Worms, May 27, 2017

So I went to Worms yesterday, on a specific mission. I wanted to buy some locally-produced German wine as a gift for my dad. Most of the wines available in grocery stores here are decent, but not anything I’d consider bringing across the ocean. My dad likes really high-quality stuff, so I needed to search out a dedicated wine store, and after some Google research, I found one in Worms.

I started the day around 9, did my usual morning things, then headed to the train station to catch the train to Worms. It’s only about 20 minutes by train from Mannheim, and the train wasn’t very full, so it was a pleasant little trip. I arrived at the Worms train station and plotted a rough course toward the St. Peter Cathedral, which I wanted to visit before the wine store, as I really love going into old European cathedrals.

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This is the Martin Luther Memorial in Worms. Very impressive and located in a lovely little park, which I passed through on my way to the cathedral. Worms is the actual name of the city, and it’s a famous and historically important city in Germany (although rather small, compared to other cities). It’s the city where the “Diet of Worms” happened (not the kind of diet that has to do with food). It was an assembly of the Holy Roman Empire to respond to Martin Luther and the Protestant Reformation. You can Google it if you want to know more, but suffice it to say that if you’re a non-Catholic Christian, you owe the existence of your faith to Martin Luther. 😉

I also happened upon this, the “Memorial for the Victims of Fascism”. It’s normal for most cities in Germany to have memorials of various kinds for the people who were killed, tortured, and/or exiled as a result of the Nazi regime that came to power in the 1940s. Many cities also have “Stolpersteine” or “Stumbling Blocks” which are polished bronze plaques that are placed in the middle of sidewalks, each bearing the name of a family or individual who was killed. They’re raised slightly, although not enough that they cause any real danger of tripping, mostly it’s symbolic. Germany lives with the constant reminder of what they allowed to happen in the middle of the 20th century. I think of this often, and wonder how different other countries would be if they all treated their past tragedies in this way (slavery and genocide of indigenous peoples come to mind for my own country).

Past the memorial, I could just barely see the cathedral’s towers above the old city walls. I found a staircase to climb up and went through the passage to see the side of St. Peter’s Cathedral. Unfortunately there was some construction that overtook the whole area on one side of it, so I wasn’t able to walk around it entirely, but it was still impressive.

The interior was very dark, actually much darker than I expected, although I was able to get a few photos. Naturally, the area around the altar was the most well-lit, and it took a little while of waiting for other tourists to finish taking their pictures before I was able to get mine.

I exited on the other side of the building from where I’d come in, after paying a nice older gentleman 40 cents for a post card of the cathedral. I like to buy postcards from the various museums, memorials, and cathedrals I visit, as they tend to be better than my own pictures and they’re a lot lighter than bulky souvenirs like mugs or whatnot.

I really loved this little bronze representation of the cathedral, but when I started taking pictures of it, I realized that it was a visual representation for blind people. You can see in the side view where the explanation is all in Braille, and there were multiple Braille passages on parts of the cathedral so people would know which part they were touching. I thought that was really cool, and I think this should become normal for all monuments and places of architectural & historical interest.

After I left the cathedral, I once again consulted Google Maps and headed toward the wine store. It was actually extremely close, and when I arrived there were several men and women sitting on benches out front, enjoying glasses of wine and chatting amiably. It was a store and a wine bar, you could sit and drink wine and then buy a bottle to take home. I was greeted by the man working behind the counter. I told him that I was looking for a gift for my father, who likes strong red wines, and he recommended a couple different ones, and also said I could try their signature red to see if I thought he’d like it. I ended up buying two bottles, one of the signature red and one of another red, and hoped he would like them. I thanked the employee for his help, stashed the two bottles in my messenger bag (which I’d brought specifically for wine carrying purposes), and went on my way.

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Here’s my last picture from Worms, of the Siegfried Fountain. Worms is also famous in part because it’s the supposed setting of the mythical Nibelungenlied, which was the inspiration for the Ring Cycle by Wagner (it’s a pretty interesting myth, but don’t jump into Wagner without some preparation). Siegfried is the hero of the Nibelungenlied, hence why he gets a fountain. He looks pretty good for a product of incest.

It was getting hot and I was hungry, and a little thirsty after the wine, so I got some ice cream on my way back to the train station. That wasn’t quite enough, so I ended up stopping at a little cafe bakery and having some tea (despite the very hot weather) and cake before I went back. I’d considered trying to go to Heidelberg later on, but by the time I arrived back in Mannheim, I was hot and tired and a little sore from the heavy wine bottles, so I ended up deciding against it.

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I did end up finding a walk-in salon and getting a haircut and eyebrow styling (threading, not waxing), because my boss told me last week that she wants to get a picture of me on Tuesday for the company website, and my hair wasn’t looking very good (I’d been growing it out, so it was in that shaggy in-between stage), so I made the decision to do that. It should also help once I get back to the states, not having hair on my neck will definitely be a blessing in the Florida summer heat.

Overall it was a lovely day, and I was pleasantly sleepy by the time I got to bed. 🙂

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