Wednesday, June 11, 2008

The final week!

We are getting close to our return date and so have been very busy with packing up the apartment, getting rid of lots of stuff, doing some last-minute tourism and saying goodbye to friends here. A few things we've done in the last week:

The Roman Ship museum in Mainz. In the foreground are some of the 1700-year-old bits of ship they found in the Rhine River. In the background is a model of what the ship would have looked like. Really, who needs more? I'll admit that I didn't, but we also heard second-hand about someone for whom this museum was the high point of their trip to Germany. We don't want our blog reader(s) to feel left out. On the day we rented a van to return borrowed furniture we had some extra time so went to Bad Muenster and had a really nice couple of hours there. The Nahe River is there, and we saw this swan, ducks, a cormorant, and a heron carrying an eel. The area is beautiful. Today we went briefly to the Garden Show at Bingen. I'd underestimated it -it lasts for six months and has amazing plants as well as infrastructure built especially for it, like this playground, a skateboard park, and bridges. This is one of the things Abby is going to miss most about her school - the pottery workshop. We get to figure out how to pack the pottery for the trip home! (This isn't all hers!)

Friday, June 6, 2008


Unrelated to the title of the post, but worth noting that as I blog this evening the European Championship of soccer/football is underway, with Germany having just defeated Poland (I'll avoid the obvious jokes here) 2-0. Horns are honking, people are yelling, there is huge excitement. On cars and balconies all around are the flags of many countries, supporting the home team (we live in the central part of the city, which is pretty multicultural, or multi-culti as the Germans say).

But on to Trier, the oldest city in Germany. We went mainly to see the Roman ruins, including the Porta Nigra, which is the largest and best-preserved city gate from the Roman Empire.
We also saw some of the Roman baths - the most fun part of that were the tunnels under and around the old baths - and a Roman amphitheater. One of the museums has wonderful old mosaics and other relics of Rome, including this stone carving of a wine ship that adorned the tomb of a wine merchant who lived on the Mosel River around AD 220.
Trier also has a wonderful old market square, which has been in use since the 10th century.
Street performers are pretty common, but this one was particularly good - his costume actually included a working fountain.

Unfurnishing the flat

All that furniture collected back in December? It's got to go now! And we're learning why there's so much furniture on the streets - it's hard to get rid of! So far we've tried the classifieds (sold the washing machine), Ebay (sold the bed and the shoe cabinet) and a garage sale (sold one wardrobe, the television, and some other stuff, but not a lot). On Monday we're returning stuff generously loaned by our friends and on Tuesday a charity is coming to see what they want, followed by a used furniture dealer. Then, what's left, we'll put on the street like everyone else does! We've actually already made an appointment with the city agency that takes care of big garbage pickups.

Our vacuum cleaner broke a while back and we weren't going to replace it, but then one of our neighbors who was moving out put one on the curb and I snatched it up. Felt like manna from heaven. It sure will make the final cleaning easier.

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Going to the Chapel . . . .

Actually, they were going to St. Stephan Catholic church in Mainz with beautiful stained glass by Marc Chagall (wasn't he Jewish?). The bride is the daughter of an old friend of Wayne's, and we couldn't have been more pleased to be invited to the wedding. Afterwards, of course, there was a reception: the wedding was at 2 and I applied American assumptions about how late it would go. Boy, was I off! After the wedding, we went to the reception site where they had tables laid out with all kinds of delicious cakes.
While we enjoyed cake and snacks, friends of the bride and groom asked guests to make up gift certificates for the happy couple and to write down their wishes for them. (The father of the bride wrote a gift certificate that he would still change her summer tires for winter ones.) That portion of the reception lasted until around 7, when they took a group photo of all the wedding guests and the bride tossed the bouquet. Want to guess who caught it? (We did persuade her to give it to the girlfriend of the brother of the bride!)Then it was inside for the formal dinner. The set up of the tables is different from most American weddings, with the tables in long rows. The table at the left was the head table and there were also a couple of smaller tables off to the side for the kids. The bride and groom welcomed all the guests and then introduced each (over 100 people) with some comment about their relationship to the bride and/or groom.

Between courses formal toasts, skits, songs, etc. were presented by the parents of the bride and the groom and by some of the guests. Unfortunately, we only made it to just past the main course (about 10:30), when Abby, who'd had a sleepover at school the previous night, was falling into her food. Wayne stayed until about midnight, when the dancing started and the last public bus for Wiesbaden left.