“Finally in Trier, safe and sound. Arrived back on the 17th after taking the ‘milk run’ Regionalbahn instead of the slightly faster Regionalexpress from Koblenz. The RB stops at every little village along the way, making for a very slow trip. Had a good conversation with a little old German lady on the train – they make for the best conversation partners on long train rides, when they’re not too afraid to talk to a foreigner. Also helped a weeping girl find a train connection in Koblenz to Metz, as she spoke no German at all. Dangerous, to travel in a country where you know nothing of the language – and English wasn’t even her first language, I figure.”
“Trier is very picturesque, a small/medium sized city nestled away in the extreme west of Rheinland-Pfalz, bundled up against a bend in the Mosel River. There is a large pedestrian zone which contains the majority of the shops, anything that you need really. Luckily this pedestrian zone is only a 5 minute walk from my apartment! My mentor-teacher showed me around on my first day, pointing out all the little grocery stores where I could buy food &c. No roommates around yet: they’ll start arriving next week.”
After a few days I went on a big walk in the City to see sights, as it were. This included the Kaiserthermin, the remains of a massive Roman bathhouse. Trier is well-known for having the most Roman ruins north of the Alps, and it was even Emperor Konstatin’s seat of government for a few years.
In the second photo you see the remains of the main building of the baths, with the old hypocaust tunnels visible. Hypocausts were the backbone of the Roman bath: fires would be lit on the periphery of the tunnel system, and then the warm air would go through the tunnels, heating the basins of water above. These systems could be so complicated and complex that different basins of water would be different temperatures, and you would even have steam rooms. Bathing was very important in Roman culture – your average middle-class or upper-class Roman spent on average 2 or so hours in bathhouses! You can wander down into these tunnels, which I wouldn’t recommend for anoyone who is claustraphobic. The entire underground system smells of dank old earth, and is quite eerie.
I also visited the Basilika, which is the former audience-hall of one Konstantin the Great. You might have heard of him. Kinda a big deal, bringing Christianity to the Roman Empire and all.
The actual Basilika is the big brick building in the background. Today a church, the Basilika was heavily damaged in WWII bombing but was quickly rebuilt – it’s not that complicated of a structure anyway, just a big empty room inside (albeit a massive empty room). Once again, no photos allowed of the inside of the Basilika. The silly building tacked unforunately onto the front of the Basilika is the former palace of the Duke or Count or whatever it was of Trier. Maybe a prince’s palace? I don’t know. I like Roman stuff more.