humor, since he himself, following the custom of his predecessors, had four successive wives and five mistresses or concubines. His abounding vitality made him extremely sensitive to feminine charms; and his women preferred a share in him to the monopoly of any other man. His harem bore him some eighteen children, of whom eight were legitimate."

Little excerpt quoted from Will Durant's biography in the 1950's, found at

See the Chemnitz site here for more on Charlemagne and the other Germanic groups.