Doing it like the Romans do

Trier Travel Blog

 › entry 6 of 10 › view all entries

Still raining, but I had to get away for a day or two and enjoy new scenery and culture.  I headed to the ancient city of Trier.  Once known as Augusta Treverorum, it was founded around 16BCE by the Romans.   At that time the Celtic Treveri already had their home here.  Roman emperors in the coming centuries turned the city into an imperial residence, built grand baths, and made it the capital of the western roman empire.  In the 5th century the city was conquered by the Franks, and the Romans had been long gone…leaving behind their amazing architectural feats.


                In the city, I left my vehicle behind in the “City” parkhouse.  Cost for parking for roughly five hours was 9 euros, or $12 dollars.  This is a convenient location for parking, as the old city center is a minute’s walk away.

  When leaving the vehicle, it began to rain again so my thirst for sightseeing was nil.  I walked straight to the Trier Cathedral, a 1600 year old bishopric church, dating back to the roman era, and oldest church in Germany.  A beautiful mass was being held, and the scent of sage and myrrh wafted in the air.  I came in just when a haunting litany was being sung by the choir and the attending flock.  Places like these bring me to tears, I am just so overwhelmed how beautiful adoration and worship are, but I personally can’t see myself taking part.


                Already it was lunchtime, and I had read about a restaurant across the way from the Dom, that served up ancient roman fare.  Just the kind of place that I couldn’t hesitate to visit.  Called the Domstein, it has several different restaurants within.  I ventured into the cellar, where the Roman Wine cellar restaurant was located.


Wine tasting: (7,20 euro)


        2004 kluesserather bruderschaft Riesling kabinett halbtrocken (mosel) *too dry

2.        2003 trierer thiergarten unterm kreuz Riesling spaetlese (saar-ruwer) *lovely, rich aromas of honey

3.        erdener treppchen Riesling auslese (mosel) *very sweet, syrupy dessert wine


And if those delectable Rieslings weren’t enough, I had to try their special wine, considered a rarity, for the wine taster’s palate – the 1994 mertesdorfer johannisberg, beerenauslese (5 euros for 5cl)


The Roman menu I sampled was one of a few selections, as follows:

(made after ancient roman cookbook from marcus gavious apicius, 25BCE.

  He was the most popular cook during the time of Emperor Tiberius.


Mulsum – Riesling mixed with anise and honey, served in a Roman clayware jar

Mustea – wine biscuits made with flower, fat, cheese, anise seeds, and fennel, baked on a laurel leaf

Gustationes – Lukan sausages made from pigs meat, spices, and fennel

Mensa - (there were many choices of meats, and since I like a culinary adventure, I tried a popular selection of the region: deer…but more specifically, buck meat.  Named cervus assus, in cervum assum iura ferventia, it was basically a roast meat of buck, with a dreamy creamy plum and wild berry sauce…not to miss was the ever popular fennel finish

Mensa Secundae – patina de piris, a custard like dish with sliced pears


                With a heavy wine headache I walked out into a yet cloudy and rainy day at the old market square.

Beneath this is the passage leading to St. Gandolph church
   Across the way was a beautiful entryway, tucked between a Turkish kebap house and an eyeglass center.  A statue looks down upon passsersthrough, to the old St. Gangolf church, a medieval treasure, but simple in its décor.


                Leaving the market square is an easy sprint to the Porta Nigra, otherwise known as the black gate.  This is the perfect starting point for any tourist, as the tourist info center is there, as well as the friendly Roman Express.  The Roman express is a 45 minute tour by motorized train on wheels, in three languages.  It makes a virtual roundtrip of the city, and for $8 it is a great edge for getting a grip of what’s where in Trier.  The express passes by the famous Kaiserthermen, the roman baths erected by Constantin the great roughly 2000 years ago, as well as the house where Karl Marx was born.


                Wine tasting is an absolute must in this town, with its proximity to luscious vineyards, thriving on the Moselle river.

  In the old market square one can always find a local winery selling a selection of up to ten different wines, for roughly $2-$4 for a small glass.  The Margarenthof winery was selling its wares tonight, and what was supposed to be a quick taste of the more lovely variety of Riesling, turned out to be a more than four hour adventure with Baccus.  My liver was fortified, thanks to the friendly locals that were gathered here tonight.  At the close of an entertaining evening spent with wine and wine lovers, I walked to the only open eating establishment, called the Derwisch Kebap house.  Turkish doeners are one of my favorite foods on the go in Germany.  The meat is carved off of a revolving spit, usually in thin slices, and then rolled in a pita-like bread with a savory garlic-herb sauce, onions, tomatoes, and lettuce.  I shared some Raki (Turkish libation, basically anise schnapps mixed with water) with my new Turkish friends, walked the short way back to my hotel, and fell into a dreamy fitful sleep.


2006 Riesling Spaetlese

2005 Dornfelder Red Wine

Champagne with a peach Liqueur



Things to know:


The city is very easy to conquer by foot.  You can easily see everything within the city in a day.

-A two hour walking tour of Trier begins at the tourist center, next to the Porta Nigra, at 1:30pm. (English only Saturdays, in german the tours are daily)

-A special “gladiator” tour takes place Fridays and Saturdays @ 6pm, and 8pm, Sundays @ 6pm (cost is 9 euros)

-The Porta Nigra centurion tour begins Fridays @3pm, sat @ 1:15 and 3pm, and Sundays @1130am and 2pm (9 euros)


If you arrive here by car, your only and best option is to find a park house and leave your vehicle there.

  That is basically the modus operandi anywhere in Europe.  Street signs are sometimes hard to figure out, you often end up on a one way street or dead end.  In addition, it seems there are absolutely no parking spaces for visitors.

-One ticket buys you passage on both buses and railways here, and in the region (

-The tourist center offers 2 hour city coach tours daily @2pm (in german) English tours at 11am and 1pm


Finding a place to stay isn’t difficult.  Many of the Gasthauses are restaurant and bar on the floor level, and rooms above.  There you can find a night’s stay for (35 euros, or about $47.)  I wasn’t so lucky to find a room in a pension, as my trip was last minute, I didn’t feel like walking from hotel to hotel, and I didn’t book.

  Nonetheless, if you want security, peace, and amenities, there is a Ramada here, which was roughly $120 for the night.  There are also hostels located throughout, and I happened to research one of them.  Hilles Hostel on Gartenfeldstrasse 7 is a newly remodeled and updated refuge.  Prices start at 15 euros for sharing a bed in a six-bed room, or 35 euros for a single room with private bath.  I did inquire for availability for Saturday night, but I really wasn’t keen on sharing a room with six strangers, nor the bathroom. (hotel and hostel info can be found on )

hannajax says:
Thank you, "the-traveller" and "nyprne" - I wish I still had time to write this much.
Posted on: Mar 03, 2011
nyprne says:
This is impressive!
Posted on: Mar 02, 2011
the-traveller says:
Fantastic review of Trier. I wish everyones blogs and reviews were this well written. Thank you!
Posted on: Mar 01, 2011
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Beneath this is the passage leadin…
Beneath this is the passage leadi…
Porta Nigra, the ancient Black Ga…
Porta Nigra, the ancient "Black G…
Porta Nigra
Porta Nigra
photo by: Vlindeke