Tuesday, September 12, 2006. Worms and St. Martin.
Mostly to satisfy George’s itch, we drove to Worms. He took pictures of the road sign as we approached, and we stopped and got out of the car so he could pose by the “Welcome to Worms” sign. They say it takes all kinds . . .
We toured St. Peter’s Cathedral (he wasn’t home), another cavernous architectural marvel with arches rising heavenward, statuary, and ornate carvings and windows. We walked to the Martin Luther memorial, but the monument was shrouded in scaffolding for cleaning, so we snapped a picture of scaffolding and went looking for lunch. We located a pedestrian mall and bought Zwiebelkuchen–onion cake with bacon, and similar to flammkuchen, but more like quiche. For dessert I had a chocolate-filled pastry and cappucino. It’s a good thing we’re walking nonstop.
After lunch we drove toward the mountains and Weinstrasse (wine street). Rows and rows of grapevines lined the rolling hills between charming Alpine villages. We passed through several towns to St. Martin, a fairytale village with tudor timbering and overflowing flower boxes. Grapevines grow up the sides of buildings and across trellises spanning the streets. It was magical.
We parked and threaded the narrow streets to Altes Schlosschen, a Wein Stube (wine tasting shop that sells by the bottle or case, but also offers endless free samples). We tasted several whites, and George tasted a Dornfelder, a robust red wine. We bought six bottles of various kinds and a bottle of Neuer Wein–“new wine,” which is only partially fermented and tastes like slightly carbonated grape juice. Very light and refreshing. (Note: Because I didn’t write all the names on the wine bottles or their dates, Jeff says I’m not a “real” writer. So, from now on I guess I’m an artificial writer. Works for me.)
We also toured the St. Martin church. Every village has its spire–remnants of days when worship was the heart of community. Many buildings and homes have statues of Mary built into the architecture. Crosses rise in the middle of grapevine fields, signs of both faith and superstition carried over from times of religious diligence to days marked by secularism. It’s as though people go about their business oblivious to the presence of all these icons, much like an American commuter would learn to ignore the billboards on the way to work.
Shortly after we returned to St. Leon, George, Jeff, and Aaron left to join a small group of homeschoolers and their moms for a lesson on earthworms. During their absence I blogged and helped Christine with her homework. When the guys returned and Kim got home from work we decided to buy kebabs for dinner. About that time a neighbor showed up with a bumper crop of green beans from her garden. Jeff put the beans on the boil while he and George walked to Donor’s–the Turkish kebab shop. Besides the pita-style sandwiches they bought a Turkish pizza, which is basically an open-face wrap.
We stuffed ourselves, then sat around chatting until time to call it a night. Tomorrow it’s bicycles to Malsch. Gute Nacht!