Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Out and About in Mainz

Johann Gutenberg hung his hat in Mainz

We bought a page printed on this exact replica 42 line press. It is a hand illuminated first page of the Gospel of St. John -in latin, of course.

Bench outside the Gutenberg Museum

We could all take a page from the European paving book

This is the paving of choice all across Europe -be it a medieval street or a 21st Century market plac
e. The blocks can be placed in any number of patterns. Look closely at those blocks. They are 4 or 5 inch cubes. If YOUR driveway were made of these, it would NEVER- I repeat NEVER wear out!

Jus' Chillin' Out in Mainz

A "Froche" Approach

A BIG Mistake With L-O-N-G Term Consequences

Here it is. The municipal building in Mainz.
Sure is! Everybody in Mainz deplores it


The city commissioned a famous architect to design it. Now he has died. The heirs claim it is an historic landmark, and furthermore, the estate claims it as its intellectual property. It is now impossible to alter or change, in even the slightest way, this prison-esque monstrosity. One can only hope for a well placed lightning bolt.

The effect is ameliorated somewhat by the cool metal sculpture in front of it. But you can't really do much to disguise abuilding which makes the Bastille look inviting.

The Kloster

If there's a Kloster, There's gonna be a Krypta

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Mark Chagall windows

Welcome to St. Stephen's Church
Mainz , Germany


a Russian Jewish artist, often created stained glass of juxtaposed Jewish and Christian images.He fled during the Second World War and vowed never to return to Germany.

A Monsignor in Mainz (pronounced "Minetz" with a long "i") pleaded, begged and negotiated for him to make the windows for St. Stephens Church, and he finally relented.

This is the ONLY church in Germany with Chagall windows. He fit the first of 9 windows at age 91.

His windows around the chancel and the front of the nave were so well received that he agreed to replace all the windows in St. Stephens. He died before the work was finished, but associates in his studio completed the job in his style.

People from around the world make pilgrimages here.

It is at once angular and soft

Dark yet vibrant

Picasso remarked that"when Chagall dies, there will be no one left who understands color."

Tourists are very quiet in St. Stephens

The windows speak in loud, jarring tones

They whisper in soft nuances

All words are superfluous

We stayed, and stayed, and stayed

It is....


Thursday, January 7, 2010

This, That and The Other --Try It, You'll Like It!

Here's your tour of interesting oddments
--at least WE thought they were interesting

Medieval town gate with modern buildings appended

No, It's not another "Leaning Tower". Many old European buildings are bigger at the top than at the bottom. Most towns charged taxes based on linear footage AT STREET LEVEL --Clever!

A glass blower

.................And his wares

At his shop in Wertheim

A 7th generation glass blower, he studied with Dale Chihuly

(click mouse for closeup of his beautiful works)

Mist on the river
(enlarge to see ducks under the fog)

Wild Swans


Purveyors of 1 Euro children's books all over Germany

Even if you can't read them, you still can't resist them!

It became an instant ruin when a "BIG OOPS!" happened in the powder magazine

Fortunately, there's no OSHA here in Germany either, so were were allowed to scramble around all over the place totally unsupervised

All the way up into the tower at the very top


Talk about the "Nose Bleed Section"!!!!!!

We were way above the rest of the castle, not to mention the town itself.

Pass the Oxygen

That's our boat (blue canopy) way way way down there!

The Duke had children.....How nice!

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

High spots from several cities


What everybody wants to see in Nurnberg

Huge ~ forbidding ~ desolate

Built solely for propaganda films by Hitler, there was no seating -just standing room for his serried ranks as he harangued them and photographed their might. The city petitioned him several times to let them use it for a soccer arena, but he refused. It's sole use was his once a year rallies.

The side front view of the same building.
Equally huge ~ desolate ~ beetling.

Today, the offices collecting and studying Nazi records is the only thing housed here.

They form a transparent glass arrow, (upper right) symbolically cutting completely through the building.



High on a hill to aid in defense

But the really interesting characteristic of this castle is the long entry tunnel

Holes in the ceiling allowed defenders to pour burning pitch and molten lead down upon attackers

Being in the service of the crown has always been a rough life


REALLY close quarters!!!

utside stairs on boat (blue)

Outer railing (red)

Wall of the lock o
n the Danube/Main (pronounced "Mine") Canal we happened to be passing through (slimy grey/green).

I told you the clearance was quite literally in inches

A handsome couple in Bamberg--there's always a castle

It's still fall weather, but the rain has gone for good

Hegel lived in Bamberg
(even if you don't read German yo
u can figure out this plaque - there are so many English cognates)
Born at the house of the crab (Krebs)
Medieval houses were often designated by symbols to help out the mostly illiterate population. "Krebs" is a false cognate though. Order one in a restaurant, and you will get either a shrimp or a lobster (I guess an exoskeleton is all that's required)

The Bamberg Specialty? Take a guess

Beer, of course

but not just any beer....


Brewed right here since forever ago

It seems that once upon a time there was a fire at the brauhaus. It did not destroy anything, but it smoked up their hops and barley grains. To try to recoup their losses,
they used them anyway.
The result was SOOOO spectacular that they decided to smoke all their grains from henceforth.

Rauch (smokey) bier had arrived!

In the inner sacntum

Rauchbier ist gut? Ja?


The Rothenburg specialty?
It's NOT beer

(Snow balls)

Enormous pastry balls dipped in all sorts of delicious things

Here's the original Kathe Wohlfart Christmas store. She has them in many cities all over Germany; but Wurzburg seems to be the "motherhouse". Though it was full of wondrous delights, we confined ourselves to a few small gifts.


A Medieval city Its town walls are completely in tact

A MUSTARD (And ONLY Mustard) Store

Another print I would have liked to own, but settled for a photograph