Worms 2000      Last Updated: 13-May-03

Plane         Town         Cathedral         Martin Luther         Festival         Jewish Cemetery         Heidelberg      


Airplane "Pick-up" (early May):

Immediately after arriving by train in Worms I took a taxi to the airport to have a look at the plane.

The Cathedral is visible from across the runway of the airport as the highest building in town  After the afternoon thunderstorm 
Aeromobil: this is where I rented the plane for 2 months  This is the Aeromobil building 
The plane I will fly ... maybe 
November-Five-Three-Six-One-One: My reliable best friend and mosquito for 2 month  It still needs some work 
It looks like I will be spending some days in Worms ...  Well, I hope this is not going to take too long ...  And then there are the things that will probably not get fixed at all 

To make a long story short: I did spend a few days in Worms -- until I had to leave to make my sister's 33 1/3rd Birthday Party. I already had missed the surprise welcome party my mom had arranged for my arrival on the weekend. When we took the first test flight, the plane FLEW very nicely, but when we turned on the landing lights all the electronics went out again (Thank god for cell phones). So I took the train to Graz and the plane was delivered there a few days later. This was actually a very good thing, because with the continuous overcast weather I would not have made it over the mountains without an instrument rating. From the train (which tends to follow along the convenient mountain passes) I often saw less than 500' clearance to the clouds, and they were going to more the 15,000'.

Anyway, while waiting for the plane to get finished, I had plenty of time to visit the town, and there was a great Middle Ages Festival going on on the weekend.


Town of Worms:

The city of Worms has a very rich history, it is more than 2000 years old, and much of the inner city core has grown over the centuries. Worms used to be famous for its leather production, which seems to be reflected in at least 2 pharmacies on each block. Today tanneries are no longer profitable, but it is still a distribution center for leather goods.

The Horse Chestnut trees were in full bloom  It was Spargel (Asparagus) season, and they were not stingy with the hollandaise sauce 
One of the still intact city gates, still used in traffic  My hotel (Kalish, white building) was right under the cathedral 
Old meets new - creative parking  Isn't it CUTE? 
The 'Castle' next to the Cathedral  Door detail on the Castle 
The gate of the castle  The handle on the gate 


Cathedral of Worms:

At the place of and immediately around the Worms Cathedral was already a Roman holy temple district, the king's castle of the Nibelungen, and the Kaiserpfalz (~ Emperor's Seat) of Karl the Great. Worms was the main seat of the clergy in the area for centuries, and held many of the main meetings of court and church at that time.

Cathedral St. Peter was first built around 600 AD at the place of the Roman market area by Queen Brunchildis to be the first Frankish bishop's church in the Worms area. The new cathedral was started after 1000 AD and completed in 1018, and significantly enlarged in 1110 and 1181. In 1250 the Roman style south portal was replaced by the larger gothic style portal. Many restorations were completed between 1890-1930 and after the bombs of 1945.

The founding of the Nikolaus Chapel by the wife of Emperor Otto II in 1058 was probably instrumental in getting Santa Claus' reputation going in Europe. The chapel and St. Nick's importance were further improved by Emperor Friedrich I Barbarossa and his wife Beatrix. In the 13th century it was enlarged in gothic style and is now a part of the larger cathedral complex.

From 1000 to 1689 (when the attached buildings of the bishop's residences were destroyed) 22 Emperor Reichstage were held here, and the list of illustrious leaders of the time include: Friedrich Barbarossa, Friedrich II & III, Maximilian I, Konrad II, Heinrich II - VII, and Johann Karl von Frankenstein.

Western part from the North  Western part from the North West 
Western part from the South  Western part from the West 
The eastern part is best seen from the model, since the trees and houses were really close. Note also the bishop's residence extending to the North. That has mostly been destroyed. Our hotel was in one of the houses in front. 
The main part of the church was truly impressive in early gothic style.  Light management was magnificent 
Most of the windows I could photograph were relatively new (post WWII); very few older windows were left, and they were very dark 
Very modern - pixelated - window 
The burial site (Gruft) of the Saliers  Konrad the Red died in 955 
An 'original' (?) romanic portal 
Detail  Window in romanic style 
The 'NEW' gothic south portal  Window  And top 
Above the inside entrance of the Nikolaus chapel (romanic) 
Outdoors entrance to Nikolaus chapel (early gothic) 


Martin Luther and Worms:

Just about 100 yards North of the cathedral, where the Bishop's residences used to be, is also where Martin Luther was tried on April 17 and 18, 1521 by Karl V during the Reichstag.

This path is parallel to the church to the North of it where the bishops's residence used to be. The people on the end look at the plate below 
Here stood before Emperor and Reich Martin Luther 1521 


Medieval Festival in Worms

Returning from a little excursion I suddenly was greeted by music and lots of people in the streets and around the cathedral. It was a very pleasant surprise to happen upon one of the largest festivals in Worms, and to stay right in the middle of it. I had a great view of the parade from my bedroom window and only had to go downstairs to be in the middle of the party.

Nibelungen Siegfried on horse-drawn carriage  View from my window 
Looks comfortable, doesn't it?  The guests of honor at the south gate of the cathedral 
Lots of activities around the cathedral (here on the West side)  Rows and rows of tables for your meals 
Looks like they have more space to eat  Medieval entertainment (TV?) 
Any pork parts?  He doesn't look too happy 
Or would you prefer chicken?  If you prefer vegetarian, what about 'Reisfrass'? - Rice with vegetables and fine herbs 
Cheese skewers with grapes only 2 Taler each  Really freshly baked bread for 8 Taler each 
Wicker goods?  Baskets?  Shoes?  Letters, quilts, maps, etc.?  Or do you want to try your skill at the pottery wheel? 
And at night I actually found the gold of the Nibelungen 


Jewish Cemetery in Worms:

Only about 500 yards from the cathedral is the OLD JEWISH CEMETARY. It was active from 1076 - 1911. On the tour we learned that at one point during the late 1930s to early 1940s it was slated to be razed, but luckily there was no money for doing it, and then it was forgotten.

Most of the cemetery was surrounded by high trees. If one had not seen some newer buildings in a distance or heard the traffic noises just outside the wall, one would not have had any idea about what year it was.

Sign at the entry 
Hers and His (Front)   His and Hers (Back) 



While waiting for the airplane to be completed I rented a car to get some aeronautical charts at Friebel, which is a really great pilot supply store near Worms. As I looked at the map I found that Heidelberg was really close by, and decided to visit.

I spent most of my time at the ruins of Heidelberg, which were a key motif for the German Romantic painters (~19th century). The setting at the river, just coming out of mountains into the plains is wonderful. The ruins where already overgrown from the French wars, and so they probably are almost more visible today than when they were the favorite subject for paintings.

The combination of architectural styles was amusing and interesting to me, but also showed how the castle grew over the centuries.

The castle ruins overlooking the town of Heidelberg in the valley  Each tower had a different style 
Sometimes different styles almost touch each other  What is left of the moat. It seems two or three sides of the castle had a moat the rest was steep cliffs 
Most of the damage was inflicted by the French   
Most windows seem to be gone, many show the sky 
Check out the glass! These are OLD windows  The glass work is getting more intricate  The building is more ornate, but no glass is left. 
Romanic sculptures over the entrance to the castle  Detailed knight 
Many differnt styles in the courtyard. What would life in this place have been like?  Sun dial. So many different window styles 
This would be a great place for a hot tub!  Imagine doing needle work in this window  Golden water spout  He looked really serious 
Round stair case  Ballustrades  Was this a little mill? How romantic! 


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Airplane Maintenance (early June):

When Yolanda and I returned for the airplane maintenance our stay was much shorter. We stayed in the same hotel, but had a room right under the roof, which gave us a great view of the cathedral's East towers from the window.

Yolanda checking her e-mail at the local and very smocky internet cafe  Our view from our hotel window 


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