At one level, the ride itself was over, for we had achieved our destination. At other levels, it was not. Part of the reason was that I had begun to think of the next long ride, pondering routes. And part of the reason was that we wanted to visit Trier on our way home.
Why Trier? This year marked the 200th anniversary of Karl Marx’s birth. We simply could not miss the opportunity to visit Trier in this auspicious year. From Hof we took regional trains westward to the Rhineland. Here, along the Moselle River, there was no drought. Green were the hills and fields and humid was the air.
We arrived in Trier near dusk and pedalled a short distance to the Porta Nigra, the ancient Roman gate to the city. Indeed, Trier is the oldest city in Germany, having been founded by the Romans as they tried to conquer the local tribes. Close by and in the old town was Kolpinghaus Warsberger Hof, a popular hostel at a reasonable price for the location (71 Euro). We dropped our bicycles and luggage and immediately set off to find Marx.
Soon we found him, or, rather, his statue. Close by the Porta Nigra is a brand new statue, made by the famous sculptor Wu Weishan and provided as a gift from the Chinese government to Trier. It had been unveiled on 5 May, Marx’s birthday.
It warmed my heart to find Chinese characters, for Marx’s name, in the middle of Trier. It warmed our hearts to find that the other visitors at this late hour were from China and Russia. I chatted with the former in Chinese, finding out that they were from Shanghai.
Marx kept appearing in town. Traffic lights near the statue bore his image. As did the beer glasses at a late drink. The beer was crap and expensive, so as we sipped, I said, ‘You know we are paying for the glasses’. With that observation, we quietly departed with the beer glasses in hand.