Post Originally Written: June 20, 2016
Alex had a 3 day weekend and never one to stay at home, he was itching to get out and do some exploring. The weather was forecasted for rain in the afternoon (no surprise there) but both of us NEEDED to get to a big city. These small farmlands are quaint and enjoyable for the day to day life, but we were desperately missing the hustle and bustle of a bigger population. So, we decided to check out the closest historical city to where we lived and then make our way over to an indoor playground for Landon once the rain arrived.
The city in question?
The oldest city in Germany, it dates back to the 1st Century B.C. when the Romans conquered it and took over. A lot of the Roman structures are still standing and are available to tour, but Alex and I didn’t want to touch too much into them on that day since we didn’t have an entire day to devote to the city.
In case you’re curious about what all it has to offer, here is a link to the city’s website:
I am sure later on, I’ll visit all the sights listed and write about my experience with them, but for now I’ll just touch on the one place my family did get to see during our quick walk through of Trier.
I had downloaded a parking app for Trier earlier in the day that kept an updated count of how many free parking spots there were in each garage located in the city. That made finding where to park a breeze once we arrived. (We left our house at 1:47pm and got to the Basilika parking structure at 2:20pm.) The garage dumped us right next to a cute little park, which was perfect for Landon.
On the UNESCO World Heritage list, the High Cathedral of Saint Peter in Trier is the oldest cathedral in Germany and the site we were fortunate enough to see this past weekend.
Down the street and around a corner from the park, we came upon the Cathedral square and the church itself. This was my first experience with any of Europe’s old buildings, and I was just taken aback by how impressive it was. Right away I wished my recall of Humanities 101 was better. There was so much detail!
The cathedral itself is broken into two parts. The West side (formerly a larger Roman church that was destroyed) was rebuilt and completed in 1035, and the East side was added later in the 1200s making it the first Gothic style church in Germany. You can clearly see the two different styles from the outside, but they blend together nicely.
The biggest feature of this cathedral (besides its age) is the fact that in 1512, it was discovered that the Holy Robe of Christ and one of the Holy Nails was housed in the church. Meaning, the garment that Christ wore at his crucifixion and one of the nails from the cross are kept there. I did not know about this fact until after I returned home and did some research, but even if I had they are not visible to the public except every 20 or so years. But, still, to be that close to history is pretty incredible. Hundreds of thousands people make pilgrimages to see that very sight, and there I was just a short car ride away. Regardless of whether or not you’re a believer, I’m sure you can appreciate the importance of that for those who do believe.
The Cathedral was open to the public when we were there, and amazingly enough Landon remained quiet long enough for Alex and I to go inside and explore for a few minutes. The artwork was spectacular, and the minute I stepped foot inside, I understood why it wasn’t hard for people to have strong faiths back in that time. You felt humbled by the grandeur of the stained glass windows and the sculptures and the 86ft high ceilings.
Out of pure luck, Alex spotted a sign on display and we discovered a really cool treat occurring, called the Holy Door.
It reads: “On December 8, 2015, Pope Francis opened a “Holy Year of Mercy” extending to the end of 2016. A part of the Holy Year is the tradition of the ‘Holy Door,” a special door in St. Peter’s and the Roman papal basilicas opened only during a Holy Year. It is the wish of Pope Francis that during the Holy Year of Mercy such a Holy Door be in every bishop’s church worldwide. The passage through the Holy Door is to express each believer’s entrance into the mercy of the Father as a gesture of trust in God.”
I felt extremely fortunate to be able to have experienced the Trier Cathedral, and I actually can’t wait to return and examine the interior some more. I didn’t even get to see the Altar on the Roman side of the church nor the popular organ housed there.
Because Landon did so well during our tour, Alex and I let him walk along the market street afterwards, where we bought him the most delicious Italian ice we’ve found. For 1 Euro we got him a scoop that was completely worth it.
And because my weakness is truffles, I had to stop on the way back to our car and buy a Dark Chocolate truffle from a Berlin factory. It was pure bliss.
Europeans have some of the best food on Earth.
In total, we were in the heart of Trier for 1hr 23 minutes. It cost us 2,20 Euro in parking, and it was worth every cent. I’m already excited to return and explore some of the Roman monuments such as the Porta Nigra and the Imperial Baths.