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Jan 19, 2002
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A Band of Monkeys (with Monkey Wrenches)

January 13, 2002 - Trier:
(click on photos/thumbnails with pink borders for full-size image)

"It’s after midnight and I couldn’t sleep. This last week has been uneventful…just a cycle of going to work, coming home, taking a nap, working out, reading, showering, and going to bed...I finally got some mail on Friday and my bicycle hasn’t shown up yet (it should have been here on December 29th)...I’m tired of being stuck inside here from the snow and I have withdrawn from most of the people at work after feeling stupid most of the times I tried any interesting conversations (interesting to me). They’re all trying to get their little romantic flings and at this point I don’t care to hear about other people’s relationships...Criss speaks to me…he’s nice and seems to get a kick out of the silly answers I often give him. Criss is a Senior Master Sergeant about four years my senior…he’s the one who was supposed to go to Biche, France way back in December, changed his mind and the next week was interested in Paris but didn’t go either. I was set to go to Cologne today and he was considering it too. I thought it would be great to finally travel with someone and not be totally dependent on myself for navigation and driving, not to mention it’s a little scary on a dark German road all by yourself with the ice and snow, not knowing the language. The radio isn’t much of a travel companion."

"Criss told me to call him this morning at 8:30am to lay out the plan, which I did, and when I called he said he hadn’t contacted anyone else yet. As time rolled on it was evident they’d all been out late and there was bad weather predicted and they didn’t want to drive as far as Cologne (250 km). But from where I was looking it appeared warm (about freezing) and mild (fog but no snow) and since when has 250 km been a long drive? It became too late for me to try Cologne alone and I waited until after noon before they all woke up and got together. I remembered the other two times I wanted to travel with Criss and thought, “Here we go again with this”. We still went to the base after that and didn’t get out of town until after 1pm. So I’d wasted my whole morning (if they’d told me they were leaving so late I could have easily done laundry) waiting for them…and to think I felt bad because I didn’t get out of here until 10:30 am last week!"

We went to Trier (instead), the oldest city in Germany (founded by Caesar Augustus in 16 B.C.), near the Luxembourg border, which I was considering seeing that day on the way to Cologne, but they weren't crazy like me and didn’t want to just drive across the border (about 30 extra minutes) to say they’d been in Luxembourg. I didn’t fit in with this group. After a short conversation in the car I pulled out my book and read for the rest of the trip telling myself,” From now on I travel alone”.

Nevertheless Trier was a beautiful little town of Roman architecture, colorful European town homes, cobblestone streets, and only a little over an hour's drive from Ramstein Airbase.Trier, Germany, city center

Trier, Germany, city center
Trier, Germany, city center
Trier, Germany, city center
Trying to coordinate movement with six people in a crowd is very difficult. We originally had two groups of three and I wanted to go separately but they wanted to combine, so we spent most of our time trying to find each other. It took us an hour just to decide where to eat. I kept saying,” I don’t care what I eat” hoping that would eliminate one sticking point by only satisfying five people but they couldn’t decided. A number of times we’d get close to a decision and I’d say,” Let’s just do it…it’s only food”. I must apologize to my family--this group, which included a Major, a Captain, a Lieutenant, a Senior Master Sergeant, and a Master Sergeant (and a horse) was so disorganized and slow in making any decisions, the Paul family runs like a well-oiled machine in comparison.

I didn’t feel wanted in this group at all and I didn’t want to be with them and it was getting irritating. The very late start and the hour looking for food had gotten under my skin too. I think Criss and the Major were a little irritated by the other three too, so perhaps that was why I didn’t feel a lot of love. Despite this, we saw the Porta Nigra (whatever that is)...Porta Nigra
Porta Nigra
...and two beautiful churches that dated back to the 4th century (I think…it was the oldest city in Germany so they were damn old). One church, the Dom, was beyond words in its beautiful sculptures and extravagant design. They wanted quiet in the churches but I did get one flash photo inside the Dom (it was an accident). You just have to be there to appreciate the beauty of this church, or more accurately, it was like a castle. Every asset of it was carved or sculpted elaborately and there was a huge altar that looked like it was made entirely of multi-colored marble. One of the more interesting sculptures of the Last Supper had a carving of the shroud of Turin. This puzzled me because I thought this was a 4th century church and I didn’t think anyone knew about the shroud up here until later. The pipes from the organ looked like they were hanging from the ceiling in the shape of an eye. The church stood about 100 meters tall. Magnificent!!!
(click on photos/thumbnails with pink borders for full-size image)

Trier Dom>>> Looking down the street to the Porta  Nigra in Trier

Approaching Trier Dom through archway

Approaching Trier Dom

Entrance to the Dom in Trier

Ancient Roman Baths

"There were some nice little shops around there but we were too pressed for time to do any shopping. It was all rush, rush, rush after our ridiculously late afternoon departure, the hour looking for food, and the hour it took to eat. They were making fun of me because I wanted to go to McDonald’s. If we had, we would have saved 90 minutes! As it was, I just got some potato soup because I was in a hurry.

I feel lonelier tonight than I did this morning. I wish I’d gone alone today but I will not lament. I’d traveled with co-workers in Korea and Turkey and those were wonderful experiences of fun and laughter and…not to sound too mushy…love. It’s just a lesson learned and it wasn’t all so bad. You can’t fit in everywhere…and today is another day!"

Horsey in Trier near Roman baths