Wolle und Stoffe* (so near Wool ‘n’ Stuff but not quite …)

Hello All

Last day in wonderful Trier and yes I have done it. I have bought my Trier ball of wool. I found another fine wool shop, Kaethe Faber with another lovely lady able to help me select my yarn and (thankfully) the next colour. Here it is:

A thing of beauty is it not? This yarn is an international affair. Peruvian Alpaca yarn spun in Italy for a German company, Lana Grossa. It is just the right thickness and weight and I know Trier Burgundy will work well with the Newcastle Blue and Amsterdam Yellow. Better get on with the scarf-shawl-thingy as I am looking forward to adding this snuggly yarn. Today there was a nip in the air and I will soon be needing a warm wrap.

I was going to be all medieval and Romanesque today but those darn Romans got the better of me. Or could it be that someone missed out on my Roman excursions and threw a huff?!

Well done Terence spotters you noticed he wasn’t about yesterday so I thought he had better get back on the road today. Good job too as he reminded me to visit the Barbara Baths.

A large Roman site just a minute from the hotel which can be accessed by walkways over the excavations and is free. Wunderbar! As I said you are tripping over antiquities in Trier. This large excavation will never reveal the full extent of the baths:

If easily offended avert your gaze but this gives you an idea of how the baths were used:


Enough of this silliness time to waddle (again had a fantastic meal last night, waddling is all I can manage today) into the centre and visit some of the newer builds.

So here I am at the Cathedral of St Peter (Dom):

Again it is hard to escape the Romans (even Boudicca found that out!) as the square core of the Dom was constructed c.340 AD and still forms part of the Cathedral today.

Despite damage caused by marauding Germanic tribespeople (400s) and Vikings (882) the Cathedral remained and successive generations re-built and enlarged it and in the 1600s a new chapel was built to house Trier’s Holy Robe. The Holy Robe being, according to tradition, the seamless robe of Christ brought to Trier by the Emperor Constantine’s mother, Helena. Mention of this robe first appears in the 11th Century. The facade of the shrine is at the top of the pilgrim stairs in the middle of the picture.

Alarming to me was again the poor organist’s home – I never knew it was such a risky physical occupation until this trip – which looked to me like an ornate wasps’ nest suspended from the ceiling.

Amazing yet chilling in equal measure.

These enormous churches are certainly testament to the faith and skill of those that spent lifetimes working on them. Looking up to the ceilings I wonder at the dangers these craftspeople faced.

Oh dear …

I hope he is not still under there.

As is often the case my favourite place in these great buildings is the Lady Chapel and Trier Cathedral’s did not disappoint. It’s simplicity leant it a tranquil atmosphere. It was pleasant to sit and be still.

Apologies for the gloom but it was downstairs and a little subterranean. Very atmospheric.

You won’t by now be surprised to learn that the Dom is another part of Trier’s UNESCO World Heritage Site as is it’s sister building next door, The Church of Our Lady.

The Liebfrauenkircher is the earliest German Gothic church and was begun sometime around 1230. What makes it unusual is that it has a round Cruciform floor plan which echoes the 12 petalled rose (Rosa Mystica) symbolising the Virgin Mary. Now you know! Thank goodness for Wikipedia.

Coincidently I had just been reading a review in this month’s Cumbria Life (I am not on commission) of a book about Pre-Raphaelite stained glass. It reminded me how explosive these windows can be, alive with colour amplified by the changing light illuminating the detail. Trier’s Church of our Lady has an abundance of this wonderful art-form.

Of the two buildings this was my favourite I think the shape pleased me. I love circles: no beginning and no end. Mesmerically there was eerily beautiful choral music playing. And if that weren’t enough the Cathedral bells tolled for three. It felt positively medieval.

Time to lift myself out of this enchantment with some jolly snaps of colourful buildings and a multitude of fountains.

That was the gorgeousness that was my Trier. I hope you have enjoyed sharing it with me and if you visit you return the favour.

Tomorrow …. Heidleberg.

Until next we meet,

Moke xxx

* Stoffe means fabric and not ‘stuff’ which I had rather hoped for.

P.S. For those that expressed concern about his welfare don’t worry I will be making Terence a scarf.

P.P.S. In my eco-guest bag today was …..

Gut, ja?! Mx

Let’s go Roman

Hello All

Trier is an historian’s dream. Everywhere you turn you are tripping over antiquities and glorious architecture. I even look out of my window at building works where thousands have been spent on conserving the roman artefacts found there. So much on offer to feed my heritage addiction, where to start?

I went with chronology. Love a timeline. Let’s go Roman. First place to aim for: Porta Nigra a Unesco World Heritage (see we are all at it) Site.


Built in the 2nd Century AD it is the best preserved and largest Roman city gate North of the Alps. It is MASSIVE…


Confession: I found the stairs quite scary. Not that good with heights me.

Looking up was enough to make me dizzy. As to it’s name Porta Nigra blame those medieval wags who had noticed that the stone had turned black…. I bet it had a much grander Imperial name sadly that has been lost in the mists of time.

It had to be done. My little old legs cried out ‘Please, please’ so I went all touristy and boarded …

… for a tour around the ancient sites of Trier. Stop laughing you lot! Well this ancient site (you should have seen my hair this morning!) found it really handy to get a ‘floor plan’ of the city and it was easier for me to toddle to the places on my must visit list. Stopping only for Kaffee und Kuchen – who wouldn’t?! – I made my way back to the Basillica of Constantine which was ENORMOUS.

Another UNESCO World Heritage Site – I am racking these up today – it is the largest hall from antiquity still surviving. The Emperor Constantine I – he who converted to Christianity – commissioned the building in around 310 AD. It formed part of a larger (!!!!) palace complex.

Bombed during the war the reconstruction left the walls bare without their nineteenth century embellishments and to my mind this creates a very powerful space, awe inspiring. I was sitting musing on this and getting all philosophical when I clapped eyes on the mighty organ pipes covering most of the entrance wall, my gaze then wandered to the organist’s eerie reached by a rather spindly looking spiral staircase. Hope they have a good head for heights.

As photography is not allowed inside the Basilica I thought I would make a small jotting for you dear readers. Now this seemed to attract attention and a couple of people came over to peek at my artwork. Strangely they took one look and scuttled away without comment…can’t think why….

Michaelangelo I ain’t. But you get the idea.

To regain my artistic nonchalant air I wandered through the beautiful ornamental gardens behind the Basilica to the Roman Archaeological Museum. Once again I was left open mouthed at the SIZE of the museum’s interiors. Here are some of my highlights:

It was wonderful to look through the galleries, it was very quiet with hardly any visitors. It felt very special.

I love the way this smiley bear is covering the eyes of the wild boar, ‘Don’t look she can’t draw for toffee!’:

Hoodies are definitely nothing new:

As this figure of a Celtic Trevari confirms.

I may have eaten rather well on this trip but really…

Today has been a day of grandeur and magnificence. There were moments when I felt like a wee Cumbrian Brigante tribeswoman brought before the might that was Rome. I loved it.

Now dinner beckons and tonight I am translating the menu before making my selection. Thank goodness for translation apps! Yesterday’s meal was a vegetarian’s serendipitous delight (whoever said the German’s don’t do food for veggies? They blinking do) but tonight it will be nice to show that I appreciate the chef’s menu by making considered choices rather than just stabbing a finger at unfamiliar words hopeful of a tasty result.

Until next we meet,

Moke xxx

P.S. I hope I am not raising expectations too much as I may not be able to write a post everyday but I will try my best Wifi and other commitments allowing.

P.P.S. Want to see my reward for being an Eco-friendly guest?

Good isn’t it?

P.P.S. The quest for wool. Just as I thought I would never see a wool shop I saw two in one street so will be checking them out tomorrow. The ripple scarf-shawl-thingy must go on.


The Great Escape and an Ode to Tea

Hello All

Bags are again packed and I am off on a small adventure:

I am going Interrailing to visit (find!) my father’s home village in Germany, Klein Sperrenwalde. Thank you to my friends who waved me off both physically and virtually.

But this is me and I like to begin with baby steps. Clever little bods them babies. So I have started with a couple of days in Newcastle. Dodging a swarm of beer swilling blokes who appeared confused navigating the ticket barriers I walked through the big and beautiful concourse to see Newcastle Upon Tyne for the first time. And I was a woman on a mission.

My goal was to find a wool shop in which to purchase the first ball of wool for my European trip. I was looking for Woolly Minded and bingo found it really easily. I am used to cosy little wool shops with quaint and often quirky signage Woolly Minded is a large shop with a very modern frontage impossible to miss.

Despite the helpful assistants I sadly couldn’t find anything really local but instead I settled for King Cole DK. They are based in Skipton and that’s the North!

In case you are wondering my plan is to crochet a shawl or scarf using a ball of wool from each town or city I stay in. This seemed like a good idea when I was cooking it up in my head as it means I will not have to carry all the wool for the project but only a ball each time I stop, hopefully having already worked the previous yarn into an ever growing shawl-scarf-thingy. As the weather is turning chilly I also hope that I will have something warm and snuggly to use when I return. Let the crocheting commence!

On walking a wee bit further into the centre of Newcastle and reaching The Monument a tall …. erm … monument to Earl Grey – local politician and possibly the father to my favourite tipple Earl Grey tea – I took a brave ‘pill’. That being a metaphorical pill you understand no pharmaceuticals nor mind-altering substances were taken. Suffice to say I embraced the Newcastle Metro system.

My hotel the Best Western New Kent in Jesmond was only a few stops down the line and I was thankful to reach its welcoming reception staff.

While someone quickly made himself comfortable. Cheeky! I was just glad to put down my rucksack. Backpacks seemed lighter when I was 18….

But after a good night’s sleep- refreshed and fuelled by a veggie English Breakfast – I was ready this morning to visit Arbeia Roman Fort in South Shields. A short hop – well 16 stops but by now I am such an old hand I am not even counting – on the wonderful Newcastle Metro service.

It was easy to see when I was getting near to Arbeia.

When I arrived I really hit it lucky as today is the last day of the season at the Fort and I managed to earwig a fascinating impromptu tour which included a description of the famous Regina tombstone (its the one on the right as you look at the photograph):

It was commissioned in the 2nd century by the late lamented Regina’s husband. Fascinatingly Regina was from a southern British tribe the Catuvellauni and had been sold as a slave to Palmyrian (Syrian) trader Barates who freed her and then married her. What I love is that she is clutching her distaff and spindle rather like any of us would hold our knitting of an evening at home in a comfy chair while poignantly at her feet is her stash of wool ready for projects she never got to finish.

Sniffle! Pulling myself together I took a turn about the site and was thrilled to have the reconstructed gatehouse all to myself;

From the top I got a good view of the majority of the archaeological remains together with the reconstructed barracks and Commanding Officer’s house:

Let’s look through the keyhole (no doors let alone keyholes but bear with me). Who lives in a house/barrack like this?

A Centurian! Rather bijou.

Being the last day of the season there were also re-enactors from the Cohors Quinto Gallorum – an auxiliary unit garrisoned to the fort in the 3rd Century – showing visitors ceremonies, food and the equipment of infantry soldiers. These are brave men. I mean it. Some of those children turned quite vicious when hurling spears at them!

A short walk around the herb garden,

And I was ready for a stroll back towards the Metro.

One of the nice things about tootling and having no particular timetable is that you come upon unexpected pleasures. Today mine was the Victorian Pantry at South Shields Museum and Art Gallery on Ocean Road.

I had a lovely light lunch (I managed to resist a High Tea…goodness knows how!) served by waitresses complete with white pinnies.

The poem by an unknown author on the front of the menu sums up life for me:

When the world is all at odds,

And the mind is all at sea,

Then cease the useless tedium,

And brew a cup of tea.

There is magic in its taste,

The laden moments vanish

Somewhere into space.

And the world becomes a lovely thing!

There’s beauty as you see.

All because you briefly stopped

To have a cup of tea.

About time I was brewing up!

Until next we meet,

Moke xxx

P.S. Those of you playing spot the Meerkat (Terence to his friends), it will get harder!

P.P.S. Apologies to anyone who caught a quick glimpse of an earlier post announcing the start of my travels. It was a draft which I prematurely published! Sorry for any confusion caused. Mx