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Exploring the Roman ruins in Trier

Rating: (5.00) (5 Votes)

Trier, Germany
March 12th 2005

Pros: Great nightlife
Cons: None

Alright so I know that I am terribly behind on my travelogues and you are all probably wondering where in the world I have been, but we have been so incredibly busy with traveling and exams that there has not been any time to just sit and breath…let alone write a travelogue.

I will try to pick up where I left off, but at this point Trier is beginning to seem a little hazy in my memory. After visiting the American and German cemeteries in Luxembourg we all got back on the bus headed for Trier. On the ride Jerry gave us a brief history of the area and what we were going to see and do there. We pulled up to our hotel which was right next to the Porta Negra at around sunset. I had thought that the last hotel was really nice, but this one was even better! It was downright luxurious. It is so funny to me how we can go from staying in some random bunk bed in a hostel one day to staying in a four star hotel the next. Our lives are so crazy here. So anyways I had a room all to myself because Heather went to Amsterdam. The first thing I did as soon as I got in was to take off my ridiculously muddy heels (from walking around in the mud and snow) and take a nap. We all lounged around for a while being lazy before we decided to go get dinner. We went to this pizza place with a huge group and just had a good time goofing around with each other. We kept on trying to guess where the waiter was from, because he spoke excellent English to us, German to the table next to us, and Italian to Anne when she asked him if he was Italian (which he was not). I am always amazed by the number of languages that people in Europe speak. They may not all be fluent, but a large portion of the population knows at least one other language and are significantly more conversational than I am in French for example. Finally at the end of dinner he told us that he was really Spanish. After that we bummed around for a while before we actually got ourselves to get dressed and go out. Finally, we got everyone together and dragged ourselves out to go have a good time. I was not really in the mood for going out out but Jerry had told us that there was a good nightlife so all the other girls wanted to go dancing. We finally wound up at some random dance club that some people on the street had suggested to us. I really am not a fan of clubs, but I was sucked in with the crowd and didn’t want to talk back by myself. Once we were inside though I had a pretty good time. We all danced and whatnot for a couple of hours. Anne and Brittny found some Army guys and disappeared for the rest of the night, but the rest of us girls just had fun dancing among ourselves. It was soo funny… Brittny who is Air Force ROTC apparently heard the guys talking from across the room…heard that they were in the military….called out “troops” and elbowed Mike to get out of the way….and that was the last time we saw her for the rest of the night. She is hilarious. To fast forward a bit, I got really bored and convinced some of the people to go back with me and get some sleep. I was really tired for some reason and fell asleep almost as soon as we got back at like 3 or 4. Thankfully Jerry did not plan any excursions or anything before noon, so I finally got to get a real nights sleep in such a wonderfully comfy bed.

The next morning at breakfast everyone was tearing into Brittny and Anne so badly, but it was really funny. We met up with Jerry by the Porta Negra and one of his friends, a history professor at a local college, took us on a tour of the Roman ruins in Trier. She was actually a really good tour guide and we learned a lot. I am not going to go into all the details of the stories about Trier, but to summarize, it was Constantine’s home before he reunified Rome and has the best preserved Roman ruins north of the Alps. After the Porta Negra, we went to the fighting ring where they had gladiator’s matches during Roman times. Of course Jerry had put on Gladiator as the movie we watched on our first leg of the trip so we all had fresh images of gladiator fights in our minds. We got to walk through the underground cellars where the animals and people were kept before the matches and overall it was just a really cool thing to see. Next we went to the old Roman baths. Again we got to walk around through all of the passageways under the baths that brought the water and steam through. When you visit things like that it really makes you wonder how civilization managed to loose that much knowledge during the dark ages. For instance in Trier they had this amazing Roman sewer system and city planning that they just completely neglected. After the Roman baths we went past the Baroque city hall of Trier (the pink building in the photos) and on to the Constantine’s catherdral. The church is a monstrous building, with huge, thick walls and massive windows. Again, when you are there you are just blown away at how advanced they were. Our tour guide showed us pictures of how the cathedral would have looked back in Constantine’s time….all decorated with marble and paintings and told us how, after the fall of the Roman empire, people used the cathedral as a town wall and just built their dwellings inside its confines for protection, since the technology for building such a secure structure had been lost. We continued on to the church that is dedicated to Constantine’s mother. Apparently, she is supposed to have gone to the holy land 300 years after Jesus’ death and brought back with her the cloak that Jesus had worn??? It is a very pretty church. We saw the evolution of the church’s construction from its Roman origins to its Gothic additions. Inside there was a very neat carved portal leading to the place where the Eucharist is kept. We ended our tour in the little town square where they were having some sort of fair. We bought some local apple wine and did some shopping. We went back to the hotel for a little while and hung out before we went to dinner. We all went to Avi and Mike’s room and watched “The Wonderful World of…” on VH1 for such a long time, just drinking and being absolute wastes of space. Finally we dragged ourselves out to get a gyro (our staple food here in Europe because they are soo tasty and more importantly CHEAP) and then made our way to an Irish bar that Jerry had recommended. Unfortunately there was no live music that night, but we still managed to have a really good time. Kind of like Luxembourg we just took over the back part of the bar and were dancing and singing and having a great old time. Almost everyone in the bar was an American soldier either on their way to or returning from Iraq, since their staging base in Germany is not far away. As the night wore on, everyone else started to trickle away, but me and Avi stuck around because we were having such a good time. Avi had challenged the bartender to a drinking contest with the reward being a foam Guiness top-hat. Finally at about 3 am he won the contest and got the hat. Avi and I, being the only true drinkers out that night, were the only ones left at this point so we decided to continue on to the next place that all of the Army guys were going to. Once we got in, I left Avi for a couple of minutes to go use the bathroom and when I got back he had been swarmed by German guys all commenting on how cool his hat was. It was really weird. They were all buying him drinks and what not…and I couldn’t even get through to hang out with him. I wandered around for a while, but couldn’t find anyone that I had met earlier in the evening to talk to….and my German is not too conversational (ha ha ha). Finally, I got back to where Avi was and we decided to split….I mean it was only 5am but we were tired, all of our friends had gone home, and we had both drank quite a lot. The next morning we had to be up bright and early to pile on to the bus to Bastogne. At breakfast Avi was looking a little rough, having been up so late drinking with me, but he did have his victory hat on so he was happy. I have this very weird reaction to alcohol where I am always in a great mood the morning after a long night of drinking. No matter how much I had, or how late I stayed up I will always be full of energy and in an awesome mood in the morning. It is like the anti-hangover…… and I love it. While everyone else is dragging and being miserable I am in a great mood and full of life. Anyways, so we all piled in the bus and took off for our last stop of the weekend in Bastogne to see more WWII battlefields.