Speyer was a practical choice. For our departure night we needed a place close enough to Frankfurt’s international airport and our next morning’s flight. We also wanted to stay in a place where we could let Gigi, our certified Bordachinhuahua Terrier, stretch her legs and light her turbos before she loaded into her airline travel palace for the long flight back to California.
Bypassing the guidebooks we searched the UNESCO World Heritage list. We looked for a place within an hour’s drive of FRA. On the UNESCO website we found Speyer Germany. After a little more research we determined that Speyer is convenient to the airport; it would be ideal for our final stop.
Aside from what we gathered from the UNESCO World Heritage website there was one additional thing we knew about Speyer before we arrived: Speyer has a large technical museum, the Technikmuseum Speyer. It is embarrassing to admit this, but we thought we had visited Technikmuseum Speyer on a prior trip. In reality we had visited a similar and related museum, the Auto & Technik Museum Sinsheim, several years before. Perhaps it is easy to mistake the two museums; Sinsheim is 30 minutes from Speyer; the museums are very similar. After all both the Sinsheim and Speyer facilities have multiple large, really large, aircraft supported on poles high above the ground. That’s hardly a common sight.
Beyond the Technikmuseum, which we didn’t visit, there are plenty of things to see in Speyer. Speyer largely escaped the wide scale urban demolition that occurred towards the end of World War II. Amongst the town’s older structures are numerous churches including the UNESCO-listed Speyer Cathedral.
Officially named Dom zu Unserer lieben Frau in Speyer (Imperial Cathedral Basilica of the Assumption and St Stephen in English), the massive Speyer Cathedral sits on a hill above the navigable Rhine River. Construction of the grand cathedral was begun in 1030 under Conrad II. The church was consecrated in 1061. Today Speyer’s Cathedral is the largest of the Romanesque churches. Supported by red sandstone pillars the interior space is cavernous; it feels clean and modern. Inside it does not feel like a thousand year old church.
Speyer’s cathedral is situated at one end of Maximilianstraße, a wide pedestrianized street. On the opposite end of Maximilianstraße is the old city gate. Throughout the historic district are numerous large and interesting old churches; each is worthy of exploration. And there more see in Speyer than its churches. Indeed, there’s more to see than we had time for.
Stopping in Speyer served its purpose. We were close enough to the airport and the walking tour gave both humans and canine the needed preflight outing. There was just one last thing we needed to do before departed. As has become our custom, we savored a few last beers before departing Germany. The taste of the final good Pilsner-style beer lingers as a lasting memory from our European visits. Good beer is always a sound reason to fly through Frankfurt.