My trip to Germany began on a Tuesday evening when I boarded a plan from DTW and flew to FRA - Frankfurt Airport in Germany. Germany is 6 hours ahead of us, so when we arrived at 7:15 a.m. local time, it was 1:15 a.m. in Detroit. I tried to sleep on the plane but I must have been giddy knowing I would be in Europe very soon! You see, this Germany trip has been "in the works" for some time. My husband and I talked about Rachel and I tagging along on one of his business trips last summer when she was 6 months old, and that date got pushed back to the fall, then he went on a few shorter trips without us and and finally this spring I was able to come with him. It was somewhat last minute, and I didn't want to get my hopes up in case I wasn't able to go, so I didn't talk about it much, I didn't do a lot of research on where I would be going. I just sat tight until it was official-which was about a week before we left.
First of all, I love flying. I love the IFE - In Flight Entertainment - movies and games on international flights, I love the food and snacks and beverages you get, I even love the bathroom, unless it smells funky. I wasn't so sure about loving a 10 hour flight, but it wasn't 10 hours, it was 8 and a half. My husband and I sat next to each other which is always nice. I watched two movies on the way there and enjoyed my chicken dinner. We even had a breakfast snack an hour and a half before landing.
I spent a little time in the airport at Frankfurt with my husband while we waited for his co-worker to come on another flight from Atlanta. We simply hung out and my patience was wearing thin because I was ready to check out this new continent. I used the bathroom and it had a stink of pit toilets at National Parks, so my first initial impression of Germany was not a good one. The co-worker arrived late, we all purchased train tickets and stored our luggage at the airport and our day began. We hopped on the train to Rüsselsheim. My husband went off to work and I stayed on the train, traveling 15 minutes further to a city called Mainz.
I will admit, I was a little scared. I was in a country without a cell phone, without knowing any German language (not even how to say, "Hello") and I was alone. I exited the train and began following the people to the exit. I realized earlier "exit" in German is "Ausgang" which actually translates to "output." This one word, and two others I will reference later, were very helpful on my trip.
The weekend before I left, I checked out a few books at the library and did some quick research on what I could do in these cities my husband said I would be near/visiting with him. I knew in Mainz there was a Church called Dom and the Gutenberg Museum. Being a Graphic Designer, I was very excited about this museum! Those were my two goals, and I really wasn't worried or concerned about achieving either of them. I was just so happy to be in Germany and still in awe I was able to accompany my husband on this trip!
Once I made it outside of the train station onto the city square, I headed to the first hotel I saw - Hotel Hammer - and asked for a map. I was told the Cathedral was very easy to get to, just a 15 minute walk, and was on my way. I was very conscious of checking my map at regular intervals to be sure I was on the correct street. Navigation wasn't easy because not all streets were named and I was very unfamiliar with the name of the streets or how to pronounce them. Things aren't in a nice grid pattern like I am used to. Plus, I was trying to keep my map hidden, because I didn't want to stand out as a tourist, although my husband tells me that all the Germans can spot the Americans, I'll disagree with that quickly on this trip.
The day was B E A U T I F U L! The sun was warm and shining and my yoga pants and fleece were all I needed to enjoy the day. I passed some great shops and landmarks, most of which I don't recall or even know what they were because I know no German, but they were different and cool and old. There were cafe's strung out here and there, fountains with people hanging out on the brick paved streets and groups of people walking. Twice I was asked something in German while in Mainz (clearly proving I don't look that American) and I simply said, "English only" and the people nodded and went on their way. I truly felt bad when a person would come up to me, or politely say what I thought was "excuse me" and then begin to talk to me as I stared at them like they had three eyes.
I found the church and I found the museum. But I failed to make it into either one. I was somewhat nervous being there alone, somewhat nervous getting off path and making it back to the train station in time - I had to go from Mainz back to Rüsselsheim to meet my husband and co worker at 3:30pm. I failed to remember to exchange money so I had a wad of US Dollars and a Credit Card with me. As for the church, I wasn't sure where the entrance was or if I could go in. So I took some photos from the outside. And as for the museum, I really had no idea where the entrance was. I did make it into a hands on workshop where a drove of kids were on a field trip and having a great time with the letter presses.
Figuring out the train map I was then back at the train station and on my way to Rüsselsheim to meet my husband and continue or day's journey. One of the first things I told my husband was that I wanted to LIVE in Mainz - just for 2 to 5 years.
And now the photos begin...I have over 1,000 of them and it is very hard to pick and choose which ones to post!
The Mainz Train Station
The City of Mainz
I think this is called the Schillerplatz.
Giant wood type outside of the Gutenberg Workshop.
I still don't know what this building is.
How can you NOT want to live here?
I quickly taught myself if you ever get lost to follow the "rail" in the street. It almost always leads to the train station.
The Dom Cathedral
Ahhh, a familiar site on day 1: The UPS guy was giving those people directions!