When I first began learning Portuguese, I attempted to say something in it to one of our Portuguese friends and she immediately burst out laughing. I wasn’t sure what (besides my usual horrific pronunciation) made her crack up, so she proceeded to tell me I had just loudly and perfectly pronounced a very naughty Portuguese word, even though I was trying to say something else and had no idea what I had just said.
Which reminds me of a long time ago when we had a pastor and his family over for dinner, and one of our very young sons asked him if he could please pass over the “Kenfucky Tried Chicken.”
(Why we had somebody over for dinner and fed them KFC I’ll never know.)
Anyway, in keeping with the theme, you might automatically qualify for hell even if you innocently say something like, “I’m going down to that Fukang place,” or “Do you know what the Fukang restaurant has on special today?” or “Would you please throw out those Fukang leftovers, they’re starting to smell like a Panda’s ass!”
But when it’s all said and done, it’s just a Fukang Chinese restaurant. Since I’ve now written all that down for perpetuity, I can only hope they have decent Chinese food in hell. I do think Chinese fortune cookies there might be very entertaining, so at least there’s that.
We also saw this graffiti while in Trier. I’m not sure what the first word is, but “deine” is “your,” in German, so I’m thinking maybe “stretch your clitoris?” Or “strudel your clitoris?” How am I supposed to know what weird deviant things the Germans are up to nowadays? I’m also a little dubious about the graphic matching the words, but what do I know about German physiology? Maybe that’s what it looks like after you strudel it? We were left confused but a little intrigued.
Now I’m going to hell for sure.
But the star of our story isn’t Chinese words that sound like English swear words, or sexually-oriented graffiti, it’s Trier, Germany, a town we visited while we were in Luxembourg. We just used that lead-in, because later on I use the word “butt,” and this way anyone that would be offended by that has already run for the hills.
I had never heard of Trier, until I learned that in English it used to be called Treves, which I think I had heard of, but I have no idea in what context. If someone would’ve asked me to tell them everything I know about Treves, or Trier, it would pretty much have started and ended with “I think I’ve heard of it.” Now of course we’re experts.
I get a special kick out of visiting previously unknown-to-us places, many of which have their unique and special charms that make a visit absolutely delightful. I call them the “B” or “C” level attractions: not the first places you think of going to during an overseas trip, but once you live here and can meander anywhere, you stumble across some very delightful locales. Trier was certainly one of those.
Trier is also the birthplace of Karl Marx, who was born there in 1818, and went on to forever be famous for giving American Capitalists apoplectic fits every time his name is mentioned. That’s his house, which we didn’t tour because, y’know duh, we didn’t want to get Communist cooties all over us. Besides, they wanted to charge an admission fee. Karl Marx is surely spinning in his grave that his home is now beholden to the scourge of Capitalism! No wonder he became such a Groucho!
This is the Electoral Palace: the seat of the district government. This is why governments are always the butt of so many jokes, because of course wherever there’s a seat, there’s almost always a butt.
They have a lot of Roman history in Trier, seeing as how it’s only about 1,300 km (a little over 800 miles) from Rome, which was nothing to those guys in their heyday, what with all their advanced horse technology and all. Today, Trier is only about a 30 minute drive from Luxembourg, which is part of the reason we visited. It’s kinda fun to pore over a map and exclaim, “Let’s drive to Germany!” Which is almost as much fun as poring over a map and exclaiming, “Strudel your clitoris!”
If you look over an historical timeline of Trier, you’ll see that it was invaded and destroyed seemingly continuously. The Celts, Romans, Huns, Germanic tribes, Germanic Franks, Germanic Hot Dogs (just kidding), Vikings, French, and Prussians all had a hand in either conquering or controlling Trier. Which is what led to their most famous bumper sticker: “Go Conquer Someone Else- Trier Harder.”
With a population just over 100,000, it’s only a small city, but it is considered to be Germany’s oldest. The main old town area is easy to walk and has several impressive cathedrals and other ancient buildings. This church kinda looks like it’s right on the water, but that’s just wet pavement from a rainy day.
As usual, they built to impress should God ever want to pay a visit and feel comforted by all the expense and grandiosity they created just to make him feel at home. Huge organs are of course a must, because at his age, God is getting pretty hard of hearing.
Bavarian architecture dominates the area, making one feel like you’re back in Leavenworth, Washington, USA, which is modeled after a Bavarian village. Oh wait, Trier is an actual Bavarian town. Whew! Now we don’t have to go all the way back to Washington just to see Bavarian architecture!
This is the the Porta Nigra (Latin for “black gate”): the best preserved Roman city gate north of the Alps.
I got a kick out of this building. When you look closely, you can see a door on the right that features quite a steep first step, and there are no indications that a staircase ever made its way up there. Maybe that’s where the inspiration for the song “Stairway to Heaven” came from? Or maybe that’s a door specially made for angels so they don’t have to get their feet wet before entering? On the other hand, maybe they just had a stupid architect.
When reading over a timeline of the city, I came across the following:
1933: Hitler came to power, but his party only received 32.1% of the vote in Trier.
1938: The Siegfried Line was built (Westwall). Hitler attended the opening ceremonies, but refused to spend the night in Trier just because of that 1933 vote.
Three guesses as to who else this sounds like. Perhaps petty retributions over a lack of support are a part of the personality of any dictator, wannabe or otherwise?
It was a somewhat cold and rainy day, although we were able to avoid any downpours or anything else particularly nasty, other than the ghosts of Hitler, Marx, and a Germanic hot dog.
We really couldn’t get enough of the Bavarian style. It’s so charming and old-world-y. We thoroughly enjoyed wandering around the town, where we fit right in because we’re also so charming and old— . Well, yeah, just old.
They also had an impressive Roman Amphitheater, which held many of those infamous gladiator contests. Built in about the 2nd century A.D during Antoninus Pius’ rule, it could accommodate approximately 20,000 spectators. Maybe 22,000 if Russell Crowe was on the card, and even up to 25,000 standing-room-only if the famous Roman Gladiator Cheerleaders were also visiting from Rome.
Unfortunately, as you can see by this photo, Russell hasn’t exactly kept up with his gladiator training of late.
However and ironically, while on a previous tour in Rome we were told that in real life, the gladiators actually tended to be a little pudgy, which allowed them to better absorb sword blows and avoid cuts to minor organs like, oh, say, their liver or heart. So maybe this is his real gladiator body. So go ahead and get stabbed now Russell, you’ll probably be fine!
No visit to a German town would be complete without tossing back a couple of steins of beer.
I was a little miffed, however, that they made us clean up the mess. Who knew that “tossing back” didn’t mean what we did?