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Mainz, Germany

January 22, 2007
Filed under: Baby Dunbar, Blog — Kerry @ 2:33 pm

What a great city. I took a long walk today and saw several parts of the city. Much like Baltimore this winter, it’s unseasonably warm here, so it was in the 40’s today. Blue sky, sunshine, and a crisp wind made for a nice day. I walked past Johannes Gutenberg University, which is down the street from my apartment, to the Hauptbonhof, also known as the Main Train Station (built 1884). It was a nice stop and I picked up some postcards from a store that sold travel books (only in German), comic books, and magazines with unclothed women or men on the cover (these seem to be widely available). I also tried out the train station restroom, which was much cleaner than a train/bus station bathroom in the US. I had to pay to use the WC, but as I seem to have a 5 ounce bladder thanks to TinyD, it was well-worth the euro I spent. It probably cost less to get in, but I couldn’t understand the sign, so oh well. Another patron also couldn’t understand the sign, but he misread the international symbols for female (human in a dress) and male (human not in a dress) and looked quite startled when he saw me standing at the sink.

Mainz was established by the Romans in 27 AD and destroyed (the first time) in 406 by the Vandals when they crossed the Rhine. Mainz rebuilt and became the home of Johannes Gutenberg, the inventor of the printing press in the 12th century. There’s a nice square, Gutenbergplatz, which is ringed by the Gutenberg museum, the Dom (Mainz’s largest cathedral) and a theater. Mainz was destroyed a second time during the 30 Years War in 1462, a third time by the French in 1688, and suffered much damage during WWII. All of this gives the city an interesting mix of the very old (Roman ruins), the old (beautiful churches and cathedrals), and the modern (the Hyatt hotel).

The Rhine River runs along the edge of the city and across the river is the city of Weisbaden. Mainz and Weisbaden seem to compete on important topics such as in the medical field, the arts, and most important, on the soccer field. Mainz has a premier league team while the rival city doesn’t.

On today’s walk, I went in 7 cathedrals and churches. They are everywhere, and the door is generally open for looking. The common themes were beautiful painted ceilings, nice stained glass, elaborate nativity scenes (one including a wise man with an elephant). St. Peter’s church was the first one I found and built in 1748 with a beautiful ceiling and a particular arrangement of windows that keeps Christ on the cross in a sunbeam most of the time. Nearby, there was a Roman Dativius Victor Arch (3rd c AD) and the relatively new Christ Church (1897), which has beautiful stained glass and a wooden ceiling.. St. Christoph’s church (1300 AD) is a bit older and only the shell remains. There are more churches to see.

I had a more guided tour from one of my hosts and his family. We walked through the old part of the city, which has narrow stone streets (few cars here), more churches, and lots of stores (closed Sundays in Germany). As many churches and cathedrals as I’ve seen, there are almost as many wine houses. Mainz is in region of Germany famous for producting outstanding wines. Alas, no wine for me, but I hear most of the wine houses also have great food.

2 Comments »

  1. Wow, I’m so totally jealous of you right now. I’m glad you are able to enjoy the scenery and culture. I highly recommend you bring back some ice wine (you can enjoy later). Germany is a good source (think reisling is the best, but I’m no expert). It is a bummer to have to pay for the WC (I’d be broke!), but so long as you know to keep money on you there shouldn’t be an issue.
    Continue to enjoy your trip. Travis tells me your babymoon will keep you from the Sellers’ shower. LUCKY (not for missing the shower, but for being in Europe…again). Maybe we’ll see you in March? :)

    Comment by cpine — January 23, 2007 @ 1:01 pm

  2. Thanks for the advice. The do have nice wine here (at least as far as tiny sips go). See you at Bstudy on Feb 5th, then again a few weeks later

    Comment by Kerry — February 3, 2007 @ 11:35 am

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