On Tuesday, our Art History class took a field trip to Speyer to see the incredible cathedral there. We had a little bit of an adventure figuring out public transportation, but we arrived and our professor told us all about Speyer as we walked through the city toward the cathedral. I’ve been to other cathedrals before, but most of them in the gothic style. There was something about this romanesque one that felt different somehow. The large rounded sandstone columns gave the whole space a sense of stability, and the bright light pouring in made the space feel open. Down in the crypt and imperial tombs, we walked by caskets of emperors and bishops.
I don’t know if I will ever get used to how old everything is. Emperor Konrad, the first to be buried in the crypt, was laid to rest in 1039. That is nearly five centuries before the events of the Reformation. The age almost hugs you as you move through the cathedral. It brought whole new meaning to the phrase, “a great cloud of witnesses.” In the cathedral, those words took on a different meaning than it ever had on the other side of the pond. Outside, we got some delicious gelato and made our way back to Heidelberg.
The next day was our Wednesday excursion to Schwetzingen palace and gardens. An incredible tour guide named July lead us around the palace, and then outside at the gardens. The grandeur was incredible, and no luxury was withheld when it was built. Even with more than an hour out in the gardens, we were unable to see everything. We did see the beautiful mosque. Even though it was never used for spiritual purposes was an important representation of religious tolerance.
One of my best friends from home is studying in BERLIN this semester! So, last weekend I hopped on a train, all by myself, and went to visit. To prepare myself for the long hours in the train, Friday morning I took a long walk to the Starbucks in the Altstadt (Old Town) to do some homework with a pumpkin spice latte. I found this amazing copy of Shakespeare’s As You Like It in a shop on my walk home. Quite a few hours later, I successfully landed in Berlin with only a few travel bumps on the way – not bad for my first solo trip. Morgan found me and after a lot of hugging and squealing, we made our way to her host mom’s house.
The next day we spent traveling Berlin, stopping at several sights like the Brandenburg gate. Despite the slight drizzle, we loved strolling around Berlin together. When we were sitting listening to audioguides in the Berlin cathedral – A WEDDING STARTED. They let tourists continue to move through the back of the main sanctuary space (the sermon church), while the wedding continued up front. So casually, Morgan and I attended a German wedding. Then, we went to the top and saw this beautiful view over Berlin. Later, we met up with friends from her program and enjoyed dinner with new friends and old!
Morgan had discovered a Confiserie called “Confiserie Reichert.” On our way into town on Sunday we stopped in and had some sweets and coffee. Reichert is not a very common last name, and it was an inexplicably exciting experience to see my last name on everything as we looked around and enjoyed our goodies. We finished up our weekend together with a trip to an exhibit called: The Luther Effekt. It was so nice to explore new places with a familiar friend.
By the next time I post, I will have adventures from Paris to share with you! But for now….
Auf Wiedersehen! – Moriah