DAY 18 in Cochem and Trier, Germany:
Disaster struck that morning — a landslide occurred on one side of the Rhine valley, which meant that instead of having one-way rail tracks on either side of the valley, we had trains going in opposite directions taking turns to use the single railway track on the landslide-spared side of the valley. Our alarm clock was set for our original earlier arrival in Koblenz, so we were up a little too early, munching away on our packed wraps as we admired the gradually brightening German landscape before us. Miriam went back to sleep while I stayed by the exit, hoping I would spot the Loreley or any of the famous hilltop castles (e.g. Schloss Kaub) and fortresses Dad told me to look out for.
Other than the occasional boys who passed by me to use the restroom, I was standing by myself. The train wasn’t chugging away, it was quiet, it was a place of calm and peace. I closed my eyes and silenced my thoughts for they had been slightly haphazard lately. Travelling from place to place to place in quick succession tends to make me feel a little unsettled. Just as a place begins to grow on me, I pull my roots out and move on. But I guess that’s what I love about travelling too — moving on.
A little late, we arrived in Koblenz after having missed our connection train to Cochem but managed to get replacement tickets without any issue. The cobblestone path to our motel-like hostel was bumpy, but the rest of the morning went smoothly. Our room was small but cosy — it had everything we needed for comfort and happiness: happy yellow sheets, happy yellow lampshades, a little side table we used during dinners, a mini, compact kitchenette with a fridge where we stashed our prized possessions. I meant food, hey.
Cochem, with its massive old imperial castle (the largest in the Mosel Valley) looming high above, colourful half-timbered houses lining the cobbled stone streets and sloping vineyards wrapping the town all around, is considered by many as one of the most attractive and charming towns in the Mosel Valley. Dripping with medieval richness…
What was intended to be a short nap extended till 11.50am, and we had müsli for lunch right after before boarding a train to Trier, where we planned to spend the rest of the day.
Roman roaming in Trier! We visited a number of well-preserved Roman attractions, the most famous of which is the spectacular fortified gate of Porta Nigra, a UNESCO World Heritage site built in the 2nd century. Next, the High Cathedral of Saint Peter, the oldest cathedral in Germany and also what turned out to be one of the most beautiful cathedrals both of us have ever visited; the church falls right into the architectural tradition of the French Gothic cathedrals. Built in the time of Emperor Constantine and fully restored (it’s now a church), Aula Palatina (Konstantin-Basilika) was third last. The Roman Baths were second last. The Colosseum was last.
We visited Karl Max’s house too.
Maybe it was the gloomy weather getting to us, but other than the Vegan treats we found (Nussecke!! Kartoffelbrot!!!), the funny ‘Trier at night’ postcard we laughed at, the Agatha Christie book I bought (Blue Cyanide) and the cherry tree Miriam plucked a cherry from, Trier didn’t leave us jumpy or excited about it. We did the minimum and stood from outside the attractions, peeking in wherever we could.
But I know, I know…
‘The weather should come from our hearts and not from the clouds around us.’
We were hoping it would get sunnier as the day went by, and I was trying to be positive. “You never know what’s around the corner……. once, I saw a good looking guy around the corner!” I don’t know what I was thinking/ who was I thinking about when I said that (that guy from my gym would be a good bet), but it got us laughing, and that was a form of sunny day to me.
It was shocking how the mood changed when my front collapsed under the unkempt, ignored thoughts I had been suppressing. We shared a moment of vulnerability, setting our worries free when Miriam prayed for healing and strength. Calmness slowly but surely began surging through me.
One day at a time.