"One day it occurred to me that it had been many years since the world had been afforded the spectacle of a man adventurous enough to undertake a journey through Germany on foot. After much thought, I decided that I was a person fitted to furnish to mankind this spectacle. So I determined to do it. This was in March, 1878." Mark Twain, A Tramp Abroad
Since we forgot our video camera cord back home in the U.S., I am unable to post a video of this amazing feat, but I had the Father snap away with his camera, which will have to do for now. Just scroll through the pictures really fast, and it's almost the same as a video.
(By the way, sticking out your tongue really helps you concentrate when you're learning new things like walking. If you haven't tried this before, you should really give it a shot.)
And she's off!
Oops! Look like she got a little overconfident that time. Let's give it another try...
"Hey guys! Did you see what I just did? That was awesome!"
Here is Maximilianstrasse, an unusually broad and straight road originally built with parades of Roman troops in mind. Most of the older buildings were destroyed in 1689 during the Thirty Year's War, so now it is lined with pastel Baroque buildings. No cars are allowed on this road, so it feels quite wide and open when you walk down it. The old gate to the city is at the end of it in the distance.
Turning around, the Kaiserdom (Imperial Cathedral) is at the other end of Maximilianstrasse.
The Dom is the reason most people come to visit Speyer. It is known as the world's best preserved Romanesque church, and it is HUGE!
The crazy thing is that construction was started in 1030, and it wasn't until 1858 that it was finished.
This side view of the Dom illustrates the patchwork-quilt of building styles and materials that were pieced together over the centuries.
One well known visitor to the Speyer Dom is French Abbot Bernard de Clairvaux. This is not Bernard below, but rather the other half of my family.
The inside feels large and open, but there isn't much by way of stained glass or furnishings, except for these huge portraits protraying the events from the life of the Virgin Mary.
The Speyer Dom is also well known for its ancient Crypt. Here is a (terrible) picture of Penelope and I contemplating our baptism next to the oldest baptismal font north of the Alps.
It was cut from one stone.
In the other part of the crypt are the tombs of emperors from the 11th-14th centuries. This one is of Henry V, the last Salian Emperor.
In another part of the Dom is a room displaying several Christian relics. One of them is a part of St. Elizabeth of Hungary's shroud (celebrated saint of Marburg, where we were before Heidelberg). Another interesting one is this decorated bone from (?) "Seliger Paul Josef Nardin." No idea who that is, but must have been pretty special to get his bone on display.
After the Dom, we went to an exhibit at the Historisches Museum der Pfalz about the rise of witches within early modern Europe. After we were done browsing the "adult" part of the exhibit, we took Penelope to the "children's" part. Here is Penelope trying on her own witch costume. She looked at herself in the mirror for a few seconds, and then became scared and started wimpering.
To continue the previous post, here are my favorite pictures from this past Tuesday's Fasnacht Day Parade. I know it seems like a ton of pictures, but the Father took a whopping 355 photos, and I thought I was doing well at narrowing it down to less than 30!
I don't know about you, but I have attended many a parade in my life, and all those parades were somewhere in the U.S. This parade, however, felt much different than any parade I've seen before. There were so many things in it that made it uniquely German and uniquely "Fasching."
Penelope and I watching the parade (notice those blonde-wig-wearing male band members behind us)
This parade also had lots of huge flags. Most of them were flags from the local region.
Not only was most of the music unfamiliar, but there were also several characters in the parade that seemed familiar to those around us, but utterly foreign to me. Like this group of "witches"...
There was a group dressed up like the different ingredients in a Doener (see my post from October if you don't know what I'm talking about). This lady was particularly good in her role as the onion.