Friday, 12 June 2015

City sightseeing and overlanding

I think many Overlanders would agree: we don't much like city sightseeing. The traffic is difficult, parking can be hard to find, streets might be scarily narrow, and yep.... I reckon there's  more thieves there too. So we skip alot of cities.

And often,  when it comes to city sights it is just 'more of the same': another church, a plaza or market place,  a park, several museums. The advantage of overlanding is that we aren't restricted to cities (whereas regular tourists often are), and we can visit the tiny villages, the rural countryside, the national parks and the scenic lookouts on our own schedule. Of course sometimes there is a city that really is worth visiting,  and yesterday we did.

Presently we are free camped in a rest area beside the Moselle River, with Luxemburg on one side and Germany on the other. Yesterday we went to Trier (Germany).

We passed Trier a couple of weeks ago without stopping.  I hadn't known it was worth visiting until I later read some information (free from a tourist office) about Roman Ruins in this part of the world. When I said I wanted to visit Trier, H grumbled: "it's a big city,  i don't like cities". So we didn't go.  But, I still wanted to so we came back.

It turned out to be easy enough.  We parked in a large parking lot outside of the city centre (where there is a free motorhome toilet dump beside the McDonalds), and we cycled 5km in to see the sights. Thereby, we saved ourselves the stress of inner city driving, and got some exercise.

So, why visit Trier? Well, apparently it used to be the most important Roman city outside of Italy. The old city gates, Porta Nigra (photo below), are most impressive and the old bridge (photo below), which the Romans built in about AD200 is still used today  (by regular traffic!), and there's an old ampitheatre, some remaining city walls,  and massive excavations of Roman baths.

In this entire region there are lots of Roman finds. The tourist information offices give out a wonderful brochure,  and, quiet frankly,  I'm surprised that I only knew of this region as being famous for wine production, because it deserves equal credit for Roman ruins. And, by the way,  it was the Romans who started the wine production here! Full credit to them.

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