Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Erkunden Kaiserslautern! - Kaiserslautern, Germany

Upon arriving to Germany the night before at Ramstein Air Force Base, Kaiserslautern was my first authentic German experience of my trip!  After leaving the base in the morning, my taxi driver was telling me about the area and how it has grown from a small rural town established in the 9th Century into a large international cultural center.  I was eased into Germany from my American ways being Kaiserslautern is the largest concentration of Americans outside her territories!

With my hiking pack upon my back, I began my explorations about the city from the plaza of the main train station, or Hauptbahnhof auf Deutsch.  Heading north along Richard Wagner Stra├če, I made my way down hill to the city center and with each step find more reasons to get "lost".   One of my first entertaining experiences was stumbling upon the crowded Stiftsplatz with vendors, farmers and to my surprise florists! Considering it was the end of September and when I had checked the weather for the upcoming weeks, I was prepared for more autumn weather.  I could have not been more wrong!  By ten that morning it was already pushing 75 degrees Fahrenheit and I had a full pack and leather jacket to contend with, but I was enjoying the sapphire blue skies!  Standing guard over the square are the towers of Stiftskirche, pictured above on the left, however I did not make it into the church, I found myself in one of the oldest and most historic places remaining in Kaiserslautern: Martinskirche.  Founded as a Franciscan monastery in 1290, the now Catholic church, pictured above on the right, has had a wide array of denominations congregate under the plastered vaults and also many uses between service as a church, such as an armory during the Reformation.  Outside in the plaza, I snapped a peculiar event of the young boy being tipped into the water fountain, most likely to cool off!  But why use the water fountain when there are ice cream shops every hundred feet in the main square!   

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