This past Sunday, we were on our way home from a weekend trip and decided to stop at 2 places for which we’ve seen signs a bunch of times but never visited.

The first place we stopped was the Japanischer Garten (Japanese Garden) in Kaiserslautern, Germany.  On our way to the entrance, this was our first clue that there would probably be a koi pond in the garden.

We were right.

Overall, I have to say I was underwhelmed by the garden, especially for the admission price of 5.50 Euro per person.  The best part actually had nothing to do with Japanese Gardens whatsoever.  It was these adorable baby ducks (I just like saying “baby ducks” more than I like saying “ducklings”).

We saw two Buddha statues in the brief time it took us to walk around the garden.  This was the bigger of the two.

Here’s Sean raking away at the gravel in the rock garden.  Don’t let him fool you though.  Those patterns were already there.

After we left the garden we were on the autobahn and passed another sign we’d seen several times.  That one was for the Kleine Residenz (Small Residence) in Kirchheimbolanden, Germany.  We pulled off the autobahn and parked in town.

In case you didn’t know, shops are closed in Germany on Sundays.  This is generally what it looks like when you are walking through any German town on any given Sunday, unless it’s a special “shopping Sunday” (this happens a few times a year) or there’s some kind of fest going on.  Ghost town, right?

For some reason I really like taking photos of the manhole covers you see in different towns and cities.  The boar is part of Kirchheimbolanden’s town crest so it’s naturally on their manhole cover too.

Here’s the Roter Turm (Red Tower) and part of the old town wall.  Look at the arches in the wall and then right above that you’ll see a walkway.  You see walls like this all over Europe and this is where the guards used to walk to keep their watch.  Towns sometimes allow tourists to walk on the walls as well.  We could see a ladder behind a closed gate here, so this town obviously doesn’t allow easy access to the walkway. 

This is Sean trying out the ol’ water pump. Yes, it really worked.

Here you’re looking back towards town from the other side of the Roter Turm.  The arch through which you can see the town was not originally part of the wall.  It was put there 100 years ago or so to let traffic through.  The tower was recently restored.

There’s that boar again.  There is another version of this statue in Munich.

And here’s what you’ve all been waiting for – the reason we stopped in this town in the first place – the Kleine Residenz.  It’s now a senior residence.  Mozart stayed here in 1778 at the invitation of Princess Caroline.

Right near the Kleine Residenz is the Paulskirche (Saint Paul’s Church).  While Mozart was staying at the Kleine Residenz, he played the organ at the Paulskirche. 

We originally were unable to enter the church because it was locked.  Not far away and up some steps we could see another church so we decided to check that out instead. 

A little group passed us just as we got to the top of the steps and the woman who seemed to be in charge said something to us in German.  Sean broke out the standard “Ich spreche kein Deutsch” which means “I don’t speak German”.  We do speak minimal German – and I mean REALLY minimal – but it’s normally easier to say you don’t speak German than to say you speak a little German.  When Germans say they speak a little English, they’re pretty much fluent.  So, best to avoid confusion. 

Anyway, she replied in German but we heard Mozart and the order to “come” and Sean said “Ah, Schlüssel!”  “Schlüssel” means “key” in German and we realized she had the key to Paulskirche and was leading her little group there and invited us to come along.  So, here’s the organ Mozart played while he was in town.

The translation of the words on this post is “May peace prevail on earth.”  This was right near a tombstone with the names of Jewish victims of the Holocaust on it, as well as a plaque indicating that a synagogue had been on that spot until 1938.  Sadly we’ve seen this type of thing in almost every German town we’ve visited, no matter how small.

One of the last things we stumbled across during our visit was this guard tower from the 11th century.  There is apparently still a dungeon underneath it.   

After seeing signs for these two places for so long, I’m happy that we finally got off the autobahn to visit them.
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About the author: Trish