Amazing structures and another online friend

Trip Start Mar 14, 2006
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Trip End Mar 15, 2007


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Sunday, August 13, 2006

After a somewhat mosquito filled night, we got up and had a lovely breakfast of bacon and scrambled egg (bacon cut off a large slab about an inch thick, rind cut off and cut in about half inch pieces across then fried and put into the omelet mix). Also the usual bread, buns and wonderful choices of meat and cheeses. After this we set off on a drive. Our goal was to see the Hermannsdenkmal (statue) just outside Augustdorf and then to go to the Holz Externstein. Then we were due to see Manuela in Paderborn later in the afternoon. So we were to do lots of walking and climbing that day. The first two are in the Teutoberger Wald. This is a nature reserve of trees and higher hilly areas which stretch in a sort of crescent from a bit north and west of Osnabruk to a bit south and west of Kassel. All in Westfalia.

Hans very kindly drove us first to Detmold to visit the "den Herrmann" (Arminius-memorial of the 19th century) http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hermannsdenkmal. Went first on the autobahn #2 which I think runs from Berlin to Dortmund. Very fast. I think we were going about 150 km per hour which is pretty fast for a country girl.

The statue is really huge and stands on a height of land which is a 20% grade to climb. On top of the hill, is this solid sandstone base and huge brass statue in partly Teutonic dress and partly roman dress with a large sword facing towards the west p or France. It is based on a history or saga of a Teutonic man (Arminius) in about 9AD who was captured by the Romans, taken back and trained as a soldier then sent back to fight against the Teutons or Huns. When he was sent back to fight his own people, he turned against the Romans and started defeating them. He was a huge hero and in the 1800s when the Germans were trying to overcome the effects of the Napoleonic wars, the builder of the statue had a dream to build it and it eventually became a focus of German pride - later German Nationalism - which became a problem in the Second World War. We climbed up to the sightseeing level b a round set of stone stairs and it was very hard on the knees but a great view of the surrounding countryside from the top. We then went through the house that he'd lived in while building the statue and marveled at his dedication and single-mindedness. Marveled also that his poor wife must have had a hard go out of it - supporting a man with a dream through thick and thin.

We had a beautiful view over OWL (Ostwestfalen-Lippe), the TeutoburgerWald and the Egge-Gebirge, then we visited the near "Externsteine" http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Externsteine a natural extrusion of sandstone which at some point was pushed up from the earth before the glacial era. It has not been touched by glaciation but has been affected over time by wind and water. Still, I think it is about 120 feet high and has been used since time immemorial as a place of worship - a unique cultural monument transformed by man. In 1836 an artificial pond was created to act as a mirror which creates beautiful reflections of the rocks.

There are signs that pre Christian humankind had markers there and post Christian times there is a chapel, carving on the exterior wall, what looks like a tomb, etc which may date from the 12th century (documents show that noble landowners in 1903 sold the land to the Cloister of Abdinghof in Paderborn. The chapel was consecrated by Bishop Henry of Paderborn in 1115. The depiction of the Descent from the Cross (5 m by 3.5 m) has been acknowledged as the most significant monumental relief of its time in Northwestern Europe.

Also, since early times there have been steps cut into the rock so one can climb up the various rocky bits. Some up and down, some joined to their neighbour by a bridge. The weather was not bad and it was possible to climb at least one of them in the sun with Hans although we agreed that it made our legs like jelly near the top. Monika stayed at the bottom as her feet were bothering her.

The brochure gives a brief outline of the landscape: "The limestones of the Knickerhagen - Exernstein - Barenstein are deposits from the late Cretaceous period. They are also referred to as Osninglimestone (Osning being the central part of the Teutoburger Wald). The mountain chains in the background (Barenstein) are layers of limestone from the early Cretaceous period, deposited on the previously established sandstone. At the end of the Cretaceous period, during the tertiary period which followed, horizontally deposited layers were folded upwards in parts into a vertical position. The exposed rocks were subject to severe destruction from the very beginning. The tropical temperatures (at that time) and the heavy rainfalls of the tertiary period resulted in a high degree of weathering and erosion of the rock stratum. The soft clay and marl layers disappeared (this is how the long valleys of the TeurtoburgerWald were formed) whilst the harder rock stratum remained in the form of mountain ridges or it was "skeleted" into ribbed rocks (the Externstein reveal part of this process). In the long valley behind the Externstein, the water was dammed and broke through the sandstone chain at the point of the Wiembeck valley. Thus a transverse valley was created between the Klinckerhagan and the Barenstein mountains within the vicinity of the Externsteine. The glaciers of the Ice Age did not actually reach the Externstein region. However, the weathering of the rocks was extremely severe, because of a high level of rainfall and fissure frost. The weathering of the surface of the stones continues relentlessly and deepens and widens the clefts which run through the rocks in various directions. "

We then drove past a wind farm where we stopped for a bit to admire the rather curious beauty of the massive wind engines gathering wind from the currents coming up and over two layers of hills. Then we drove across the Eggegeberg and southern Teutoberg to the lovely city of Paderborn. It is population about 150,000, is the seat of the bishop and a university.

This is where we met Manuela, another online friend, who is a native born Paderbornian, I think. She is a student who also works for a bookbinder. First of all we went to a rather fancy café and Eis bar (Bar Celona) to wait for her. While there we had a nice coffee and ice crème (well, they had an apple cake and I had chocolate ice crème, hard chocolate covering with hazelnuts and chocolate sauce and whipped crème). Yum.

She was a very knowledgeable guide through her home town and we had our little piffle fest in Germany. We stopped at various sites and many of the churches. The community also has a University and is positively humming with young life. Yet interspersed with this are constant reminders of the past such as the remains of a bombed building and an old statue of St. Liborius with peacock and gallstones on a bible. Wikipedia tells me that "Liborius (c. 4th century) was of a noble family of Gaul. He joined the priesthood, and was ordained (the second or third) bishop of Le Mans. He is the patron of Paderborn, to which his relics were transferred in 836. He was a friend of Saint Martin of Tours. During the 45 years of his episcopacy he built many churches. The transfer of his relics from Le Mans to Paderborn led to a sister-city relation that has lasted for over 1,000 years. In art, Saint Liborius is depicted as a bishop with a peacock. He may be carrying small stones on a book. Liborius is invoked against colic, fever, and gallstones."

The city was apparently deliberately targeted for bombing towards the end of the Second World War. In a number of places there are photos of the days after the destruction and the same places after restoration.

The Cathedral was one of the places we visited. It has a very old history as apparently Charlemagne built the first Christian Church here in 777 so the history of the Cathedral goes back more than 1000 years. Some remains have been dug up which have been attributed to this first church. Relics of St. Liborius were brought to Paderborn from LeMans in France and housed in a two storied crypt. After a great fire, they began to build this cathedral by the second half of the 12th century.

The brochure says "Paderborn Cathedral is one of the most significant and remarkable medieval pieces of architecture as, since its foundation, it has increased in splendor during the centuries. There are grand imprints of each century, especially in the interior of the Cathedral. Generations of People not only went there to pray but also restored, changed details, and added ornaments. Thus the Cathedral has not only become an admired monument of tradition, but also the main church of Paderborn and Paderborn citizens, who as respectfully and devoutly enter their church to worship God as people did a thousand years ago.

A lot of the church was destroyed in 1945; however, some notable items remain: the main entrance "Paradies-portal" which is the largest and most magnificent in Westphalia. Its origins date back to the first third of the thirteenth century. An older portion of the portal is wooden and shows the figures of the Cathedral's patrons, Liborius and Kilian, which belong to the 12th century and have rather a solemn look. The double Madonna in the nave dates from 1480 and opposite the pulpit is a very valuable and expressive Pieta originating in perhaps 1380. The western wall of the tower has an interesting representation of the Last Supper, which dates from about 1500. The baptismal font dates from 1630. "

Everywhere you look; your eye is caught by some other object depicting generations of faithful worship. The most memorable, from my perspective, was in the crypt where the relics of St. Liborius lie at the base of the altar in an ebony shrine. This is put into a large golden shrine and carried to the chancel with a solemn procession at the days of his special worship. This area is visible but closed off to all but those who go there to pray. Across the crypt can be found the tombs of a number of Bishops and its anteroom is covered in interesting but very dark (black and white) mosaics.

Climbing out of the crypt we took a little detour through the cloisters and into the Cemetery for the chapter of the cathedral. Looking to the left we saw the well-known "Hasenfenster", the tracery of which is formed by three hares, and this has been arranged so that each hare has two ears but together they have only three ears. It is really rather a clever thing. It is an old landmark of Paderborn which each traveling craftsman wandering through Paderborn had to see. It is a motif that is also to be found in other buildings, but elsewhere is mostly smaller and less conspicuous. Also saw a rather neat metal sculpture of a peacock.

On a more sobering note in the far corner of the cemetery was a part of an incendiary bomb, preserved, I think because it fell into that area and killed a young man whose grave is also there.

We then headed back into the Cathedral where we saw more religious artifacts including a number of very large and impressive memorials and altars dating from1625 (Bishop Dietrich Adolf von der Recke) and 1618 (Bishop Dietrich von Furstenberg) with the characters of the kneeling bishop, the Prophet Ezekiel, Lazarus, the Bishop's family crest, his most important buildings, numerous saints and allegorical figures connected with the Bishopric and the work of the Bishop, all made from different coloured stone. The Cathedral has huge late Romanesque pillars and arches ornamented with keystones. The ribs of the vaults have been painted as they were in medieval times and this enhances the steepness of them. There are interesting little touches like that all over the building. The church really was a marvel and I only with it had been possible to take photos inside; although, I can understand the sincerity with which we are asked not to disturb the faithful who come to worship. Some would say that who travel experience different forms and places of worship are doing the same.

Outside again we looked into the underground remains of Charlemagne's original church which was a sort of a fitting way to end our tour of this fascinating Cathedral.

Continuing our tour Hans took our photos in front of a fountain which was sprinkling us and I again marveled at the wonderful restoration work which has been done to old Medieval or Renaissance buildings since the war. Time was too short, alas, so we had to cancel a visit to the Canossa exhibition
http://www.canossa2006.de/index.php?an=englisch

We were very lucky with our touring day and the weather was much better than the forecast said.

We then hastened home (about a 2 hour drive - I did not realize how long we were gone) and we went closed the day with a local type dinner at their preferred Rinkerode
Restaurant http://www.lohmann-hotel.de/ where I had some kind of mushrooms in noodles and the others had meat and potatoes.
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