When we woke up in Aschaffenburg my jet-lag had finally worn off a bit, but I still didn’t get out of bed until after ten. It’s getting frustrating; I hate getting up so late. After we ate breakfast we pulled on all our winter clothes and went to go look around in the city. There was, of course, a grandiose medieval church.
I liked this statue (see right), mostly because the one Roman has the look of total concentrated fascination on his face as he for whatever reason is pulling the other Roman’s toga up over his head. Not sure where the artist was going with this, but I like it.
Nietzsche was totally right though. These guys worship death. Look at this shit.
< A coffin, with glass walls revealing a, I hope, an artificial corpse. And I say ‘I hope’ because I’ve been on churches where they have actual preserved human body parts hanging around in reliquaries, so it’s not like we can put it past them.
And a painting of cold, disfigured, whitish-gray, bloody dead Jesus. Definitely not bloodcurdling in any way. I really should do a post sometime just on this topic. My collection of macabre Christian art is extensive.
After we felt disturbed enough, we kept walking, saw some more pretty buildings and gardens. Also this door, in this square:
What? It’s a cool door.
Eventually we made our way to Schloss Johannisburg. This castle was heavily damaged in World War II, but now is almost completely restored. As we approached, I saw that there was a market set up in front of it. I squeaked in excitement and then ran over, arms thrown wide open and screaming “YEEEEEEEEEEEES” just kidding no I didn’t but that’s what happened in my mind.
I adore open air markets. I can (and do) spend hours walking around just looking at everything and swooning. The colors and shapes of the fruits and vegetables (I can only think of Aristotle and the Greek word physis), all the different fish, shimmering, laid out on ice. Buckets of sauerkraut and pickles, local farmers selling all different cheeses and cuts of meat and a million kinds of wurst and jam and other preserves. Big round and square loaves of whole grain breads, pastries, cookies. Old ladies selling eggs. Homemade egg-noodles. The smell of fresh herbs and pine Christmas wreaths, mistletoe… and all against the background of a medieval castle. The. Best.
This is hands down my favorite thing about Europe. One day when I become a real grown-up and have a reliable job and money, I will go crazy and buy ALL THE THINGS. But for now, I’m more than happy just to walk around and look. I did visit the spice stand though. I needed a new curry mix since I’m out, and I bought some cardamom to put in my coffee, because I read that they do that in Israel and I want to try it. LOOOOOOOVE.
Finally Philipp ripped me out of my happy place and forced me to come back to the bus. He reminded me that we still needed to get to Worms before the day was over, and I did really want to go there because it’s an important part of the Siegfried story (but um, hello, it’s called Worms… no further excuse needed). Like every opera fan, I’ve long known the Siegfried legend, and I’m even coincidentally reading Hagen von Tronje by Wolfgang Hohlbein, but I thought that Worms was either a completely made up place or a city that used to exist hundreds of years ago but is now long gone. I never expected it to not only be real, but also still around and visit-able. Totally psyched.
On the way there, we passed Biblis, a now shut-down nuclear reactor. There was something truly
primordially terrifying about these things. The monolithic, smooth, stark-white towers embody technology at its most menacing, its most dystopic (is that a word?); as if it knows that we just barely have it under control, and that if at any moment it decides to show who is boss, there is nothing we can do.
When we arrived in Worms it was evening. We crossed over the Nibelungenbrücke, which is kind of famous. It seems they managed to keep the sickass city gate intact, but they’ve stuck it rather unceremoniously on the bridge, far away from everything else and looking kind of out of place on the highway.
On the other side of the bridge we got a sweet view of the cathedral. It was too dark and rainy to really go sightseeing, so we parked in a large shopping center and went to Mcfit and McDonalds (again directly next to one another— it is so not an accident). Our dinner was pasta with tomato sauce and broccoli (bought the pasta and the canned tomatoes for the sauce, but hey! still cheap!). Exhausted, we called it a night.
The next morning, the 22nd of November, we again got bundled up in our winter suits and went looking around in Worms. There were church bells ringing, there were only a few people out and about, and almost all the shops were closed. Sundays in Europe are quiet affairs. In most places the supermarkets are even closed; unimaginable for someone who comes from New York, where the supermarkets don’t even close for the night half the time.
We went inside a the church and listened to the last bit of a mass. I even went up and made communion just to see if I still new how, and also because I was a bit curious if the weird little wafer thing was any different here. It wasn’t. The cathedral itself was impressive though.
We found a bakery that was open (Sonntagsbrötchen müssen sein) to get some rolls for breakfast since we had nothing else, and I spotted a Linzer Törtchen which I also bought and immediately devoured (taking leisurely Sunday strolls around burns calories too… ).
Then it was photo time at the Siegfried Fountain.
And then, breakfast time in the bus.
I wasn’t overly impressed with Worms in its modern form, but it’s still cool that it exists and I’m glad to have been here. Next time I’ll go to the Nibelungen museum, which was closed today.
We spent the rest of the day driving. In Kaiserslautern we stopped to eat lunch and take a look around. We found a wheel of Camembert a few days ago, and we baked it in our toaster oven, which we were pretty excited about being able to do. Neither of us thought our battery would hold out that long. Afterwards we got back on the road. We made a few stops to check if we could find anything behind the various supermarkets that we passed, but no luck.
We arrived in Saarbrücken in the evening, and again found that both McDonalds and Mcfit were in the same parking lot. We decided to be lazy and left out the gym for the day. We hung out in McDonalds to use the internet and then hit the sack.