I first read about the Elephant Parade on Travel With Intent’s blog, when she posted photos of them as her entry for Ailsa’s multi-coloured photo theme. The elephants were on a tour of the UK and she had managed to catch up with them in Manchester. She mentioned that there were also parades in Luxembourg/Trier and in Southern California this year, and I knew immediately that I wanted to go and see them in Trier if they were still there. A quick check of the Internet confirmed that I had until 18 October 2013 to visit them, and so our trip was arranged.
We woke up yesterday to rain in Karlsruhe and a weather forecast that confirmed we could expect the same of Trier, but we weren’t going to let a little water put us off! So we picked up the car and were on our way. Going was pretty good until we got right outside Trier and ended up stuck in a huge traffic jam. The minutes ticked by, and we eventually decided that we would take the next turn off, into a kind of retail centre, and see whether we could park there. It turned out we could, so we left the car and walked the rest of the way into town… finally reaching the Porta Negri about half an hour after we had arranged to meet my friend (who lives in Luxembourg) there!
There was a bit of a culinary market happening on the square beside the gate, selling new wine among other things, so our first stop was to grab some food. It’s a long drive from Karlsruhe to Trier (about 2 hours and 15 minutes… plus the time stuck in traffic trying to get in to the town!) and we were hungry. One pork steak with bread later, I was ready to explore. And we were immediately rewarded with our first few elephants.
Next stop was the Trier cathedral, which was huge! It almost seemed bigger on the inside than the outside…
Up to this point, it had been very dull and grey, but not actually raining. When we came out of the cathedral, it had started to drizzle a bit, but that wasn’t going to put me off exploring further! We put up our hoods and moved on. Here’s one of Jan’s favoruite elephants:
The elephants were, understandably, very popular with children, and it was often difficult to take a photo without any small people getting in the shot! Which is why a lot of my photos ended up looking something like this…
Trier lays claim to being the oldest city in Germany (along with Worms, which would have us believe it takes that honour!), and there were certainly a lot of old buildings in the centre of town. Here are a few:
All the elephants in the parade could also be bought – quite a few had signs on saying they were already sold – the money going to the charity that the parade aims to raise awareness off. Where would one put a giant elephant sculpture, I wonder? There was also a shop selling smaller replicas of the elephants and other elephant products, such as keyrings and T-shirts. Jan bought me a small, plain black elephant (even the very smallest of the themed ones would have cost €35! It may be for charity but I’m not insane!). I loved this Obamafant that was on display outside the shop:
After walking around for around 3 hours, we went to meet D – a friend of my friend – who lives in Trier, for a coffee. My legs were very glad to have a seat for while, I can tell you! We drank and chatted for quite a while, then D said he still needed to go shopping and run some other errands, so we headed back out. It had started to rain properly by this time, but Jan wanted to find the Mosel (river) so we went for another walk. The river was quite a bit further from the main part of town than I had expected and the buildings along the river side weren’t particularly nice, which surprised me, but have some photos anyway.
I also spied some cute graffiti down by the river, which I couldn’t resist taking a photo of:
After our detour to the river, we headed back into town to eat at the only restaurant my friend had been to in Trier. It’s called Kartofeel Kiste, meaning potato crate… can you guess what they specialise in? I decided on one of the few things that seemed to be a local speciality – or at least have the town’s name in its title – Trierer Gefüllte – huge balls of potatoes filled with meat and cooked in a creamy cheese sauce. Not exactly diet friendly but delicious!
Once we’d eaten, it was time for us to head back to the car and my friend to head back to the train station. Despite the weather, it had been a very nice day! Although I have to admit, Trier wasn’t quite as nice as I’d been imagining after having it recommended by so many people! It certainly has history though and is definitely worth a visit (even when the elephants aren’t there…)
Update from August 2014: I’ve decided to add this post to the Travel edition of the Young Germany Expat Bloggers hop. You can see the other entries here.