September 18th, 2013
I am lagging SO hard on these posts, I have 3 cities I still need to write about and I have just arrived to Salzburg, the 4th city. SHEESH. Don’t worry, this post is only about one, I will torture you with the rest soon enough.
Mainz was never a city I necessarily desired to visit- most likely because I had never heard of it- but I am very glad I had the pleasure of going. When Joey and I were planning our trip around Europe, we wanted to not only save a bit of money on hostels, but also visit some very good friends that Joey had made a few years ago when he lived in Berlin the first time.
Our first “friend of Joey” stop we made was in Mainz. We left Cologne on a ferry/boat tour. After looking at travel options online, this seemed like a pretty cool option since it went from Cologne to Mainz, stopping at different Rhineland cities for their Hop on/Hop off tours for only 30€ which obviously included gorgeous views from the River. We got up early, grabbed a coffee and walked to the cruise ship in the crappiest weather I had had so far on the trip (at the time I was not aware that this was going to be the weather for the remainder of my trip… buggar!) Once we got to the dock, we went to the kiosk to ensure that the tour does, in fact, go all the way to Mainz. Well, we got a big fat german NO. That particular day the schedule was a bit different and stopped a few cities short of Mainz. This was frustrating because we had asked the woman the day previously, while buying our tickets, if we could take it to Mainz in the morning. Since we couldn’t get a refund, we decided to just take it anyway and enjoy the view and hopefully find a train that would get us the rest of the way.
We boarded the ship and quickly realized this was a very family-oriented, higher class type of affair. All the people around us were in groups of 6 or more and were almost solely above the age of 35 (excluding the couple next to us who were playing what I believed to be the german version of the dice game YAHTZEE, due to their excited and piercing shouts at each other periodically.) Many had strollers occupied by drooling, snotting, graham-cracker-crusted faced children, and at least 2 senior citizens in a group seemed to be the requirement. We got numerous looks of disapproval; this may be due to our tattooed lifestyle or the fact that we were the only ones with backpacker-sized luggage, but it was most likely a combination of the two.
The ship was three stories high, very long, containing a middle section with an open restaurant with tables made for up to 6 people. It played a wretched radio station that was most likely pre-recorded, and this pre-recording was most likely off an American radio station via 2004. Also, as if that wasn’t torture enough, it was on repeat mode. If I never hear another Train, Dido or Kelly Clarkson song again, I will die happy!
Since there were no actual seats and only the big tables, we sat down at the table in the further-most corner and used our luggage to stand in as the remainder of our “party” to make the space feel more used. As usual, I was tired so I put my forehead on my hands and slept while sitting up in a chair for the first part of the ride (because there was no other way to nap unless I rudely laid down on the floor of this vessel like a common psychopath.) I read and listened to some nostalgic music on my ipod while looking out the window when I was awake. The large windows were great for viewing the countryside and beauty of the Rhineland cities that adorned each side. We each had a beer and ordered some very tasty native-German food (it has been too long to remember exactly what it was, but I believe it was some sort of baked potato and sausage meal? SO FANCY.) I went to the rooftop despite the rain to see the sights and did not stay long since I got wet and cold. However, it was quite beautiful and well worth the time spent up there. Here are my shit-quality photographs that I tried to take while on this little journey:
Once we were forced off the cruise ship in No-Name, Germany, we began walking towards what we believed would be an area people would utilize a train. Well, this little town was absolutely adorable, and it was quite pleasant walking through this darling little spot although we had our bags with us. At one point, walking down the cobblestone street, while looking up onto the greenest mountainside I had seen in Germany so far, I pictured my dad riding his harley down that very road. I hope someday he decides to take a trip to Germany and feel what I felt in what he calls the “Homeland.” (PS… dad, its SOOOO Randy time!)
We found the train station and bought tickets to Mainz. The train ride was gorgeous, making its way through tiny little German towns with character you would never find anywhere else. I was at peace. I was truly feeling the most overwhelming contentment I had ever felt. I was seeing the world. I know I will have so many more of these slow-motion moments, and I cannot wait.
We arrived in Mainz and took a bus to a stop around the corner from Joey’s buddy, Chris’ flat. He met us at the bus stop with three cold beers in hand. I thought to myself, ROCK ON, THIS IS GOING TO BE A GOOD STAY.
And boy, was I right. The first evening we just sat on the balcony and Joey and Chris caught up, while I got to know Chris, his roommate Mustafa and his friend Andrew. We grabbed a case of beers from the local store and went back to the flat balcony and had a warm little setting with the rain falling behind us over candle light. It was so wonderfully relaxing. It was the first time I felt like a local in a foreign country!
The next day Chris had school so Joey and I got up and walked around the old town and saw some beautiful buildings. I found an amazing fountain that I wanted to swim in, but I refrained in fear of getting arrested…
We sat and had some coffee as well as an ice cream cone each and waited for Chris to meet up with us. The three of us then walked through more of the old town and inside one of the largest churches, which seems to be a common sight in every city I go to in Europe. We then head towards the Rhine river after picking up a few road sodas, and sat on a rock and watched the Swans swim around. One of them decided they did not appreciate us drinking alcoholic beverages near their river so he prepared for battle and began puffing up and yelling in Swan-language at us angrily. We abruptly fled the scene, because those suckers are MEAN!
On our way back we found a cigar shop and purchased some classy smokes; one from the Dominican Republic, one from Honduras and the last from where else but Cuba! I had no idea what we were buying because the boys were negotiating with the saleswoman in German, but I trusted their judgement. Since Chris was so kind as to let us stay at his place for a few days Joey and I also purchased two bottles of very nice Scotch whiskey as a thank you.
Our little trio stopped by the grocery store on the way home and picked up some ingredients for Chris to make his famous Carne-Verde Chili. I contributed to the cookout by chopping some stuff and secretly eating little pieces of garlic (stinky, I know, but I can’t help myself.) I even stirred meat and other ingredients on the stove, mama bird would be so proud. The end result was INCREDIBLE!!!
Following our feast of homemade chili, we thought it was a good idea to head to the Roman-style bath house. Since it did not work out for JoJo and I the last time in Cologne, we were determined. I was a tiny bit apprehensive since it was co-ed and I was the only girl in the group going, AND we just ate a feast of heavy food (ladies, you know what I mean, right?!) But I decided to keep my cool and not be a debbie-downer and we headed out. Chris, Mustafa, Joey and I got to the bath house and it was like heaven on earth! There were numerous saunas of all different temperatures, a cold outdoor pool to take a dip in afterwards, as well as steam rooms, foot bathes, and a large hot tub/bath. Bathing suits are required for the large hot tub, but they are not allowed in the saunas and steam rooms. So basically, everyone is walking around in their birthday suits. For some reason, old, wrinkly, fat men love these places. That, was not my favorite part, obviously, but the entire experience was relaxing and very much needed. There is no feeling quite like that of jumping in the cold pool right after an intense 10 minutes in a hot rock sauna, in the middle of the pouring rain. Euphoric. I felt so European and free! WHOO, that
s it, I have decided I am starting a boobie-shaking, nudist and streaker revolution in the states! Bring your green hats!
After our awesome evening activity, we sat outside on the balcony again, lit more candles, and then lit up our cigars. The group decided we needed some jams so the choice ended up being Jazz, to keep it classy. We shared one of the bottles of scotch and Chris had two other friends join in on our Ron Burgundy-esque night.
After feeling like general badasses, the group and I decided we needed to end our classy night with a trip to the strip club. It was a discussion that had been going on all day, and I am sort of a tom boy and don’t mind tagging along on these kinds of nightcaps, so we made our way downtown called to one called Moulin Rouge… how original.
Once we arrived (discount flyers in hand) there were about 5 hookers standing outside the establishment. This seemed quite odd to us so we asked if there were any dancers that night, and were promptly informed that Moulin Rouge was a whorehouse, not a strip club. Eeeek. Needless to say, we made our exit.
We were still determined at this point so in the wee hours of the morning we thought it was a good idea to go to the nearby town of Frankfurt, where there is a well-known red light district.
Although I was enjoying my time with these people, laughing a lot and having a genuinely jolly time, it was NOT the most thought-out choice any of us have ever made. We walked around for about a half hour stopping in every strip club we saw, noticing that everything was completely dead and crazy expensive. Whatever happened to good ol’ fashion strippers like back in the Motley Crue videos?!?! But, considering it was a rainy Monday night, we should not have been surprised. After grabbing some food we hopped on the train back to Mainz.
I watched the sun come up from the window of the train, and almost fell asleep, but I kept myself up until we got there.
The next day we slept in to make up the time we lost the night before and watched many episodes of How I Met Your Mother. The boys wanted to go back to the bath house, so I stayed behind and enjoyed a bottle of wine and some quiet time alone.
The next “morning” (we slept in again) Chris and Jo made homemade Crepes! It was delicious and I felt like a chubby little spoiled princess! At this point, we went to the train station and started our journey to Nuremberg to visit Joey’s OTHER friend named Chris!