Subject: Germany: Oppenheim and Worms, short trip report
Last week-end we went to Oppenheim on the Rhine for a short trip that our kids had donated us. This location is not far from the classical Rhine route and I thought you Ziners might be interested in a short report.

Whenever we are travelling in Germany we take the Dehio's guide Handbook of German monuments of Art with us. It consists in its entirety of about 20 volumes with 800 pages each. :-) For a short trip like this one we needed just one of them.

>From Dehio we learned, that Oppenheim has the most important gothic building on the Rhine between Strasbourg and Cologne, the St. Catherine's church. This made us very curious! And even our Hotel was listed as a monument of Art in Dehio: Hotel Kurpfalz in Wormser Strasse 2, a frame-work building, 300 years old. We arrived by car. No matter from what direction: Oppenheim is a romantic view! We checked in at the Hotel. Our room was OK for a three star hotel. The reception and restaurant however looked a bit old fashioned, like the living room of an 80 year old couple. This is sometimes a drawback in family run hotels, they seem to recycle their old furniture in their hotels. :-) But everything seemed to be clean and the service was friendly.

Oppenheim was reconstructed in baroque frame-work style after being destroyed completely in 1689 preserving the medieval layout of the city. The Altstadt (old city center) originates from the 11th, the Neustadt (new city center) from the 13th century. The frame-work houses look very picturesque. St. Catherine's church gave us a gorgeous impression. It is a pure late gothic building with beautiful colour windows originating from the 13th century. The ornaments and embellishments are very rich and beautiful. This is what makes St. Catherine's church outstanding. And the acoustic inside was marvellous.

On Sunday we went to Worms. Don and Linda wrote already about Worms and 1000 years of Jewish history in this remarkable city. Worms is inhabited since the stone-age. In the beginning of the 11th century they built a number of romanic churches in Worms which are still existing. Worms had up to 50 monasteries within its walls in the past! When we walk through Worms, we feel the painful losses: catastrophes and a lack of reason robbed the majority of the historic monuments of the city, Dehio says! Well, some things remained. We visited the Synagogue and the Jewish cemetery and found that Don's description describes it perfectly. We visited nearly all of the other monuments, most of them churches which were built during the 11th century. They are well restored and a must if you love romanic architecture. The dome was most interesting for us. It has a main altar which was added by Balthasar Neumann in 1740. Thanks to the far-sightedness of their ancestors the inhabitants of Worms and their visitors can enjoy this beautiful piece of Art in the tenth generation already. This money was well invested!

We returned to Oppenheim. At Oppenheim we were eating in the restaurant of the hotel. Food was very good, better than the service and the old fashioned ambiente. Our kids had paid for a five course meal which came together with wine tasting. The meal was great. As usual we preferred the typical dry quality wines like Riesling, Grauburgunder, Silvaner and Spaetburgunder by far to the traditional average sweet but superficial German wines. The dry ones were really great. Occasionally the winemaker who had produced the very good Riesling wine was present in the restaurant and we exchanged our opinions about types of grapes and famous German wine makers like Mueller-Catoir or Robert Weil, who produce the world's leading Riesling wines. :-)

Oppenheim is in the so called Rheinhessen area which still has to work to keep up with other German wine areas. But they are doing a good job, as far as we could see.

If you plan to visit Worms and have two or three hours left, Oppenheim might be an interesting side trip.

Best Regards, Johannes Haltern am See, Germany