Belated Photojournal: Germany Day 3
One of my father’s old college friends and his wife drove from Munich the previous night and took us to visit the town of Speyer on our third day. (For the history-inclined, it’s about 40 kilometers south of Worms.) Coming off of the highway, one passes what looks like a gee-whiz museum full of airplanes and an IMAX theater. But past that is a large graveled parking lot to the main part of town dominated by a gigantic cathedral built in the 11th century: the Dom St. Maria und St. Stephan–a World Heritage Site. Underneath the Romanesque cathedral is a crypt, which my father and his friends declined to visit. But being the morbidly curiously sort, of course I went. More than a dozen medieval kaisers are entombed there–and I wondered what they would have thought of all the tourists tramping down there to gawk at their stone coffins.
Afterwards, we did a little walking tour through the main part of town. We crashed an engagement party serving pretzels and champagne–no one seemed to mind–and walked past the Altpörtel, a medieval combo of clock tower and gate. We took a small break at a coffee house and I downed a shot of espresso, black and straight, despite the wife of my father’s friend admonishing me that the Italians saturated theirs with sugar before drinking. We visited another church hidden in a back alleyway in the late summer foliage–the Konviktskirche–which was a little more modern, if you call 1266 more modern. This small gem was virtually ignored by the rest of the tourists. Inside, an organ dominates the back and the windows panelled with jewel-colored stained glass. Outside, a rich and fragrant Monet-esque garden cloisters the church walls.
Before heading back to Weinheim where all the old college buddies were gathering for their reunion, we stopped at a restaurant a little beyond the main square with the fountain. I had sauerkraut, bratwurst, and Riesling (250 mL of it according to the marking on the glass)–and was promptly ill for the rest of the afternoon. I suppose the stereotypical German food does not agree with me at all.