I think it’s fair to say that we are going through a difficult time at the moment, and on Sunday we decided to lift our spirits by walking our dog in an area where we could feel a little closer to God. As we drove down the road which follows the river Rhine, we noticed the St. Apollinaris church in Remagen, and on the spur of the moment, chose to base our walk around this.
Before visiting the church, we walked up into the hills along a track that looked like it might once have been quite special, but which is now very neglected with overgrown woodland and tracks that only the most robust of off-road vehicle could navigate. Nevertheless, it was good to exercise our muscles up the steep and rough terrain. We followed the track for perhaps a couple of miles and then circled round and headed back down another track towards the river Rhine. Eventually, the woods opened up to reveal a lovely view of the statue of Saint Francis of Assisi, the church and the Rhine valley.
We sat on a bench in front of the statue, overlooking the church. I thought of a tweet I had seen a couple of weeks earlier, quoting perhaps Plato, although I am not completely sure: Be kind; for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle. Then we walked down about 50 steep steps, carrying our little poodle, and finally reached the church. The first thing we noticed was that the church gardens were open, which was what we had hoped. Here are some pictures taken from the terrace gardens.
Then we each went into the church separately whilst the other waited outside with the dog. Some churches have large stained glass windows to allow the light to shine in with beautiful colours. This church has large walls instead, which allowed space for the wonderful artwork. Frescoes are created using water-coloured paint quickly applied to wet plaster which absorbs the painting to become an integral part of the walls. These frescoes cover 3 themes – the life of Jesus, the life of Mary and the life of St. Apollinaris. I sat in silence for a few moments in one of the pews, and then returned to my wife outside.
Finally, we came home feeling much better than we did before we went out – so much better that I decided to write this short blog post. And we were delighted to hear from both of our girls, one who had been to her first rugby match in England and one who had treated herself to a day at a health spa with her friend. The next day, I was approached by a well-known company asking me to be a guest blogger for them – not sure if I will accept, but it is nice to be asked. We have so much to be grateful for.
All pictures and text. © Chris Robinson 2014. All rights reserved.