THURSDAY 14 JULY MAINZ TO HEIDELBERG
Our days are starting to get into a routine on the cruise now. After sailing through the night, a guided walking tour starts the day’s activities after breakfast. This time it was through the city of Mainz.
Once again the city was badly damaged during WWII but still with enough surviving to be an interesting place to visit.
The cathedral is a little different, in that it is of the Romanesque style, rather than Gothic.
The main highlight, though, is the Gutenberg Museum. We didn’t know what it was about, but afterwards, we were really pleased to have visited. You see, way back in the 1400s, Mr Gutenberg, using his metallurgy skills, developed a method of printing using metal letters. He was, in fact, the inventor of modern printing. We were given a little demonstration of how the printing press worked, but no photos were allowed in the main part of the museum.
Prior to his invention, it would take a scribe two and a half years to write out a bible. With his invention, Gutenberg printed 180 bibles in three years. He initially used vellum, but after using all the supplies of hides available, had to continue with paper.
If you were wealthy enough to purchase one of his printed bibles, you would have only received a pile of pages with black writing. Then you would have to take them to a scribe of your choice to write the title on each page and some of the text in red, and to do the fancy lettering at the start of each paragraph. Then, you would have to take your pages to a book binder to be bound into two volumes. Therefore, each bible is unique.
The museum holds one complete bible and half a bible. There are only 49 still in existence. They had the two volumes open at the same page. One was only in red, blue an black ink, but the artist’s work was very detailed and fine. The other volume would have been more expensive at the time, as it had much more colour in the lettering and quite a bit of gilding. However, the workmanship was much cruder than the simpler version.
In the afternoon we had a second excursion, this time after an hour’s bus trip we visited Heidelberg Castle, famous for “The Student Prince”. It dominates the skyline of the city.
It is one of Europe’s most famous castles and is, in most part, a ruin, albeit a very picturesque one.
The views are spectacular.
We had a bit of free time before our bus left Heidelberg, so as is becoming the norm, the boys found a cafe to sit and have a beer while the girls checked out the shops.
On board, after dinner, we were entertained by the crew, who put on a show for the passengers. We all wondered what they would do, and they weren’t giving away any clues beforehand. Well, it was wonderful. They had some hilarious skits, one in particular showed us how a waiter should not operate. It had us in stitches. A highlight though, was a traditional Balinese dance performed by one of the girls. It was just beautiful.
Everyone really enjoyed the performances and then started to let their hair down, getting up and having a dance. A lovely English couple on the cruise really enjoyed singing and we had them up singing duets. As the evening progressed and the crowd thinned out, we all ended up having a sing-along. We sang all sorts of songs.
The Aussies even ended up singing “Kookaburra” in rounds, with the fellows and girls singing different parts. I’d never have expected to have done that.
I think the evening was a highlight of the trip.