Trip Start Feb 26, 2009
Trip End Mar 13, 2009

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Flag of Germany  , Rhineland-Palatinate,
Tuesday, March 3, 2009

   After another wonderfully Nutella-filled breakfast at noon, Claudia and I hit the road towards Mainz, a city just outside of Frankfurt.  We got on the Autobahn and drove towards Mainz.  The Autobahn is great because for the majority of the way, there is no speed limit.  We would riding along at 180 km and some Audi would rip past us like we were standing still!  However, the Germans do know how to drive - i.e. you cannot pass on the right, all the trucks have to travel at a speed limit, and you get over if you are not the fastest.  Intelligent . . . The Autobahn goes through small farms, thick forests, and the middle of nowhere.  There were fields of huge windmills that looked like something from War of the Worlds, and of course the clouds.  It was very overcast with some rain and it stayed that way for most of the day.  We got to Frankfurt around four in the afternoon, and continued around the city towards Mainz.  Thankfully the skies began to clear!
   We arrived at the University at Mainz right around five, and met Claudia's good friend Carina at her office at the University - pharmaceutical medicine is big at Mainz and she works in that field doing research.  She finished up with work and we headed back to her apartment to get ready for our night!  Again, the architecture is wonderful and there is a very old feel to the city.  Although 80% of the city center was destroyed during World War II, many of the buildings maintain an "old world" air.  We headed out on a mini-walking tour of parts of the city on the way to the restaurant - Carina gave bits of history and information as we walked along, so it was a great mini-tour.  We passed the Mainz Dom (Cathedral), which was consecrated in 911, making it over 1,000 years old!    We finally arrived at our dinner spot - Heliggeist (Holy Ghost).  It is a restaurant inside of an old church, which was originally built in 1236 as a hospital church.  Claudia remarked that this is the perfect use for a church - serving food and beer.  I completely agree with her!  I'm surprised the earth didn't shake when I entered, but then again it is no longer a church, so I guess I am safe.  We ordered some beer - which come in wonderfully full half liter glasses - and enjoyed the setting.  It was beautiful inside and it was packed!  The beer was delicious and the food was even better!  Claudia got a pizza, Carina has the schweineschnitzel or "Schnitzel Art" and I had the Maispoularde - the grilled chicken with cabbage.  VERY TASTY.  At the recommendation of Carina, I checked out the bathroom.  Sounds funny, but it was cool - birds chirping and beautiful architecture. 
   After dinner we walked to the Rhine and walked along it for awhile, letting dinner settle a bit!  After the walk we stopped by a local bar and had a Caipirinha and chatted some more.  We walked home and I tried the dark beer mixed with cola (which was pretty tasty) and by then it was late and time for sleep!
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