Friday, March 31, 2017

Paris to Swiss Alps: Mainz on Our Own (3/31/2017)

Friday, March 31, 2017
After the guided tour, we had time to explore on our own.
Contemporary architecture on Grebenstrasse (KSS)
Doors within doors within doors, of the former Arnsburg Monastery
and now the site of the former seminary's library (KSS)
Nasengässchen/Nose Alley
Leichhof #1 half-timbered house with oriel windows
We were standing in a small square that I thought should be Kirschgarten, and while we were examining a map, a man stopped to help. I mistakenly said we were looking for Kirchegarten, and he directed us back to the market. No, I meant Kirschgarten! Oh, it was just around the next corner. Vielen Dank!

So this was the view of Kirschgarten/Cherry Garden Square
with its "romantic timber-framed houses"!
One of Kirschgarten's fountains (KSS)
Another fountain
Zum Aschaffenberg (15C),
the oldest preserved house in Mainz
And the main Madonnenbrunnen/
Madonna Fountain (1932, in Neo-Baroque style)
A petrified stump (of an oak tree, not a cherry tree!)
and a corner block of the house Zum Beÿmberg (1472) 
Schönbornstrasse #13 (1881-1883)
Leichhof-Brunnen/Fountain (1980 by Heinz
Müller-Olm) depicting five figures from Mainz history:
Roman legionary, bishop, patrician, architect,
and perhaps a university professor
Johanniskirche/St. John's Church (9C) oldest church in Mainz,
and only preserved building from the Merovingian,
Carolingian, and Early Ottonian eras
A shopper takes a break
Richard Wagner Denkmal/Memorial (1970) was a
gift of the Schott Publishing Company of Mainz, which
had published the score of Wagner's Der Ring des Nibelungen
We returned to the Viking Hild in time for casting off and lunch.
Another specialty cookie: Nussecken/"Nut corners"
Nierstein with St Kilianskirche/Church of St Kilian (1776)
Weingut/Winery Louis Guntrum and vineyards with a bit more green
Mistletoe is prevalent along the Rhine River
Power plant near Biblis
Pegelhaus/Water depth station in Worms
In the afternoon there was a demonstration of making Flammkuchen, like a flatbread pizza that could be sweet or savory depending on toppings.
Flammkuchen/Tarte flambée with Quark/soft curd cheese (not to be
confused with cheese curd!), Alpine cheese, Speck/pancetta, and onions
We missed the talk on Discover the World of Viking because we were waiting to pass the BASF plants in Ludwigshafen.
BASF - where is the "We create chemistry" tagline?!
The plant went on for kilometers and kilometers
Loyal BASF alumnus
BASF crane
Police station, police and fireboats across the river in Mannheim
Solar farm in Mannheim
Dyckerhoff, a former employer
The Pegelhaus/Water depth station in Mannheim
gauges the depth of the Rhine River here at 2.55 meters
Jesuitenkirche/Jesuit Church (1733-1756) in Mannheim
The Pegeluhr/Water depth dial in Ludwigshafen,
showing a depth of 2.8 meters
Port Talk then dinner: Truffle Scented Chicken Cassoulet in puff pastry crust with mushrooms and tarragon, Orange & Soy Marinated Grilled Pork Tenderloin with marscapone polenta, roasted piquillo peppers, and aromatic spice jus, followed by Crème Caramel with fresh fruit, whipped cream and vanilla bean sauce.
The Evening Entertainment was Quiz Night, with questions similar to Family Feud.

Next: Speyer.

Paris to Swiss Alps: Mainz (3/31/2017)

Thursday, March 31, 2017
We have arrived in Mainz (half our porthole view!)
After breakfast, we started the included walking tour of Mainz. The city is located at the confluence of the Main and Rhine Rivers, and was founded 13 BCE as Roman military post and the town grew between fort and river. By the late 5C, after various incursions, it became Frankish and an important city in the Holy Roman Empire, with the Archbishop as one of Seven Electors of the Holy Roman Emperor. In 1797 Mainz was occupied by the army of Napoléon Bonaparte, who left in 1815. It then was part of the German Confederation, and was occupied by France after both World Wars.
Theodor-Heuss-Brücke/Bridge (1948-1950 to replace the 1885
bridge destroyed by the Germans to slow the Allied pursuit in
World War II), named for the German statesman who was the
first president of the Bundesrepublik Deutschland/
Federal Republic of Germany or West Germany
Rear view of the Mainzer Rathaus/Mainz City Hall (1970-1973,
designed by Danish partners Arne Jacobsen and Otto Weitling)
Front of City Hall, which is said to look like a prison (KSS)
Sculpture (does it include the bicycle?!) in front of the Rheingoldhalle/
Rhine Gold Hall (1965-1968 designed by Dissing & Weitling),
a conference and exhibition hall on Jockel-Fuchs-Platz,
a square named for the popular Lord Mayor of 1965 to 1987
Since Mainz is the German Wine Capital, the
directional signs point towards other "wine capitals" 
Eisenturm/Iron Tower (c 1240 to 15C), the
gate tower at the former iron market
Some of the oldest houses that survived WWII bombing
(when Mainz was 80% destroyed; much of
the rebuilding was under French control) (KSS)
The former Heilig Geist Spital/Holy Ghost Hospital (1236,
in red sandstone), although damaged during WWII, it was repaired
and became a popular dance hall, but now a restaurant
It sort of looks like a Zbigniew
Frączkiewicz sculpture... (KSS)
Well! It looked like long Venetian blinds draped over the roof and down
the sides, with openings of missing slats; what is interesting is that this
is a modern building (2008, designed by Massimiliano Fuksas, using white
terracotta lamellas) behind the historic façades seen in Market Square
Markt/Market Square with the Heunensäule/Hay
Column (1975) with the reconstructed façades
behind it; only the white Gothic façade remained
standing after World War II, the others represent
different architectural styles over the ages
The above column represents Mainz history with headgear around the base, including a helmet of a Roman legionnaire (city founded in 13 BCE). There is also a bishop's mitre (ecclesiastic tradition), the fool's cap (symbolic of a Phrygian cap) worn by French revolutionaries, and the Imperial Crown of the Holy Roman Empire.
Renaissance and Gothic façades (KSS)
Renaisssance corbels/supports (KSS)
Trying to fit the entire Mainzer Dom/Mainz Cathedral in one picture,
with its double chancels and six towers; cathedrals were traditionally
surrounded by church admistration buildings like those on the left,
and Mainz is the rare city that kept these buildings intact
while other cities razed them for a better view of the cathedral
The octagonal tower (c 1100 Lombardic)
of the Mainz Cathedral
Gotthardkapelle/Gotthard Chapel (1137), made of concha limestone,
was built as the official palace chapel, with a statue of St Boniface
holding the Codex Ragyndrudis, the book he is said to have held
to protect himself from the murderous pagan Frisians
he tried to convert when he was bishop of Mainz
Unfortunately this huge chicken turned her tiny head away for the photo!
("No worries about salmonella in the eggs, the chickens are vaccinated")
Fresh veggies
Eggs and dyed eggs for Easter (the dyed eggs are "cooked"!)
Interesting wreaths made from what looks like driftwood branches (KSS)
Marktbrunnen/Market Fountain (1526)
one of the largest Renaissance fountains in Germany,
 also the oldest and most beautiful...; it (the water)
was a gift from the archbishop to the people, and the
imagery supposedly recollects the peasant revolts
which were also bloodily beaten down in Mainz
The Nagelsäule/Nail Column (1916) made from an oak
tree trunk topped with an Iron Cross and the inscription
"In War - God Help Us" with allegories of unity,
charity, bravery; where donors could insert a nail to
raise funds for deprived children and soldiers' wives
Mainz Cathedral for the blind
Sunny side of the Mainz Cathedral (KSS)
The Mainz citizens eat breakfast on the run,
with fresh goodies from the market
Our local guide took us into the Gutenberg Museum, and remained our guide.
Bronze gateway (1961 by Karl-Heinz Krause, who
used real printing blocks to make the casts, then
welded them together to make six panels (KSS)
Johannes Gutenberg was born in Mainz, and died here, thus the presence of this museum with reconstructions of print shops and Gutenberg's hand press, an exhibition of incunabula (pre-1501 books), and one complete (and a couple halves) original Gutenberg Bible (1455, 42-lines), amongst many other printed books from the 15C and later. Gutenberg's contributions to printing include introducing moveable type to Europe and inventing the process to mass produce the type, and also by developing an oil-based ink that has shown no wear even today.
No photos allowed in the museum, but we were allowed to
photograph our guide, Rolando, showing us how a printing press works
At a young age, Gutenberg moved to Strasbourg where he perfected the printing process. He moved back to Mainz in 1448 to set up shop and borrow money. The Bibles he printed in 1455 were of 42 lines (in black ink) per page in double columns. Spaces were left for the initial letters of each paragraph (once printed in red ink). A person would purchase the Old Testament separately from the New Testament, receiving an armful of loose printed (and unnumbered!) pages (about 300 per Testament). He would then seek an artist to color in the initial letters of the paragraphs and fill in a variety of red decorative marks. They could then illuminate initial letters and the margins per instruction or imagination. It was apparent that the artists who "illustrated" the Gutenberg Bibles were illiterate themselves, as backward letters were seen. When that was completed, then the owner could have the book bound. It was still a time-intensive and expensive process to obtain a Bible, but much less time and expense than a hand-copied Bible, which would most likely stay in the hands of the religious.
Gutenberg's invention allowed the Bible to be more accessible to a growing middle class and mass printing contributed to increasing literacy. The Gutenberg Bible used a Latin version of the Hebrew Old Testament and of the Greek New Testament.
Statue of Gutenberg (1827, by Joseph Scholl),
the first memorial made to Gutenberg
Paintings and statues of Gutenberg show him with a beard, since it was the style at the time when the artists lived over a hundred years later. But historically full beards were shunned by the patrician class in Germany in the mid-1400s. Thus, no one really knows what Gutenberg looked like.
Haus zum Römischen Kaiser/Palace of the Holy Roman Emperor
(1653-1657 late Renaissance, bombed 1945, restored 1962), the former
home and present administration building for the Gutenberg Museum
The palace gateway has a 1685 Baroque ceiling that survived the bombing
Although simply labeled as a Roman Emperor,
this statue was said to be Kaiser Karl/Emperor
Charles V, shown, perhaps. after the defeat of the
Ottomans in Tunis in 1535, with the head and
testicles of a Turk at his feet (cannot be verified!)
A food truck at the market!
It was pointed out that the streets with red signs lead to the Rhine River...
and streets with blue signs run parallel to the river
The story is that when soldiers (Prussian?) were garrisoned in Mainz, there was not much to do other than to drink. Since they had trouble finding their way home each night, it was decreed to color code the streets...
A gas lamp, a gift from Paris when Paris
converted to electric lighting; this
lamp still operates with gas
The Mainz Cathedral cloister contains
plants usually seen in Mediterranean climates
The Rhine River moderates the climate in Mainz, making riverside areas slightly warmer in winter and cooler in summer. Due to this phenomenon, the Rhine Valley is an ideal location for vineyards.
Icon donated by a crusader grateful to have
arrived safely back in Mainz
Spooky grave markers
Look! It's St Denis of Paris!
Nope, it's St Alban of Mainz, who was also
beheaded and picked up his head to carry it
to the place he wished to be buried
Inside the Mainz Cathedral, 19C frescoes in the nave,
some by Philipp Veit (KSS)
A monument in the cathedral using white marble
from America and black marble from Russia,
being the first time they worked together...
Tombstone of Archbishop Siegfried III von
Eppstein, the oldest memorial in the cathedral,
where the archbishop is the dominant figure, greater
than the two kings he was responsible for having
crowned, wearing the bishops's mitre and robe,
holding the staff, and standing on a lion and
a basilisk, symbols of evil (KSS) 
The central nave has unique Romanesque arches
that end underneath the windows and in 1200
the ribbed vault was added
The right aisle shows the Romanesque style (KSS)
Gothic-style pulpit
The cathedrals market portal
The portal doors have lion heads with rings in their mouths,
the rings being symbols of asylum, where a fugitive who was
able to grab a ring at the doors of a temple or a church
would have been granted protection from his pursuers
The Mainz cathedral was one of the three Kaiserdome/Imperial Cathedrals of the Holy Roman Empire, along with the cathedrals in Worms and Speyer. Seven coronations were held in Mainz, including the last Saxon emperor, Henry II, crowned in 1002, and the first Salian emperor, Konrad II, crowned in 1024.

At this point we were given perhaps 45 minutes of free time.

Next: Mainz on Our Own.