This was our busiest day. We visited Maiz in the morning, Rüdesheim right after lunch, sailed through the Rhine Gorge in the late afternoon and finished it off with a candle lit castle tour.
This post will look at the first 2, and then we will look at the amazing Rhine Gorge studded with Castles.
We started the day in Mainz with a visit to the Mainz Cathedral. We walked from the port to cathedral square. It was an interesting walk.
I wanted to include this picture as it is one my favorite pictures from the trip. I just thought it was pretty.
When we return to Mainz we will visit the Gutenberg Museum. We did not have time and our wonderful guide (more on him in minute) did not really have any details about anything.
From here we visited Collegiate Church of St. Stephan to view the Chagall Windows.
During WW II this chapel received extensive damage and restoration was not completed until the 1970s. The pastor Klaus Mayer knew something neede to be done to help heal the world, and Germany’s relationship with it. He asked and eventually convinced Marc Chagall (a famous Jewish artist residing in France) to create these works of art. They are so beautiful, and the blue is mesmerizing. If you get the chance add it to your list.
Lets talk about tour guides and what a difference they can make. With the exception of guide in Mainz we had a really good group. The guide in Mainz was an American who had lived there for 15 years. He looked like he had woken up 10 minuted before meeting us. He also let us know in detail that he had got confused about where we going to dock and he wished we had let him know we were docking where we did. Then as he walked ahead of us not bothering to point anything out or pay attention if people were keeping up with him. The guide then crossed on a no walk sign and about half the group almost got hit trying to follow. Rather than pause, he continued and we were stuck waiting. Once we were allowed to cross we had to sprint to catch back up to the group.
This is what we learned about Mainz from him. About 15 years ago, at the end of his enlistment period, he moved to Germany with his best friend to follow 2 girls who they met while skinny dipping. He loves living in Germany and likes helping people by being a tour guide. His ex-wife is from Belguim, and is an artist and loves horses. She has several horses and use to ride competitively. She had an injury, so now she just rides for fun. As I said a good guide can make for a great experience, and bad well, he still talks to his wife often, they just should have never gotten married.
After this we got back on the boat and headed up the river to Rüdesheim, where we took a ride over the vineyards of Rüdesheim in a gondola to the Niederwald Monument.
The tour was actually a wine tasting followed by the gondola ride up the vineyards. We are not big wine people so we took our passes for the gondola and left the group to explore on our own.
We rode the gondola – the views were very spectacular. At the top we had time to look around and check out a hiking trail.
This is Niederwald Monument. It commemorates the founding of the German Empire in 1871 after the end of the Franco-Prussian War. It also represents the union of all Germans. It The central figure is the 34 ft tall Germania figure. Her right hand holds the recovered crown, and her left holds the Imperial Sword. This also means the 2 sides of the statue holds different symbolism. The left is consider the war side, the right the peace side.
It was about 45 minutes before the boat was set to leave so headed back down and as we were getting off our group was getting on. This would have made for a short time at the top, but that was probably fine with most of the group. We never heard anyone complain (of course they had all had a pretty good wine tasting)
This was just one of the fun stores we passed on our way back toward the ship.
More to come on this busy day.