2011_germany97 We got up early for a day trip to the Black Forest where Udo vacationed when he was a child. We went for a ride on an electric boat. Jessi piloted.

2011_germany98 Nearby is the huge St. Blasien cathedral.

2011_germany99 There were very interesting, funny gargoyles.

2011_germany100 Udo emulating Samson!

2011_germany101 The front doors.

2011_germany102 The inside was huge and recently refurbished.

2011_germany103 Big, beautiful!

2011_germany104 And so much detail work.

2011_germany105 I would have loved to have heard the organ if it had been played.

2011_germany106 On the way back we detoured through France because there had been a lot of construction on the Autobahn on the way down. This was Strasbourg. Very cool architecture. And there were lots of amazing buildings down some streets that we only were able to glance at.

2011_germany107 I saw this car dealership on the way.

2011_germany108 Just back in Germany we stopped at the official start of the German wine way.

2011_germany109 Next day, Udo took me to a Mercedes Benz museum nearby at one of their early factories. Cars from the oldest to recent.

2011_germany110 Then dinner that night at a Mongolian buffet. Good food (again), but different than Mongolian buffets in North America.

2011_germany111 Next day we went to Speyer - mostly to see the cathedral. It is 1000 years old.

2011_germany112 The roman-style Speyer cathedral is the largest of its kind in existence. That tiny far door is over twice the height of a person.

2011_germany113 And the building is tall. The bishop of Speyer was politically very powerful.

2011_germany114 In the crypt area was a great display of ancient books (very high quality reproductions).

2011_germany115 The city hall across the plaza from the church.

2011_germany116 Doors have come in all sizes!

2011_germany117 Next day we went to Worms, one of the oldest cities in Germany, and significant in history (among other things) for events in the life of Martin Luther. This cathedral was also of the roman style. There was a metal model (with Braille) out front for the blind to explore the features of the building.

2011_germany118 A gothic chapel was later added on to its side.

2011_germany119 The simple interior was elegant.

2011_germany120 The front area was ornate with gold leaf, however.

2011_germany121 There were detailed 3D reliefs along the wall. They were the media of the day to teach ordinary folk (who had no books, and could not read) about what was in the Bible.

2011_germany122 In the crypt below were stone coffins of ancient royalty.

2011_germany123 In the gothic chapel.

2011_germany124 The chapel windows were certainly beautiful!

2011_germany125 There is an ancient pagan story that was (supposed) to have occurred here in Worms. (It is the story that is celebrated in Richard Wagner's Ring cycle opera.) These figures on a window of the cathedral acknowledge the pagan past of the area.

2011_germany126 However, Worms was where Martin Luther was censured by the existing church (and state) government. This memorial to him in Worms is complex. Those interested to understand it will learn much history and doctrine. Viktor had to circle it three times to explain the meaning of all the figures and reliefs!

It was a hot day, and we talked in the shade just back of the center figure. As we left, one of the guys pointed out that we had been standing in the shadow of Martin Luther!

2011_germany127 Some blocks away was a very old Jewish cemetery (1067 AD). The old sandstone markers had moved over time, and some were no longer legible.

2011_germany128 Dinner was on the Fast's patio - very pleasant. This was a characteristic pose for Viktor. He can be as expressive with his hands as with his words. He is a passionate historian; skillful and interesting.

2011_germany129 Next day was a wonderfully relaxing day in Darmstadt. The Art Nouveau style was developed there around 1900. This is a house that exemplifies it; it was one of the ones that housed the artists' colony that developed the style.

2011_germany130 We went to Rose Heights (Rosenhole) park. These lions guard the gate.

2011_germany131 It was a wonderfully relaxing day. The dome is in the rose garden. Picnic lunch with a view!

2011_germany132 It is easy to feel lazy in the shade on a hot day!

2011_germany133 This hilarious sculpture of posable figures was in town.

2011_germany134 Darmstadt is a high-tech town, and a school town. This plaza with Ludwig on a column ("Long Louie") is a popular meeting place.

2011_germany135 On a later day we went to the St Paulin baroque church.

2011_germany136 It was VERY baroque. The ceiling was a beautiful painting, but most everything else was overdone!