One thousand, eight hundred thirty-two years. That’s a long time ago.
And that’s how long ago this was built:
It’s called Porta Nigra (Black Gate) and it was one of four gates to the city of Trier erected by the Romans. It’s currently the largest Roman city gate north of the Alps, according to Wikipedia.
The Porta Nigra is the only one of four Roman gates that still stands in Trier; the others were gradually pillaged for their stone and iron. The Porta Nigra survived because it was used as the humble residence of a hermit monk named Simeon for seven years (1028-35). After his death he was buried in the gate and the structure was transformed into the two-story Church of St. Simeon (lay church on the bottom, monastery church on top).
Napoleon destroyed the church in 1803, but the 12th-century Romanesque apse survived and the entire structure has been restored to its medieval appearance.
Information found at SacredDestinations.com.
After viewing the Porta Nigra we walked through town which really reminded me of the downtown area of Wiesbaden.
We passed by a homeless man and I didn’t say anything about him. About 20 feet on the other side of him a very quiet voice asked, “Do you have any extra money?” I looked down at Hayden (though it won’t be much longer I can say that… he’s getting so tall) and my heart melted.
I grabbed all the Euro change I had and watched as my sensitive-spirited son walked back and gave the man the coins. My heart… walking around.
Of course, when in a new city one must try new foods and new experiences, right? Unless you’re married to MY husband, that is. The Golden Arches were too strong a temptation and therefore we ate the familiar fare that is McDonald’s. (Please don’t try to tell me about the pink goo or the other kajillon reasons McDonald’s is the wrong place to dine. I would have rather eaten at a roadside brat stand (located exactly next door, actually) but for the sake of convenience, marital bliss, and only standing in one line, I just go with it. Sort of like the Hard Rock Cafés we dine in all over the world… Prague, Paris, Dublin and London… it’s just something we do.)
After lunch we walked just around the corner to the Cathedral of Trier, which is the oldest cathedral in Germany, built in the 4th century.
We stopped by a konditorei (pastry shop) as a treat. The boys and I were in a hurry to get back to Mainz for a birthday party and under different circumstances I would have taken pictures inside. It reminded me a bit of our own Café Maldaner though much smaller. The treats we bought were amazing and I was disappointed that we had only gotten two. (Yes, to share with 6 people… and they were only about the size of a donut-ball. You never know, here in Germany, if the desserts that look tasty will actually BE tasty. That’s why we only got two.) I winked and told Matt that I’d make it up to him if he were to go in and buy more. He made the purchase as the boys and I left Trier and headed back through the fog, which seemed to be a curtain between that city and our own.
Taking the time to sit and write about the very fast-paced day that was filled with remembering the soldiers who served America in WWII, appreciating a gate built by the Romans, and walking around inside the oldest cathedral in Germany… I feel unable to put into words how I feel. I just thanked Matt for being in the Army. What an amazing adventure…