The weather is cooling in Southern Germany with highs reaching into the mid 60s on most days. The trees are starting to rust a little--just a bit of browning among the green. A few varieties are beginning to flame with fall, but mostly the change is still subtle.
Yesterday, Lawna and I drove out across heavily forested hills along the autobahn, past the flat, fragrant wine country to Speyer, a city on the Rhine of about 55,000, most famous for its imperial cathedral, one of the finest Romanesque churches in Europe, a major station on the Saint James pilgrimage road to Santiago de Compostela in Spain, and a registered UNESCO Heritage site. The Palatinate had three imperial cathedrals that formed a geographical Trinity, and we previously visited another one in nearby Mainz. The construction is similar, though, since Speyer is a smaller city, its Dom (cathedral) seems to tower more impressively among the other buildings.
The day started pretty chilly. Lawna was decked out in layers and I was walking briskly to stay warm in my single layer fleece hoody. Later, of course, the afternoon would warm and we would be carrying around our wraps. Parking was hard to find, but once I found a spot, we walked through narrow streets until we emerged onto the vast, long town square. The center of town is marked by the Dom at one end and a tall town gate at the other. Between the two is a lengthy promenade filled with shopping on the gate end and cafes at the church end. That day, an expensive looking wedding was taking place at the Trinity Church (more on that later) with a Rolls Royce ready to whisk the couple away, and a television talk program was being broadcast from a giant outdoor stage framed with huge PA speakers and light towers. It was a busy Saturday, but the crowds were not annoyingly dense. We found plenty of room to move about.
|The remaining Schraudolph and Schwarzmann artwork|
Lawna in the Dom
Behind the church, we strolled though a pleasant garden park, punctuated by various styles of sculpture, traditional and modern, then eventually found our way to the Rheinland-Pfalz Historical museum where we saw artwork and historical artifacts from widely different periods. Although there were no English translations available, it was still a fascinating journey through the heritage of the area. Featured was a beautiful, digitally animated video of the Speyer Dom, recreating its probable appearance through the ages, including the giant murals commissioned by Ludwig.
On our way back across town to see the medieval Altpörtel (town gate), we stopped to visit the uniquely impressive Dreifaltigkeitskirche (Trinity Church). It is a baroque wooden church, and walking on its plank floors and hollow stairs raises a minor ruckus. The ceiling murals are a bit faded now, but still quite beautiful. It was modeled on a similar wooden church in Frankfurt, Saint Catherine's.
|Dreifaltigkeitskirche (Trinity Church)|
|faded ceiling art|
|Stadthaus (city hall)|
We finally reached the Speyer Altpörtel, took a good look and a few pictures, then headed down a side street to find our car. A lovely visit!
|Stadthaus flower boxes|