View from my Santiago home early in the morning.
Early at 5:30 a.m. my cell alarm goes off, AC/DC's "You shook me all night long" shakes me up properly :) . It's dark outside as I walk to the estacion de autobuses, and the streets are empty. Well, having dinner at 10 p.m. and then going out doesn't really make early mornings, does it? At the station I find Stefan, the two men from yesterday and another two women, all from Germany. The bus takes us to the airport in 20 minutes, and unexpectedly the check-in isn't open yet, nor are there any signs of last weeks mini-apocalypse. In line I meet Lisa and Maja, though, who got stranded in Santiago for a week. They took the opportunity to shop and enjoy the city. Now, that's the right attitude, right?
The plane takes off as scheduled, and I sit next to a nice elderly couple.
Trier, Nells Park
The grounded planes and the volcano are topic no. 1, and I wonder how much longer it will be. Maybe, if I had been at home, watching the news and reading the papers I would be much more involved. Though this event wouldn't have really affected me. But like this, far away from anything outside the Camino, it just feels as if it had nothing to do with me. Though it actually really did affect me by cancelling my flight. Weird. The take off and the landing makes a group of Spanish students cheer out loud, after all, this flight IS one of the first to fly again after mini-apocalypse. .... I just realize, I'm part of history, he he.
Safely landed in Frankfurt/Hahn, I say goodbye to my fellow pilgrims. The elderly couple offers me a ride in their direction, how sweet of them! I thank them and explain that I'm staying here.
Trier, Porta Nigra
This time I check into the B&B hotel right opposite the airport. I leave my backpack in the room and half an hour later am on the bus to Trier
. It's about 1 p.m., and unlike the last time, outside it's sunny but chilly. The bus takes about an hour to Germany's oldest town.
I get off at Nells Park station, and have to wait for the bus into the city. My sucky sense of orientation comes to full bloom here, for too late I realize I've missed two buses, because I thought they weren't going into my direction. The bus drivers weren't helpful either, they seemed very stressed and bitchy. When I finally get to the city center it's already 3 p.m. and I am starving. So my first stop is a fast food joint.
Trier. Days of the Holy Tunic.
Then I transform into the regular tourist and go sightseeing.
Trier dates way back before 16 BC., and has now about 100.000 inhabitants. Its landmark is the Porta Nigra, the best preserved Roman city gate north of the Alps. The city itself has some beautiful architecture to show off. Today it's very lively, pretty unusual for a German city as I know it. Soon I find out there's some jubilee going on. There are flags all over town announcing "Heilig Rock Tage". I know what Heilig means, it means Saint, I know what Rock means, and I know what Tage means, namely Days. So, we have Days of Christian Rock??? Bring it!!! I keep my eyes and ears open for a stage and rock music, but there's none. Then I find the cathedral, built during Roman times, and the crowd is overwhelming.
There is also a large tent and a big poster informs about 50 years of cooperation of the Trier diocese with Amistad, a humanitarian organisation that supports projects against poverty around the world. As I cannot find any rock music, I start to wonder that maybe it's not about rock, but about Rock, like St. Rock, like a saint. Maybe the cathedral houses his relics. I go inside the cathedral and it's huge. On the wall is a display of the layout with legend, and my eyes catch "Dommaeuse" - cathedral mice? Gotta check that out. I go to the place they are supposed to be at, and expect happy mice living freely in a secluded corner of this house of God. We are all God's creatures, after all. There aren't any. Finally, I ask a ward, and he is so nice and shows me a bronze little sculpture at the wall showing - mice! Nobody knows why it's there and why it had to be mice.
Trier's Dommaeuse - the cathedral's mice
Reminds me of the astronaut at Salamanca cathedral, another mystery. The ward is so nice, so I ask him about St. Rock. He explains, that the Rock is the tunic Jesus wore when he was crucified. It's the one the Roman soldiers gambled for. It was brought to the cathedral by St. Helena and has been guarded here ever since in a shrine. Aha ..... I'm supposed to know that. Rock, of course, it's a tunic. Naturally. The ward points me to the chapel where the shrine is and I go to see it. But the shrine is closed and, though it's beautiful, there's no Rock to see. When I come out the chapel, the ward asks me if I have seen it. "No", I reply, and he directs me to pay attention to the top of the shrine. I did, and I saw some red glass plate. "Exactly", he says, "that's were you can see the tunic, it reflects in the glass".
Trier. The shrine with the Holy Tunic. Pay attention to the small red piece above, it reflects the Holy Tunic laying inside the shrine.
Aha! I go back, and really, it's tiny but you can see it. I tell this the ward and he seems amused. I feel like we are in a conspiracy, for he tells me that few people know about this. This is fun!
I take a stroll through the cathedral, and afterwards through the city. It's crowded, the sun is shining and the city is just beautiful. I'm so glad I came here today! Later I have a snack, and head back to Nells Park to catch my bus. Nells Park is an actual park with a lake and swans and ducks. I want to walk by the lake, but after getting almost attacked by a swan, settle for a bench. These critters can get nasty, it's downright scary! I don't sit there for long, for I get an uncomfortable feeling. Though it's still daylight, there aren't many people, and suddenly two young man approach.
Trier, chapel of the Holy Tunic's shrine
One stands a little further away and observes, and the other comes closer and says Hello. I reply Hello, and mind my own business. But my alarm bells go off, and I am guarded. Is there anything about to happen? Then the other guy approaches his friend and tells him to go, I hear the word nothing
, and see a couple coming down the road. I get up, and leave for the bus station which is at a buisy circle. I'm confused, but keep my guards on. So, nothing bad happened while walking 6 days through the woods alone, and here in a busy city I get attacked by a swan and maybe worse? Crazy world. I wait for the bus staring at the traffic around the circle. There are some nice cars.
I'm happy to be back at the hotel, but dismiss my attempt to go online since they charge 2 € for 10 minutes, what a rip off!
My plane leaves at 11:15 a.m., so I have time in the morning. An eventless flight, the unlikely case of dropped cabin pressure didn't occur just like the unlikely case of a water emergency landing. I was home for lunch.