Underway and Making Way

I am and have been for some time in the throes of a bi-continental lifestyle for about twenty years now but for the past three it has been somewhat intense with the wife and children entrenched in the heart of the EU. It isn’t tourism. It’s life. I once had this fantasy back in 1988 or so I would see the world but now I see specific small parts of Germany. It’s been interesting but I have a sneaking suspicion I’m not going to Burma any time soon.

i spent Christmas in the old Roman outpost of Xanten. From there Varus and his legions left to be obliterated in the dark forbidding forests on the other side of the Rhine. Now it is a charming “city” of 10,000 or so with a charming gothic cathedral, a regular market and a working windmill/organic bakery. It was unfortunately the place Montgomery choose to cross the Rhine but it also was visited by Napoleon who disestablished the cathedral canons. During the Thirty Years War the city walls were torn down but the towers were left. Today you can rent one for a vacation home. Under the Romans the town had running water, hot baths and toilets, amenities which didn’t come back fully after the decline and fall until after World War II.

Now I’m in the Free and Hanseatic City of L√ľneburg. At one point in history it was one of the wealthiest cities in the world. J.S. Bach lived here as a boy and learned how to play the organ in one ornate church on one side of town while he learned how to play the organ in an equally ornate and even bigger church on the other side of town. All paid for by salt. Another huge church collapsed when the foundations gave way after all the salt under them was tunneled out. There are still altogether three big churches and one small Catholic one tucked away.

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