February 23, 2018

Springtime Yearnings

I guess the winter cold has got me longing for the warm sun and outdoor activities because all I want to do is get outside and be active! This has got me thinking about 4 activities that have been on my list for awhile.

Wanderin ohne Gepack (or Hiking without luggage) in the Black Forest

The Black Forest has long been an area of Germany that I want to visit.  This land is full of rolling green hills, waterfalls, cuckoo clocks and farms.  Wanderin ohne Gepack sounds like a great way to really see the sights all while being active. 

Walking in the Black Forest Germany

Walking in the Black Forest by Haxxah and KraZug, on Flickr

You can choose to spend a week or more hiking or shorten it to 3 or 4 days.   Each days hike is only about 12-17 miles and all you carry is a little bag because the hotel sends your luggage to your next night’s lodging!  All of the trails are well marked and safe to hike plus there are restaurants and farm houses along the way for refreshments.  Once you arrive at your accommodations, you can sit and enjoy beer or wine and then a wonderful dinner before sleeping in preparation for the next day’s journey.   Sounds wunderbar to me!

Beer and Biking through Bavaria’s Land of Beer

This ride is probably a stretch for me but it still sounds like great fun!  What could be better than experiencing wonderfully romantic towns full of history, drinking beer, exploring another amazingly picturesque town (Bamberg) where almost the entire town is a UNESCO World Heritage site, drinking more beer, riding along the river Regnitz river, drinking more beer . . . Ummmm, I think you get my drift!

Bamberg Bavaria Germany

Bamberg Town Hall from Bayern Tourismus

Just because some of these rides are 112 km (approximately 70 miles) and I’m not a bike rider, that shouldn’t deter me – should it?  I would definitely need to break these up into smaller sections but I am so up for it!  What an adventure.

Wine and Biking along the Moselle River in Germany

So I had to throw in a ride that included wine just so you would know that I am an equal opportunity drinker! 

Scene on Moselle River Germany

Moselle River Germany

The Moselle is a very beautiful river in Germany that branches off the Rhine in Koblenz.  This area, from Koblenz to Trier, is full of Roman history and many, many charming villages and vineyards.  You could spend a week or just 3-4 days riding along the river.  The villages are close enough together that the daily rides are between 12-24 miles each.  Don’t forget to drink some German wine!

Village along the Moselle in Germany

Village along the Moselle in Germany

Canoeing on the Dordogne River

The Dordogne Valley in France has been on my radar for quite a few years and I want to spend at least one day of my visit floating down the Dordogne River.  This area is full of castles and villages made of stone.  There are also the prehistoric caves, medieval castles and Roman ruins. 

Village along Dordogne River France

Dordogne by Jos Dielis, on Flickr

The Dordogne is a wide and slow moving river which makes it a great way to see the incredible scenery and enjoy a picnic during your journey.  If a picnic isn’t for you, then stop at one of the many villages for lunch or snack.  Make sure you taste some of the amazing red wines from the region!

Gorges de la Dordogne River France

Gorges de la Dordogne by OliBac, on Flickr

Are you longing for spring?  Have you enjoyed any of these active journeys? 

 Tell me about it. . .

If it’s Tuesday, it must be Romanesque!

Traveling introduces us to a world we may have never paid much attention to.  You don’t need to be an art major to appreciate art in the Louvre or an architect to appreciate beautiful buildings like Notre Dame in Paris.  This is part of what traveling is all about, learning.

Cathedral in Vezelay France Romanesque Architecture

Cathedral in Vezelay by Fred Hsu, on Flickr

As we marvel at the enchanting buildings we visit we are told they are Romanesque, Gothic, Baroque or Modern architecture.  We say to ourselves, “Hmmmm, this is  interesting and beautiful” and move along to the next feature.  But what are those different architectural styles all about?  What makes something Romanesque, Gothic, Baroque or Modern?

Durham Cathedral Britain Romanesqu Architecture

Durham Cathedral by Glen Bowman, on Flikr

I have decided to learn more about architecture and will be writing about the different architectural styles you may encounter while visiting Europe.

St. Sernin Cathedral Toulouse France Romanesque Architecture

St. Sernin Cathedral Toulouse France by chantrybee, on Flickr

I’m starting with Romanesque.

Cathedral of Santiago de Compostela Romanesque Architecture

Cathedral of Santiago de Compostela by sedoglia, on Flickr

Romanesque architecture is a style associated with the medieval time period and started showing up between 1000 and 1200 AD.  It is known as the first “European” style of architecture and was influenced by the massive buildings of the Byzantine Empire seen by knights during the crusades.

Pisa Italy Belfry and Cathedral Romanesque Architecture

Pisa Belfry and Cathedral by Leithcote, on Flickr

Churches during the medieval times were the center of town and the communities revolved around them.  They were the local seat of power.  The churches built in the Romanesque style were built of stone and were the prominent building of the area.

Mainz Cathedral Germany Romanesque Architecture

Mainz Cathedral by Dietmar Scherf

Romanesque churches are made of massive, thick stone walls and, in this time, were the only building made of stone.  The doors are topped with layers of round arches.

Clonfert Cathedral Galway Ireland Romanesque Architecture

Clonfert Cathedral by irishFiresdie, on Flikr

Romanesque buildings do not have a lot of windows and, therefore, tend to be dark and may be considered foreboding.

The ornamentation was Christian themed and figures were of people.

Altar at Bamberg Cathedral Germany Romanesque Architecture

Altar at Bamberg Cathedral by Andrew Corwin

Romanesque architecture also includes decorative moldings and arcades as well as columns and murals on ceilings and walls.  A very noticeable component is the tall towers, which could be seen for miles.

Statuary over the entrance, Speyer Cathedral Romanesque Architecture

Statuary over the entrance, Speyer Cathedral by rjones0856, on Flickr

We’ve all been to Romanesque style churches or castles.  What are your favorite examples of Romanesque architecture?