We had a very low-key Christmas this year, and it was so enjoyable. Of course, we would have loved to spend the holiday with extended family and friends, but it was just us this year. There was no juggling schedules, rushing to visit “everyone”, or eating multiple dinners. We exchanged gifts in the morning, with Santa filling the stockings with the most fun/sought after toys (Magic cards, Hunger Games jewelry, Legos, BayBlades, and video games) as well as the most practical (socks, underwear, and toothbrushes).
Following breakfast I took a two-hour nap and woke up to put the turkey in the oven. We have two small kitchens and I had planned to roast the turkey in the kitchen upstairs, which was where we were spending most of our time. But it was too big for the oven! So, the bird was banished to the downstairs kitchen, which ensured I unassed myself from the couch every 30 minutes.
We Skyped with family back in the States throughout the day. Played video games. Stayed in our pajamas until 2:30 in the afternoon. Had a late lunch/early dinner. Probably the best turkey I’ve ever made (brining is definitely the way to go). Played more video games and toys. Were back in pj’s by dessert time. More laziness ensued, then it was time for bed.
The Hubs and I ventured out on the 26th to the base. We knew everything else would be closed due to Boxing Day, or St. Stephen’s Day observances. The Exchange was very crowded and we ran into several friends and acquaintances while there. We didn’t stay for long, it was more about getting out for a bit than anything else.
Yesterday (the 27th) we saw a break in the rainy weather we had been having (no white Christmas for us). We decided to take advantage of the mild temperatures (high 40’s) and the glimpses of blue sky to go on an adventure. We were off to Trier!
Trier is an amazing city, with a history stretching back before Roman times. It’s only 90 minutes away from us so we will be returning. There’s so much to see and do that our little day excursion just scratched the surface.
(I almost forgot, The Hubby got me a new camera lens for my birthday on Wednesday! Yesterday was my first time really using it.)
Parking was very limited. I had read somewhere that in Germany, it’s typical for Christmas Day to be a day of visiting, exchanging gifts, and feasting. The day after Christmas is sometimes known as the Second Day of Christmas, and is celebrated much like Christmas Day, but with more exercising (walking). The Second Day of Christmas is also a day to recover from Christmas Day so one can go shopping on December 27th (or the Third Day of Christmas). Which would help explain all of the parking garages being full. Eventually we found a spot in a limited time lot (two-hour maximum). We had only planned on going to the cathedrals and the Porta Nigra. Since it was December, most places had shortened hours and would close by 4:00pm. We arrived just before 2:00, so our two-hour parking spot would be fine. It was just a bit of a walk to get to our destinations.
It did however afford us the opportunity to walk through the Hauptmarkt, or Main Market.
This is a pedestrian shopping district, comprised mainly of historical buildings (many dating back to the 1200’s and earlier), several guilt fountains, and monuments. From here, you can easily walk to Liebfrauenkirche (Church of Our Lady), the oldest Gothic church in Germany and Trierer Dom (Trier Cathedral), the oldest church in Germany.
I mis-read the sign as we entered, thinking it said no photography inside. Upon exiting I saw that it was just no flash-photography. It was really too dark inside to take any photos without a tripod (something else that is not allowed). Next time though, hopefully it will be a sunny day (though the sky in these pictures looks bright, it was a very grey day making the inside of the churches fairly dark). This church has the most exquisite painted ceiling I have ever seen. Look it up if you’re feeling inclined.
This ceiling is in relief. Those are porcelain white statues up there on a field of navy blue. There is also red in the crest. This is the first area of the cathedral that you enter. As you walk further down the room and look back, the ceiling artwork gets larger as it goes from the alcove to the upper part of the ceiling ending with a massive gilt clock. Again, look it up, it was amazing and sadly, my photos didn’t turn out.
One thing I found a bit shocking in the Dom, is the gift shop right before you reach the “main attraction”. The Holy Robe is right below that glowing alcove in the photo above. As you climb through a narrow stairway, you literally walk through the gift store of the church. You can also pay extra to enter, via turnstile, the reliquary. I fully understand the need of The Church to generate funds for the operation of the church and for the maintenance of such an historic building, but come on people, do we need to bring up how Jesus treated the money changers? Go see the supposed robe that the Savior wore, and make sure you purchase your magnet on the way out. Goodness. /rantoff
We didn’t arrive in time to catch a tour of the interior, so we contented ourselves with walking through the gates (How many millions of people have done that since the gate has stood? It was a pretty cool thought).
On our way back to the car we made a short detour to a Games Workshop store (very small, very hot, and it smelled of sweaty gamers). Charlie had a meltdown on the way to the car and The Hubs ended up carrying her part of the way back. We loaded up, grabbed our snacks from the trunk, and started heading home. Before we had driven out of the city she was asleep.