Mein Bruder ist ein Hüter

Over the past weekend (10-12 August 2012) I was blessed to be able to fulfill a long cherished dream – to visit Germany!

The HR4DEV program in Belgium afforded me that opportunity – as previously hinted at in an earlier blog post (http://wp.me/p2ovkd-2a). My good friend Ansgar from Mainz (Germany) was kind enough to avail himself of this proximity to extend a warm welcome to his homeland. I had been promising for the last seven years to visit him on his native soil – but alas it never was until now. He drove down to Antwerp on Thursday and spent time with me and the rest of the HR4DEV participants at our Intercontinental Party.

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Friday after classes we hit the road crossing borders as we went. Our journey was enriched by two teenage girls making use of a ride sharing service (www.mitfahrgelegenheit.de) in which Ansgar participates. After dropping the girls in Wiesbaden we then made our way to our final destination – Mainz. We ended off the evening with dinner in the Goldstein before turning in for some R&R at Ansgar’s home set in rural Bärstadt.

Waking to the morning all bright-eyed and bushy-tailed

Waking up in a village greeting the morning sun and the rolling hills inspired me to want to belt out “the hills are alive …” – harkening to the The Sound of Music soundtrack. After a home-brewed coffee we headed to Mainz and made a relaxing day of the Marktplatz which is a bustling market place every Saturday morning. We managed to pick up some bread for the braai planned for the evening and some local plums.

Market place mania

We also visited the Roman ruins at the Taberna, the town cathedral called the Dom and the Mainzer Rathaus. A refreshing smoothy from Saftladen, and a currywurst at Best Worscht in Town provided for welcome sustenance after all that walking.

Mainzer Rathaus

Just after lunch we made our way to Niestein to visit Ansgar’s mommy and grammy for some apple tart and an iced-coffee. It was super seeing his childhood home. We then set out for Oppenheim, where we visited the Sankt Katharinenkirche with the Gebeinshaus.

The bone house of relics at Sankt Katharinenkirche

After a short visit to the Strandbad to see the Rhein close up we returned via Mainz to collect Marina (Ansgar’s girlfriend) from the station – whew what a day!

In Bärstadt that evening we had a cozy braai where we were joined by Ansgar’s cousin and his wife. What an entertaining night to round off an all round gorgeous day.

Mainz Cathedral or St Martin’s Cathedral (Mainzer Dom, Martinsdom or – officially – Der Hohe Dom zu Mainz)

Our Sunday started off with Mass at the Dom followed by breakfast at the Heilig Geist restaurant (just behind the Guttenburg Museum) before departing from the Mainz Hauptbahnhof to catch my train back to Antwerp.

Ansgar and Marina bidding me farewell at the station

Thanks Ansgar for an awesome weekend! Glad to finally have walked in your steps in the place you call home!

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