The train ride down through Luxembourg to the Moselle valley was as beautiful as I remembered. Shortly after we got to Trier there was another Remembrance of Things Past: it started raining.
It wasn't raining any harder than it had a couple of years ago when I was there. (Account here.) In fact it wasn't raining as hard, but it was much colder and we were both fighting colds. Then, it had been sort of fun walking around in the rain, but this was merely wretched. And the first few hotels we tried were full. It was starting to get worrisome when I finally found a really nice hotel, the Aulmann, down at the end of a long pedestrian-only market zone and not far from Karl Marx's home. The rooms were a bit finer and the prices considerably higher than our usual standard (92 EU) but we were in no position to be picky. We grabbed a double and moved in for a couple of days.
Phyllis wasn't at all sure, at first, how she felt about Germany, but it didn't take long for her to decide she liked it here. After the rain let up we went out and walked around, did a little shopping and a little sightseeing, and finally found an excellent restaurant where we ate to glorious excess.
(It was at this time that I first began to discover the answer to a question of great historic interest: why had the Germans lost both World Wars? The answer turns out to be: they can't do maps. First in Trier, then later in Cologne, the official and publicly-sold stadtplan was almost impossible to make sense of and was frequently outright wrong. On several occasions it simply refused to admit to the existence of the street I was standing on at the time. I can only conclude that they kept losing wars because they made the mistake of using their own maps and their troops couldn't find their way to the front. History has long questioned what Hitler thought he was doing invading the USSR when Britain was still undefeated. Now, however, I think I know - the invading forces were supposed to be on their way to conquer England, but they tried to follow German maps and ended up invading Russia instead.)
Speaking of which, we found this group of Russians singing for euros on the street. (They did "Katyusha" for me; did it quite well, too.) Times have indeed changed...but then they always do, don't they?
Back at the hotel, I watched the weather reports on TV and was not encouraged. Even with my rudimentary German, it wasn't hard to see what was going on; the maps alone were enough. A big front was more or less stalled across Europe, not moving very much - despite high winds; I couldn't understand that - and dumping cold rain all over the place. We'd been thinking we should have gone south instead, but it wouldn't have done any good; it was even worse there. Northern Italy was having serious flooding problems.
But the room was warm and the bed was marvelously comfortable and we fell asleep thinking maybe tomorrow would be better.
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