I got up around 6:30 and went down to the Pear Tree’s continental breakfast. It was decent all things considered. I had a couple biscuits, some sausage patties, and scrambled eggs. I went back down later to get Shannon a cream cheese bagle and some sausage patties because she was busy preparing to leave.

We checked out around 10:50, then boarded the hotel’s airport shuttle at 11. Apparently the shuttle will be available to pick us back up from the airport when we return on 6/16. We checked in at the United counter and turned over our checked luggage, both of which were below the 50 pound weight limit.

Some other members of our Luther Tours group were checking in at the same time, and we ended up sitting by them over at the gate as well, and chatting a bit. Nice folks from St. Joseph.

Other tour members showed up bit by bit, including LCMS Missouri District President Pr. Lee Hagen and his wife, the tour’s hosts. The first flight from St. Louis to Chicago was quick and uneventful. The second flight from Chicago to Frankfurt was brutal. We were in a 787, and the seats are only 17.3 inches wide. Also, during an 8 hour flight, your legs fill up with blood. A tip we should remember is to take compression socks for a long flight. Halfway through it felt like pure torture.

When we got to Frankfurt, we were happy to deboard the plane. Then we had to walk for ages within the airport to get to the customs. They pretty much waived me right through, but Shannon got interrogated for a bit. After that we reclaimed our bags, then went out of the baggage area towards the exit and encountered the rest of our group that had gone on ahead in the airport, as well as our tour guide for the week, Thomas.

We then took another quite extensive walk out to the bus, loaded up our luggage, and made for Mainz. Our first destination in Mainz was St. Stephan’s church. It was smaller compared to the next few we viewed, but very nice. Still a basilica-style building. We had to walk to it from the bus for probably 8-10 minutes. This would become a theme for the rest of the trip. The bus can only get so close to the old centers of cities built long before the development of the automobile.

After returning to the bus, we drove down to the Mainz market place, which we had to walk to, and then went on a tour of the Gutenberg museum. We had an hour long tour given by one of the museum docents who is also apparently a police officer. This tour was interesting, but would’ve been much better if we had not been awake for 24 straight hours by the point.

After the Gutenberg Museum tour, Shannon bought some post cards in the gift shop, and then the group took a break in the market plaza for lunch. We were trend setters by going off this way on our own before anyone gave permission. Actually now that I think about it, lunch was before the museum trip. We got fried cod fish with potato salad. The potato salad had ham in it, but not much. The fish was good, the potato salad was OK. It cost us 15 EUR.

After the museum, we walked over to the Mainz Dom cathedral, which was probably the most impressive of the cathedrals we have seen so far on the trip. Both St. Stephan’s and The Mainz Dom are Catholic churches. Evidently they’re lucky to get 30-40 people in attendance for services on any given Sunday.

As I understood it from our tour guide, the churches here are supported by taxes, and anyone who is a member of a church has to pay an 8% income tax in support of the church. This is apparently part of the reason why people don’t attend church much, not wanting to pay the tax to support the church, which is required by law.

Finally we walked from the Mainz Dom to the hotel, passing along the Rhine river. The Rhine is flooded right now, which prevented us from taking the Rhine River Cruise on Day 2. After checking into the hotel around 4:30, I took a shower and we went down to the group dinner at 6 at the hotel restaurant. They had buffet style food for us. I had a sour lemonade to drink which was good. On the buffet, I had some stuffed beef, roasted potatoes, salmon, and shrimp. I also had some bread with pesto, and for dessert a piece of lemon pie and tiramisu. The potatoes were nothing special but the rest of it, especially the beef, was very good.

We retired to the room and were asleep by probably 8 PM, maybe earlier, after having been awake for 36 or so hours.