IRENE's TRAVELOGUE

JULY 2003

TRACING ROMAN GERMANIA III

The Trip
Roman Villa at Ahrweiler
  Cologne III
Kalkriese/Varusschlacht

Osnabrück
Münster
Rothenburg
  Nürnberg
On the Rhein
Prague

MORE TRAVEL
Tracing Roman Germania 1999
Tracing Roman Germania 2002
Ancient Rome as seen in the year 2001

Objects which are usually the motives of our travels by land and by sea are often overlooked and neglected if they lie under our eye…We put off from time to time going and seeing that we know we have an opportunity of seeing when we please.
Pliny the Younger

Battle Mask - click here for more images

THE TRIP : A SUMMARY

construction sign
a work in progress

Links above and below lead to more detailed descriptions of what I saw, and often photographed, and to Internet sites – some of those in German where nothing was available in English, to accommodate readers who may speak the language. I am still working on some pages, as I lost photo scans in a hard drive crash. Most things Roman are complete though.

Note: Links have been checked and upgraded December 2008.

This 2003 trip was not intended to further trace the Romans of Germania, but rather to be a family trip, picking up a teenager who had spent his senior year at a high school in Southern Germany.

However, I took the occasion to take off ahead of the others – the teenager, his mother, and his best friend – to do some additional traveling and visiting of family and friends.

This included my old haunting ground, Cologne; and on a chance comment from a visitor to my web site, the Roman Villa at Ahrweiler, not far from Cologne. Then I thought I might also visit Kalkriese, the archaeological grounds of the battle of Varus, especially since an Internet search indicated a special exhibit about Theodor Mommsen.

So, off I went: Hannover first, to visit an old friend just for a couple of days. Jet lag and bad weather prevented me from doing much sightseeing, but we went to the Herrenhäuser Gärten, part of the palace grounds of the Kings of Hannove: my photos. From there to Cologne, where I checked up on some loose ends, such as missing notes from last year about museum exhibits, wandered around town, saw family & friends, and took the train one day to Ahrweiler to see the Roman Villa and visit with a cousin there.

Then back up north to the city of Osnabrück, which is closest to the astounding finds at Kalriese/Varusschlacht. Osnabrück in itself is well worth a visit. The attractive old town has largely been reconstructed after the extensive bombings in WWII. The same goes for Münster i. Westfalen, which I visited next. It's my father's hometown, and I had not been there since I was a child. I enjoyed it immensely. Both towns were the scene of the Westphalian Peace Treaty in 1648, which ended the Thirty Years War and gave the Netherlands their independence.

From, there, via Bad Ems, I went on to the Nürnberg area to meet up with the rest of the family. Before we went on, we spent a long weekend with the boy's host family. They took us to Rothenburg ob der Tauber, a medieval town and one of the few that escaped the bombings. Family barbecue with Nürnberg sausages and venison – our host being an ardent hunter – a visit to a genuine beer garden in a forest in the middle of nowhere, and a day trip to the ancient city of Nürnberg.

Then we began our planned trip, and it didn't start out too auspiciously: Getting out of a double-decker train in Nürnberg, I tripped over the platform edge and took a terrible spill! Nothing broken, but lots of sprains and strains and contusions, which put quite a crimp in our trip…there I was in our hotel in Mainz that same afternoon, across from the Antique Maritime Museum and down the hill from the excavation of the Roman theatre, the progress of which we had seen from the train, and which I really wanted to visit, having seen the beginnings in 1999, and I couldn't go there! Oh well, there is always next year…

From Mainz, on a beautiful day if one discounted the heat, we took a boat trip down the Rhein river, as far as Koblenz, and from there to Cologne, where we stayed a couple of days.

Then on to our final sightseeing destination: Prague, which we had looked much forward to. We did enjoy it, but did not have enough time, and of course I myself was a bit handicapped and had to hobble around. So we decided that we have to go back soon.

The summer heat in Europe was terrible this year, as has much been talked and written about, although it got even worse after we had left. I have decided that never again will I travel to Europe in summer!

Nonetheless, we enjoyed the outdoor cafés and dining, the creative ice cream dishes – strawberry sorbet with red champagne and whipped cream – the long daylight hours, and the many museums and old churches. The boys visited eight churches in Cologne alone and climbed the cathedral tower. They usually went off on their own and met up with us older folk for dinner only.

Between four cameras, we had quite a photo harvest. Enjoy the tour!

© Irene B. Hahn 2003

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