Some Things I Found on the Way
Here's the usual teaser post with some first impressions from my Rhine tour. The sky is grey on most of them because the weather tried its best to fulfill all clichés the Romans had about Germany - wet, cold, dark, and full of trees (yes, the latter belong to the weather because they throw branches at Romans, *grin*).
-- Reconstructed Roman buildings
Harbour Temple, Archaeological Park Xanten
The Archaeological Park Xanten (APX), with a number of completely or partly reconstructed buildings of the Roman town Colonia Ulpia Traiana is definitely worth a visit. Judging from some photos I had seen I suspected it might be a bit like a Roman Disneyland, but it's not like that at all, but a genuine glimpse into a Roman town with spotlights onto some chosen buildings.
-- Remains of Roman buildings:Römersteine, Mainz
(Roman Stones) are the real thing: remains of a row of pillars that once supported the aquaeduct delivering fresh water to the town of Moguntiacum. The outer layer of smothely hewn stones has found its way into other buildings centuries ago, but the inner part made of opus cementitium
, the Roman concrete mixed with stones or sometimes pottery shards, has survived until today. Something you can't say about most modern concrete.
-- Bling:Golden horse figure, 5-6th century, APX Museum Xanten
There's a new museum in the APX (opened last year, in time for the Varus Battle Anniversary) which has an interestingly presented display of all things Roman. Besides the Roman bling (and other Roman finds) I also discovered some Celtic and Merovingian shinies in other museums.
-- Churches and cathedrals:St.Martin Cathedral, Mainz
The Rineland has a good number of old churches. Often the later Romans introduced Christianity into the area and built the first churches. Larger places like Xanten or Mainz would soon develop into religious centres and erect churches to match their importance. Most of them have been rebuilt on the foundations of older chapels, enlarged and altered over time, but you can still find some genuine Romansque and Gothic cathedrals. And even smaller towns often have pretty, old churches.
-- Rain at the Rhine:Cruise ship on the Rhine
Rain showers at the Rhine can compete with the Scottish ones any day. I stayed on the upper deck nevertheless - fortunately part of it had a roof though no protections on the sides. I suspect it was that day that gave me the nasty cold, and I could blame my readers and their greed for photos, but I'll be honest and blame myself for not bringing the warmer jacket. When the sun came out - which she surprisingly did a few times - it was quite warm, though.