Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Germany Trip Report, final installment.

Last summer Robert, Dots and I visited a former classmates of Dots's, Hanna, and her family in Germany.

Saturday, 4 August, 2007

Robert and Jogi took a serious 13-mile run through the Bingenwald this morning while the rest of us enjoyed a leisurely breakfast on the back balcony. We set out for Mainz around 11:00.

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Mainz is about a 20 minute drive from Bingen and is its nearest city. Jogi and Rosie both attended University there.

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Mainz has a very charming pedestrian area, and on our visit, a large outdoor market was operating. We enjoyed walking around and observing the locals shopping for flowers, fruits, vegetables, cheeses, and even wine.


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We stopped and toured the very large and grand Mainz cathedral, parts of which date back to 1009. The cathedral has an impressive collection of sacred treasures in a separate back area.

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We are not the sacred treasures at the Cathedral! No photography was allowed in that section

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Mainz was birthplace of Johannes Gutenberg, and he was living there when he invented the world’s first printing press around 1450. We visited the Gutenberg Museum and watched a very interesting demonstration on a model of his original device.

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The museum has many old books and prints on display, and we especially enjoyed seeing two of the original Gutenberg Bibles, only 48 of which are known to exist.

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Leaving the museum, we walked to the Church of St. Stephan. This building is smaller than the Cathedral but is also very old, dating back to the 13th century. It suffered heavy damage during WWII but was rebuilt and restored by the 70’s. Its most beautiful feature is its stain-glassed windows that were designed by the artist Marc Chagall. The windows depict scenes from the Old Testament in a background of luminous blue and were created between 1978 and Chagall’s death in 1985.


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We were very interested to learn that Rosie’s father served as the translator between the priest at St. Stephan’s, Monsignor Meyer, and Chagall. After Chagall’s death, one of his artisans created two stain-glassed windows in the same colors as the church’s for Rosie’s father as a gesture of appreciation.

We stopped on our way back from Mainz at the home of Rosie’s parents and were able to see these lovely stain-glassed windows. Their home also has a stunning view of the Rhine and of Rudesheim, and we enjoyed a glass of wine on their deck while our girls swam in their pool.

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For dinner we drove to the quaint neighboring village of Munster-Sarmsheim and ate at Weingut Gottelmann.

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We sat outside in an interior courtyard and enjoyed a tasting of their wines. Jogi ordered our food for us, and we ate family style. Once again his selections were wonderfully varied and delicious.

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Sunday, 5 August, 2007


We awoke early and sadly bade goodbye to the our wonderful German hosts before driving to the Frankfurt airport and flying home.

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This was one of the best trips we’ve ever taken (save for one 24-hour period which was no one’s fault but my own). We had the opportunity of a lifetime to have an insiders’ tour of Germany with the kindest, most generous and knowledgeable hosts I can imagine. At the end of a trip I usually select and recount a few highlights, but in this case every place we visited with the Jogi and Rosie was interesting, beautiful or charming, all of the food we ate with them was outstanding, and the entire experience was superlative. The grandest part of it all for me, though, was the people we met and visited with, who so warmly welcomed us into their homes and wineries and so generously shared their German culture and heritage with us. We are enormously grateful for this opportunity.

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The path from the front door to the street. The carport, top left, is at street level. Underneath the carport is Jogi's fabulous wine cellar. We enjoyed our last glasses of wine in there by candlelight and I am just sick that I didn't take any pictures

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Carport (above) with wine cellar underneath

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Door to the wine cellar



4 comments:

Buzzings of a Queen Bee! said...

I saw on your blog ID page that you like to travel, and these pictures of Germany prove it! They are amazing! You have put me in a travel mood! Beautiful photos. Thank so much for visiting my blog today and for your sweet comments! :)
-Carrie

Melissa said...

Germany is so beautiful. I miss living there. Everything had such romance and character to it.

You must go back and try the spaghetti eis next time.

Melissa

librarianlisa said...

Wonderful photos, as always. Germany is on my list of places to visit now!

Andrew said...

The stained glass windows are really amazing. I like all of Chagall's works, especially when he uses different shades of blue, like in those windows. You can see a lot of his original works here:

http://www.masterworksfineart.com/inventory/chagall

Thanks for the post!