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The amphitheatre of Trier and a trip through the Moselvalley to Koblenz

Home -> Europe -> Germany -> Travelogue Germany -> 08 February 2003

Saturday 08 February, the amphitheatre of Trier and a trip through the Moselvalley to Koblenz

Fortunately, we don't have to leave the hotel for breakfast and around 9 we are ready for a new day. When Elisabeth enters the hallway she walks past someone who is sitting there and greets her in German. So there are more guests in the hotel? No, the lady in question is just Jennifer. Elisabeth's excuse is that she is not wearing her glasses, but we tease her all day with the fact that she not even recognises her own daughter!
Amphitheatre of TrierOur first visit is to the amphitheatre in Trier. This monument was once part of the Roman city wall, but outside the medieval city wall, indicating Trier was much larger in Roman times. This arena was build around 100 AD. and used mostly for gladiator games and animal fights. Beneath the arena one can still walk through a large cellar where the wild animals were kept and prisoners who were sentenced to death.
Amphitheatre of Trier Amphitheatre of TrierThe acoustic of the arena is wonderful. All sounds are very clear and can be heard in every direction, even at the highest terraces. Instead of fights they could have better played stage plays. Nowadays there are sometimes concerts. There is place for about 20,000 spectators.
Amphitheatre of Trier Amphitheatre of TrierOn both sides of the arena is an opening and in the 4th and 5th century the amphitheatre was also used as an entrance gate into the town. It surely is worth a visit, this monument (entrance fee € 2,10).
Roman bathhouse, TrierSeveral times we pass these ruins, the imperial baths (Thermae in Latin). Bathhouses played an important social function in Roman life and there were many more in Trier. Two of them, these imperial baths and the Barbara baths were the largest of the Roman Empire outside Rome. The building dates back to the beginning of the 4th century.
After visiting these antiquities we leave Trier to follow the winding valley of the Mosel. We pass many nice towns and villages which are often build against the hills of the valley when it becomes narrow. All remaining surface is used for viticulture, the growing of the famous Riesling wines. In this time of year all vines are bare, but it should be a beautiful sight when they are in blossom at the end of the summer.
Castle of Bernkastel-Kues Bernkastel-KuesAnd, of course, castles dominate many hilltops, like this castle at Bernkastel-Kues. It was mentioned in writing for the first time in the 7th century. The town is build on both shores of the Mosel and we like it so much that we take a walk through the old city centre.
Bernkastel-Kues Bernkastel-KuesThere are still many buildings from the late Middle Ages and the Renaissance. They are all made in this characteristic architecture that is often used in Gemany: all wooden beams that are used can be seen on the outside of the house and they are often painted.
Bernkastel-Kues Bernkastel-KuesIn the 400-years old city centre the streets are very narrow and sometimes houses lean over the streets. Still, traffic is allowed through these streets! Most buildings now house restaurants, hotels or wineries (with wine cellars) and we have a drink in one of them.
Bernkastel-Kues Bernkastel-KuesThe best part of the town is the old market place (beginning of the 16th century) with the fountain of St. Michael. All buildings are preserved in their original condition, at least on the outside. One can still imagine how it must have been, living here in the past. A very nice place for a walk.
Driving out of the town we notice how every spot of the slopes is used for growing grapes. This has already been so for 2000 years, as proves the comment of the Roman poet Ausonius who described this region as an 'amphitheatre, surrounded by vines'.
Cochem CochemOur next stop is in Cochem, after driving through tens of small, but also very adorable, villages. As you can see, Cochem is being watched over by this castel, the Reichsburg.
The castle lies very strategically on a 100-meters high hill and has a good view to every direction. The building dates back to the beginning of the 11th century.
Cochem CochemWe find here also some medieval buildings, but the town has more space than Bernkastel-Kues. While people do their last shoppings on this saturday afternoon, a tramp is preaching on the central square. Most shops have closed already, but in a souvenirshop we find a nice astray engraved with a drawing of the town.
Elisabeth and JenniferAfter having a snack we walk back to the car and try to get to the castle (by car) but we don't succeed. To be honest, we are too lazy to walk there because it is quite a steep climb.
Then we drive on, past Koblenz where the Mosel joins with the Rhine, but it is getting dark already, so we drive back to Trier.
At half past seven we are expected for dinner. According to our reservations this should be a candlelight dinner, but we don't get any candles to see, or they must mean the cold lights above our table. But the food is fine and this time we have no problems ordering or paying. And still, we don't have to pay for the drinks we took last night.
We have had a busy day, today, and after this extensive meal we feel all a bit tired, but mostly we are very satisfied with the day.


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