Once again this is another prime example of small town Germany. With about 50,000 residents, it has its roots dating back to about 10 BC as a Roman military camp. Its first official documented reference, however, is around 500 AD.
The Dom zu Speyer (St. Maria and St. Stephan’s Cathedral) was consecrated in 1061. After admiring it from the outside, we were as fascinated with the interior as we have been continually in our journeys. It is not nearly as ornate as many cathedrals previously visited, but lends itself to a quiet grandeur that remains no less impressive.
This particular parish allowed a visit down into its crypt. Needless to say a very somber place, large and very subdued in its trappings. Walking around one can see several massive cubes containing unknown relics (if anything at all). With no guide to impart information we can only guess at the contents. Inset into the walls were other individual stone sarcophagus that leave one pondering the mechanics involved in placing them where they have lain for centuries. Others on the floor are still clearly dated back to 1039. Eight kings and their respective queens lay at rest for eons yet to come. Thankfully none of the lids moved while taking their picture.
The day was spent wandering through the downtown area with an aunt and uncle who live in the nearby town of Hochenheim (bit of a famous racetrack there as well). His brother and sister (and he) own a local vineyard and winery. A fine Rose’ sampling has managed to fall into my hands hoping to return to Canada with us. Chances are not looking good. 😉
A light lunch, more of a leisurely stroll and now it’s time for coffee and cake. As traditional and commonplace as this is in Germany, the waistline simply can do no more. As much as North American restaurants have done to ensure their patrons do not leave hungry, a convincing argument can be made that German restaurants insist you do not leave thin.
Back to the ship and a slightly tearful goodbye is shared. When, or if, a retun is made is always open for discussion. Hopefully it will not be to attend a final farewell.
Tomorrow gives a very short sojourn into France…so now I must revise the title to 6 countries as this one had, (horrors!) been forgotten.