The final leg, almost.
From Worms I took a day trip to the small towns of Alsheim and Oppenheim. I'm finding the smaller places more interesting the longer I'm at this. The places you've heard of are much more predictable. Switch a few things around and Cologne becomes New York or Bordeaux.
Why these two? My 8th Great-Grandfather Hans Konrad Kummell was born in Oppenheim and died in Alsheim along with my 8th Great Grand-Mother Anna Marie Knebel. Their son, Johann Michael was orphaned early. Marie died when he was 3, Hans a year later. So, On March 10th 1667 little Johann was on his own. Did a relative take him in? A neighbor? At any rate he survived, immigrated to the Colonies, lived to be a geezer. That brief story connects me to those places. I experience them a bit differently.
The train North from Worms takes you along the Rhein. To the west a terrace of hills slope steeply up, covered by a patchwork of hundreds of vineyards. Autumn is in full swing now and the colors are lovely.
Oppenheim's St Katheryn Kathedral had been finished for over 200 years by the time Hans and Marie married. I doubt they wed in the vast church. But it is possible. The tombstone of Elizabeth Frankenstein caught my eye as I cruised the nave. Behind the building is a grotto containing the bones of over 20,000 people, carefully stacked there between 1400 and 1750. Bet if you could get DNA from them I'd have a match somewhere.
Just a word about Worms, the city where Martin Luther proclaimed "Here I stand. I can do no other," when he refused to recant his criticisms of the Catholic Church. I particularly enjoyed the Jewish Cemetery, the oldest and one of the largest in Europe. The markers are scattered throughout a undulating patch of ground beneath the crimson and gold of trees. I like that they are not tiered row on row. As though they were buried where they had fallen, or where a relative thought would be a good place to lay.
Another highlight was the Saturday market, a preview I would guess of the Christmas markets to come. Delicious soups and cakes from the Lions Club and Frauen am Aktion booths. The people I've had contact with have been very pleasant and understanding of a traveler with minimal German.
There is no longer a Jewish community in Worms.
Winter blew in today.