Saturday, April 4--typical German breakfast of rolls, cheeses, meats, spreads, and fruit. After breakfast we drove to Trier, Germany, less than an hour away. Jana's parents drove us there in their cars (there were 6 of us, so we needed 2 cars) and showed us the sights.
Trier is the oldest city in Germany and has Roman ruins from about 180 AD. It was a favorite place of several Roman Emperors, and was called the "Second Rome". We first visited Porta Nigra, part of the old city walls and gate from the Roman times. Then we visited the Dom. Afterwards we stopped at a cafe on a shopping street for a snack. I had Apfelschorle, which is apple juice with bubbly water, Karl had coffee and Caroline and Jana split a large ice cream concoction. Again, the weather was perfect, and it was very enjoyable to sit outside and watch people and chat.
Afterwards, we walked to the Kaiserthermen, the Roman bath ruins from the time of Emperor Constantine. Very interesting. A nice interpretive center is there, and many underground passages to explore. The above ground portion of the ruins is 3 stories high. It's interesting to walk around and think about how it was 1700 years ago.
A few blocks from the Kaiserthermen is the Amphitheater. It was hard to imagine the gladiators and lions having show-downs there. In the walls you could see the pens where the animals would've been held, and you can go underneath the arena to see where the gladiators and/or condemned men were held with the animals.
I really appreciated the accessibility of these ancient monuments. It was great to be able to walk through the ruins of the baths and amphitheater and gate and not have to view them from a distance or be roped off from them.
We ate dinner at a restaurant called Kartoffelkiste (Potato Basket). We sat outside again and ate, chatted, and watched people. Potatoes are very popular in Germany so I was not too surprised to find a restaurant that served dozens of different potato dishes. I had a casserole of potatoes, ham, pineapple, cheese sauce, topped with more cheese and browned in the oven. Different, but very good!
We got back to Jana's house around 7:30, and played one of our family's favorite games, Settlers of Catan.