We slept in Mainz last night. Mainz is an ancient city originally built as a Roman fort. The Gutenberg Press was invented here in the 1450’s. Most of the buildings were destroyed during WWII, but a few medieval half-timbered houses remain.
About half an hour by train south of Mainz is where my ancestor Everhart Hafer was born in 1792, Darmstadt. Darmstadt suffered severe damage during the war as well.
Founded in 1330 by The Holy Roman Emperor Ludwig the Bavarian it used to be the capital of the country the Grand Duchy of Hesse until 1871.
Supposedly one of the richest cities in Europe, but when we got out of the train station we noticed quite a bit of grafitti, gypsies camping out in a local park, it looked worn out.
As we explored more the scenery changed. We spied some vegan and vegetarian stores, maybe I have something in common with my forefathers. Ancient ruins that fascinated us were only part of life here in Darmstadt. We were captivated by the grafittied skate park sharing space with an old castle wall, they’d sprayed it with grafitti, too.
We saw some pretty elaborate statues and structures, including Darmstadt Castle.
Walking through the Herngarten towards Prinz-George-Garten a wedding party hurried past us. Gruff looking men drinking beer were playing crouquet. It started to drizzle while we explored the formal gardens, or I think we might have found a bench and rested awhile, our feet were sore.
Frankenstein Castle, probably Mary Shelly’s muse was only a tram car ride away, but our hotel was in the opposite direction. Being Sunday we weren’t sure how often the trains ran and the weather was iffy, so we decided on Frankfurt. Our hotel is on Frankensteiner Street, though.