The next day was a travel day. We were heading north to Bitburg to spend some more time with Jack and Aniko before returning to Brussels and the flight home, and Jeanette and Morgan were heading back to Munich to spend a couple of days with their friends before returning to Frankfurt and their flight home. We had breakfast, took a final walk around town, and lugged our bags over to the train station.

It was another arduous journey. To allow ourselves more time to change trains, we planned a stop in Basel which is in Switzerland but is specifically permitted as a transfer point on the German rail pass. That station was the most depressing train station I have ever been in, full of long, dark corridors and unsmiling people. We finally came upon a little shop where we could get some snacks, but as I was shopping I realized the prices were, of course, in Swiss francs, and we had spent almost all our Swiss money.

I had read that there was a scenic train route heading north from Konstanz, but the route we took was obviously not it because the scenery looked much like other scenery we had passed through in Germany. Finally we arrived in Mannheim where we met Jack, and after a 2 hour drive we arrived in Bitburg.

It was wonderful to arrive at their lovely home where Aniko had prepared a delicious quiche. The meal was accompanied by cold Belgian beer served in the proper glasses and ended with Belgian chocolate. Perfection!

Aniko had to work the next morning, but Jack took us to the nearby town of Trier. We emerged from the parking lot into this pleasant little square.

You may not be able to see it clearly in this picture, but there is no shortage of tropical flowers on the streets of Germany.

When we first began planning this trip, I had no idea there were so many places where gates and walls built by the Romans remain. Trier was actually a populated center 1300 years before Rome was built.

This impressive structure is called the Porta Nigra (Latin for black gate). It is the largest surviving Roman city gate north of the Alps. There were once four gates to the city, but only the Porta Nigra remains.

Walt and Jack in front of the Porta.

Old Roman ruins are not immune to modern-day graffiti.

These pictures are taken inside the Porta.

This is the view from the Porta. As you can see, it was a very grey morning, but Jack kept assuring us that the clouds would burn off as the day progressed. I think the greyness gives the pictures an old-time sort of feel.

Our next stop was the Trier Cathedral - the oldest cathedral in the country. Construction was initiated by Constantine, the first Christian emperor, in 326 AD. At that time, the structure was 4 times as big as it is today. There are actually 2 churches - the Church of Our Lady and the Cathedral of St. Peter. The initial structure sustained extensive damage in the 5th and 9th Centuries, and in 1035 the surviving parts were restored and additions were added.

This is the impressive vaulted ceiling above the choir

The Electoral Palace building, built in 1615, is located near the cathedral. We admired the building from the Palace Garden. I especially liked the cat lady statues.

Our next destination was a considerable walk across town. To get to it, we traversed a pedestrian underpass decorated with graffiti.

Eventually we arrived at the remains of this 2nd century amphitheater where 20,000 spectators once watched gladiator battles and animal fights.

As you can see, Jack's prediction that the morning clouds would burn off eventually did come true.

The picture at the left is taken at the top of the amphitheater looking towards the vineyard on the other side of the road.

You can descend the steps to see the area below where the gladiators and animals waited.

The ruins of the Imperial Baths, constructed in the 4th Century, are located back near the grafitti covered pedestrian underpass.

We had a wonderful time visiting Trier. Here are some more pictures taken as we wandered around the town.

We still had time for a quick stop in Luxembourg on our way back to Jack and Aniko's home. This castle sits high atop a hill overlooking the river and falls. You can ride a ropeway up to it, but it was late in the day and we were ready for another pleasant evening back at the house.

Planning this trip had been frustrating, but in the end, everything had worked out fairly well. We saw many interesting things, drank a lot of good coffee and beer, ate some delicious meals, learned a thing or two about the European lifestyle, and had a lot of fun with Jeanette and Morgan and Jack and Aniko.