Tuesday, February 13, 2018


We slept in Monday morning, and so we decided not to venture too terribly far, since everyone was still pretty tired, and it was cold with snow flurries.  Siri recommended the Gutenberg Museum in Mainz.  Since we had studied Johannes Gutenberg in history, listened to a book on CD about him a few years ago on our first trip to visit Nathan, and mention him every time we recite our timeline in memory work ("Gutenberg prints the Bible, 1456"), we were definitely interested in this!

It didn't take that long to get there (thank God for GPA, although it turns out I am really bad at reading the GPS in cities, and I missed several turns, so we took the long way to get there), but it did take a while to find parking, especially for 2 cars.  Bob ended up taking one for the team and parking both cars in a parking garage, while we went in the museum and waited for him on a lovely heated bench.
The museum had an entire half-floor devoted to early manuscripts--not just Bibles, but books about astronomy, nature, anatomy, and all sorts of subjects (the nature books were my favorite--loved those hand-painted plant illustrations!).  There were printed playing cards, miniature books, and also woodcuts that were printed.  We couldn't take any pictures of any of them, unfortunately.

Up another floor was what they call their "treasure vault"--the original manuscripts from Gutenberg himself, including the Bible.  Now we've seen 2 of them, since we saw the one at the National Archives 2 years ago!  There was also a very nice model of the town of Mainz during Gutenberg's time, and it really helped me get oriented.  We could also see that these cool tower things we kept passing as we were missing turns on the way in were actually towers from the old city wall.

There was also a special exhibit about ancient printing in Asian countries--China, Japan, and Korea.  They had several tables and a huge round cabinet of Chinese characters to put into rows to print off of.  Very interesting!

In the middle of our tour, we headed back down to the main floor because one of the workers there had told us they would start their movie in English for us at 1:25.  We had a private showing, and it was very well-done.  We definitely learned more seeing it in English than we would have in German!
At 2:00 we went down to the basement, where they had a working model of Gutenberg's printing press in an area set up like his workshop.  The same man who told us he would start the movie in English for us gave a presentation (in German) on the printing process, demonstrating the steps.  I was glad we already knew what was going on from other field trips and books.  One goal of the tip for me was to have Anna listen to more spoken German, so this definitely qualified!  She did understand some words.  He did answer some questions at the end for us in English.  Everyone there was very friendly and helpful, so it was a really nice experience!
Afterwards, we walked towards the beautiful Mainz cathedral.  It turns out it was built 1000 years ago, and it is a Catholic church named after St. Martin.  We walked around it, trying to find the door.  We saw several doors, but none seemed to be the right one, so we kept on circling.  Eventually we found a sign basically saying that the door was the one on the other plaza side, where we had been before.  Oops!  We headed back around, found the right door, and went inside.  It was so beautiful and stunning inside!  All sorts of intricate carvings and details, and it was just massively huge.  It went on forever in all directions!
These are buildings around the plaza with the church.  I love German buildings!
They have so many neat architectural and artistic details on them.
Afterward, we made our way back to our cars in the parking garage, where we had a picnic lunch.  I had brought some of the (illegal) lunch meat and cheese in our cooler lunch box, along with tortillas, so I rolled up a tortilla for everyone.  We got many curious stares as we ate, lol.  It was definitely too cold to eat anywhere outside!
We drove back to the C's house (after yet another time where I ended up in the wrong lane and so missed the bridge out of the city, over the Rhein River, and had to turn around later . . .), and I was very relieved when we arrived back there with no further incidents!  Whew!  One day of sight-seeing down!

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