Monday, November 25, 2013

Germany Part 2 - The Rhine Valley, Mainz

On day 3 in the Rhine Valley we packed up our rental car with our bags and growing numbers of souveniers and headed south toward the small city of Mainz.  We had some musts on our list there and were anxious to hit the road.  On the way however, S requested that we stop off at another castle along the river.  Our initial intent was just to take some pictures from the bottom, but S insisted on running up "real quick" and wound up giving himself a half hour tour.  I'm kind of bummed I missed it, the castle was simple, but complete and furnished, but I was all about "the schedule" and so all I have to go on are S's pictures.

Once we got back on the road, it was a fairly easy drive to Mainz (and my first time officially behind the wheel in Germany, which was pretty much just like driving in the US, but some different street signs to interpret).  We got there and discovered a delightful little city with a mix of old and modern buildings, tiny cobbled streets, and fun art installations.

We made our way first to St. Stephens Cathedral, home to the AMAZING stained glass windows by one of my favorite artists, Marc Chagall.  I was blown away by their beauty and the cathedral was also home to a very impressive modern organ as well.  I could have stayed in there all day...

I actually bought an art book with close up pictures of the windows and also a detailed explanation of how he created them.  It's amazing how he managed to translate his very distinct painting style into the art of stained glass.  After S and K dragged me away from the windows, we headed over to the Gutenberg Museum detailing the history of the printing press and the first mass produced books.  We weren't allowed to use cameras inside, but I snuck a couple of pictures anyway, including a photo of an old religious text that was translated to Greek, Latin, and Hebrew as well as one of the original Gutenberg bibles.

After the museum we were all ravenous and so we found an awesome Italian restaurant that appeared to be built within an old cathedral.  It was probably one of the best meals I ate on the trip and one I'm totally planning on recreating one of these days - an appetizer of avocado and goat cheese with a lemon vinegarette followed by a main dish of penne pasta coated in an insanely delicious orange basil butter sauce and topped with tomatoes, parsley, and crab meat.  I'm drooling just thinking about it again.  We then hopped back into the car and drove down to Stuttgart for part 3 of our tour-de-Germany.

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