This morning, ms Grace is still docked in Bernkastel. We exit the boat and board our motorcoach for the one-hour drive to Trier, considered by most to be the oldest city in Germany. Upon arrival in Trier, we meet our local guide, Natalie, who, after a brief motorcoach tour of the outskirts of the city, quickly leads us to The Electoral Palace of Trier, located not far from where the motorcoaches dropped us off.
The Electoral Palace of Trier
The Rococo architecture of the palace is a stark contrast to the Basilica of Constantine, which is located directly behind the palace. After we admired the facade of the palace, we were invited into the Basilica. The Basilica was built by the Romans (306-336 AD) and serves as a reminder of how great the Romans were as builders. The original walls of the huge Basilica are still standing, although the wooden ceiling has been restored.
Basilica of Constatine
After admiring the vast, open interior of the Basilica, our guide led us down small streets until we arrived at the Cathedral of Constantine, an even more impressive structure built in the 2nd century.
Cathedral of Constantine
We had the opportunity to explore the interior of the cathedral, which was incredible. One of the most impressive features is the baroque stucco sculpture work in the vault of the west end choir. Truly amazing.
Baroque stucco work in vault
We then walked a few more blocks to the main town square of Trier. The square is buzzing with tourists and locals who frequent the many shops, restaurants and cafes located here. Several shopping streets branch off in a variety of directions from the square. We head down the main street to what has to be the most impressive landmark in Trier, Porta Nigra (Latin for Black Gate).
The Porta Nigra was built by the Romans from gray sandstone and completed in 200 AD. Think about that for a moment. A structure that was completed more than 1,800 years ago, with no mortar, still standing today. The engineering and construction is mind-blowing.
Tauck guests were given the opportunity to walk up the stairs inside Porta Nigra for a panoramic view of Trier. We decided against it since Rickee is still recovering from a back injury. Plus, it is a very cloudy, dreary day so the view would be affected by that as well. Nevertheless, several did make the climb. One benefit of being a guest with Tauck is that there was no charge to climb the stairs. Just mention that you were with Tauck, and you're in!
Rickee in front of Porta Nigra
We were given about 90 minutes of free time to explore Trier which meant that we immediately started our hunt for souvenirs and postcards. We did not have to go far since the Tourist Info office right next to Porta Nigra satisfied both needs!
Tourist Information office has souvenirs and postcards
With souvenirs in hand, we decided to walk back to the main square to look around. I spotted a Kebap Haus that caught my attention and I could not resist having an early lunch. These Doner Kebab (or kebap) joints are just about everywhere in Europe and I really enjoy a good doner kebap.
Kebap Haus in Trier
Layers of meat are roasted on a large vertical spit, then shaved off and heaped into a crusty pita bread. Slather on some garlic sauce, lettuce, tomatoes and onions, and you have a doner sandwich! I ordered the Doner with Frites (French fries) and two cokes. Rickee ate the fries, I ate the doner sandwich, and everyone was happy. It was delicious and filling.
After my impromptu lunch, we spent the rest of our free time walking up and down some of the shopping streets of Trier. There are a LOT of shopping opportunities here. Soon, we met up with our group at Porta Nigra for the short walk back to the motorcoaches.
Once back on board ms Grace, we attended Michael's lecture on The Crusades which was very informative, but only scratched the surface of a complex subject. Nevertheless, we enjoyed it. Afterwards, we once again enjoyed the amazing appetizers served during cocktail hour in the lounge. My favorite tonight is a samosa with mild curry dipping sauce. They were incredible. I say "they" because I think I had four of them!
Appetizers served each evening in Panorama Lounge
Chef Fenna also had set up a table with a selection of German pork and two kinds of liverwurst. Rickee loves liverwurst, so she enjoyed that.
After the daily briefing, the Compass Rose Restaurant opens for dinner service. Rickee and I found a table for two (there are 2 two-top tables in the restaurant) and enjoyed a delicious dinner. The service was good and each dish arrived in a timely manner and was presented with a smile. We prefer to dine early and the restaurant was not very busy when we arrived at 6:30. Unlike most cruise lines, Tauck offers open seating between 6:30pm and 8:30pm (times may vary) so everyone does not have to arrive at the same time for dinner.
Table for two in Compass Rose
It has been another great day aboard Tauck ms Grace. Tommorow, we dock in Boppard, yet another new destination for us.