The EPRT II (European Parent Road Trip Part II) started off with us flying into Düsseldorf. Me, flying in from Mallorca, and my parents flying Phoenix – Chicago – Warsaw – Düsseldorf. Wasn’t sure about that whole extra stop for them until I looked at where dad bought his tickets – CheapO Air. Yup, that’s my Dad! Love him!
I had booked us a night at the Düsseldorf hotel Stage 47. We had the Maisonette Suite which was a lovely two-story room for the price of 170 euros. My roll away bed was about the skinniest thing you have ever seen but since I am skinny, we worked it out. A nice dinner at a Thai restaurant just down the street and then it was time to hit the sack.
The next day we headed towards Wesel, Germany. Felix’s parents have a gorgeous townhouse in the middle of the city. During World War II,as a strategic depot, Wesel became a target of Allied bombing. On the 16, 17 and 19 February 1945, the town was attacked with impact and air-burst bombs, which destroyed 97% of the city. Felix’s parents home is one of the few that survived. It is at least five stories tall with an incredible huge wooden staircase that runs through the middle of it. And his mom is such a great decorator she has made the entire place, including the backyard to the most sweetest, most comfortable home you would ever want to live in.
So, after kisses of hello, a glass of rosé champagne and a piece of strawberry cake we headed off towards Xanten.
Xanten is the only German town whose name begins with an X. The history of Xanten goes back to the Romans, who founded the settlement of Colonia Ulpia Traiana in 15 BC. That is a reeeeeeaallly long time ago. But by 275 it was mostly destroyed by Germanic tribes. But nowadays it has been rebuilt within the Archäologischer Park to see how the town might have been. The Nühlens (Felix’s parents) said the park is an all day thing so we only went to the Römer Museum. And it had so much to see and you get (for a small fee) your own handset which tells about each area in museum, it works as a listening device but also has videos reenacting moments from that reeeaaallllyy long time ago.
Among the exhibits on display are the remains of a Roman boat, suspended from the ceiling at a height of 12 metres. Further highlights are a stunning, large mural and the oldest and best preserved Roman cannon yet discovered. Spanish oil amphorae, silver tableware, pottery and a considerable collection of Roman army weapons and equipment are also on display.
After the museum we saw the cobblestone streets and the church in Xanten – all so very lovely. And then we headed towards the town of Kevelaer, Germany. The clouds were menacing and there was thunder in the distance but we were able to see the Chapel of the Candles and the Chapel of Grace. Two very beautiful and different things!
The Chapel of Grace is a very small but very richly decorated hexagonal building built in 1654. Hundreds of people come to pray at the chapel every day. Even the Pope has been there! The story about the building is interesting and unusual. I am only going to give the overview but if you are dying for more, go here for the full story.
A traveling salesman, Hendrik Busman in 1641 prayed at his usual spot where he heard a mysterious voice that said, “Build me a chapel on this spot”, which he then heard three other times on this same spot. By the way, all sites that I have read about this story claim he was a very sober man for those days. Which makes me laugh, did all drunks have the same voice echoing in their heads? Anyways, soon after Busman’s wife had a dream of a postcard offered for sale to her by two soldiers. She told her husband and he made he go find the card and buy it. That card is still there today. It was such a tiny place I never realized the importance of it until now.
And only a few steps away was the Chapel of Candles which you have hopefully already seen on my last post. Felix’s dad thought there were too many candles. But Felix’s mom and I disagreed. They were beautiful! They are kind of like shoes, you can never have too many.
Stay tuned for Stralsund and Rügen Island!