Monumental Discoveries

A few days after Christmas, I was taking a little stroll through Dormagen, a charming German town with Roman roots, nestled against the river Rhein. I was admiring the red brick buildings covered in ivy, the quaint german gasthäuse and restaurants with large red candles housed in black cast-iron and glass shelters, the smell of apfelstrudel wafting on the cold, crisp winter air, and…

I stopped short, unable to believe my eyes. There, in the middle of the square, was a herd of bronze pigs shuffling beneath a tall stone monument. I burst into laughter; and that was before the inscription was translated for me (paraphrasing): Here commemorates the victory of the people against the bishop of Dormagen in the great pig feud. Pig feud! Fresh onslaught of giggles.  

Certainly no European town is quite complete without a monument of sorts gracing the town center. Most often, it is a memorial to a heroic deed, or of great suffering in war, and the brave soldiers who fought for their homes. But never, in all my European travels, have I encountered a tribute to victory in the sobering event of a Schweinefehde.