Tag Archives: Deutschland

On almost missing Charlemagne’s throne in the Palatine Chapel of Aachen, a mosaic mouse and cookie king

The Palatine Chapel and throne of Charlemagne had been burning hot near the top of our travel list for years, so “Charlemagne’s throne room is closed today” was definitely not what we wanted to hear on arriving in the tourist office of Aachen after a journey of two flights and three train rides.  I had […]

Practical and pragmatic Frankfurt: post-modern architecture, hideous historical reproductions, and a visit to the red light district

Frankfurt is a model of efficiency and pragmatism with superior infrastructure.  The ride from the train station to the airport takes 12 minutes.  Cars politely defer to bike riders and pedestrians.  Everything is clean and orderly–even the red light district.  We walked by a “fix cafe” where drug addicts meet with social workers for clean […]

Masterworks in St. Lorenz of Nuremberg, three little weenies, and a tourist trap

St. Lorenz church is packed to the gills (or would be, if churches had gills) with masterworks of art.  I’m not throwing the word “masterworks” around: we are talking about immensely talented sculptors Adam Kraft and Veit Stoss working at the top of their game.  The church also has impressive (and sometimes funny) stained glass […]

Bamberg Cathedral’s Last Judgment tympanium: some kings go to heaven, some kings go to H-E-double hockey stick.

See, there’s Christ in the center, with Virgin and St. John at his feet.  Some happy naked people are popping up out of graves under his feet.  On the left, some annoyingly self-satisfied folks are headed to their eternal reward, on the right, well, the facial expressions say it all. I know, I know,  I […]

Gothic sculpture in Bamberg: disputing prophets and apostles, a touch of anti-semitism, and a secret tip

Do you love Gothic sculpture?  Well, what are you waiting for?  Get yourself over to Bamberg, Germany asap, run up a steep hill past all the college kids drinking smoked beer, past the City Hall that may or may not have been designed by Jeff Koons, to the cathedral.  Don’t miss the superb tympanum and the […]

Two crucifixes in Cologne: Gero’s and Gabelkruzifix

The crucifixion of Christ is one of the most predominate symbols of Christian Art, so it’s surprising to realize that, as a form of art, it’s only developed in the last 1000 or so years.  (Back in the early days, when Christians were trying to recruit converts, a symbol of a tortured man probably wasn’t so […]

Goosebumps in Speyer cathedral

Monumental but austere and a superb space to hear organ music: Speyer’s imperial cathedral is glorious.  And because we seem to be the luckiest travelers ever to wear matching Rick Steves backpacks, we happened to enter just as a first-rate organist performed on the cathedral’s organ.  It filled the church with sound, turning the entire building […]

Spargelzeit: Germans and their love affair with white asparagus

We’ve just returned from a lovely trip through Southern and Western Germany where we met charming people, enjoyed fine music and saw sensational art and architecture…..and white asparagus.  The Germans call it Spargelzeit, which means asparagus season, but I thinks a more apt name would be Frenzied Consumption and Worship of White Vegetable Season. I […]

Flatulent cheese and green sauce: what we ate in Frankfurt

HOB and I have been together 18 years, sharing a of love of art in situ and adventurous eating, and finally, in Frankfurt, I’ve found something I’ll eat that he won’t.  Handkäse mit Musik “hand cheese with music” is a sour milk cheese aged and marinated in oil and vinegar and a specialty of Frankfurt, […]

In which I meet the Bamberg Rider and the attraction is mutual

No one knows the identity of the Bamberg Rider, an equestrian statue in the Cathedral of Bamberg, though there’s no shortage of scholarly speculation.  The other great mystery is why I am so attracted to this statue.  While we were rushing uphill to the church to see him, HOB said to me “Now why is it […]