This was a big weekend for us. Fil got his drivers license on Tuesday but we were still without a car until Friday when it was cleared for us to register it. My Chevy has traveled from Washington down to Texas, across to Virginia, and up to New Jersey and then shipped to Germany and now it gets to take us all over Europe!
First stop, Trier! This was the last weekend before Christmas to get to a Christmas Market (Weihnachtsmarkt) and we made it! And boy was it fun! The host city closes its town center or marketplace to auto traffic, and wooden huts are erected. Some cities open their markets in November and leave them open through the New Year. Trier’s market runs from Nov. 24- Dec. 22 and has 95 super festive huts. The roof line of each one was covered in garlands with Christmas balls and stars. The city is also covered in lights and at night I bet it is just beautiful. Each hut is like a little specialty shop with wooden toys, birdhouses, soaps, candles, everything and anything! Before going I thought the market would only have Christmas themed things like ornaments and garland but I was pleasantly surprised.
The only trouble was that it was raining, but we were warmed up by another German holiday tradition, Glühwein—piping hot mulled red wine. At Trier’s market there were maybe 4 or 5 stands with it served in a ceramic or glass mug. You could return the mug to get a few euros back, and many people did, but I kept ours. Of course, to go with our Glühwein we both had a bratwurst on a bun.
The city of Trier is really beautiful and very old. Founded around 16 BC, it is the oldest city in Germany and is the host to 8 UNESCO World Heritage Sites. There are buildings from the Ancient Romans, Baroque, and every time period in-between.
I also liked Trier for the shopping! There were a handful of department stores and many specialty shops, I was in heaven! Trier was about an hours drive, and all the villages close to us only have one or two shops so to browse was such a delight! With the move I didn’t get a chance to Christmas shop so even though we didn’t buy anything it felt great to be around big stores again.
After enjoying the outdoor market and the shops in the immediate area we wondered around a bit and stumbled upon the Porta Nigra which is a Roman City gate built between 186 and 200 AD. It was one of four gates to enter the Roman city, and is the only one remaining today. In the Middle Ages it was transformed into a church, and in the early 1800’s Napoleon started to restore the building to its original form. The building was really cold from the stone and the rain, but it was really amazing that it was still standing and in such detail. Fil really liked the Porta Nigra, here are some pics he took:
We climbed a modern, stone, spiral staircase up the tree levels to get this great view of the city:
And when Brock is hungry, well he doesn’t care where we are!
I definitely plan to visit Trier again, maybe in the summer. There is so much more of the city to explore and shopping to be done :). We didn’t stay all day because the rain really started to come down. But, since we left early we were able to make another stop on the way back to Baumholder. About 15 minutes from the base is castle ruins and thankfully the rain stopped so we could visit for a bit before it got dark. I will fill you all in about that little trip tomorrow 😉
Merry Christmas everyone! Frohe Weihnachten jeder!