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Mainz - Fun In The Wine Country
By Therese Bruning
28 September 2010

After 20 hours in the air from Brisbane via Bangkok, our welcome into Frankfurt International Airport was unfortunately a  wet one, with drizzle and clouds, but it was great to finally get on the bus for our 30 minute bus ride to the city of Mainz, situated on the Rhine River and the edge of Germany's largest wine-growing area & commence our exciting journey.
The Hotel Atrium is located about 10 minutes drive from the main city area of Mainz, and due to our rooms not being available so early, it was time for a walk around the small township near the hotel to keep ourselves awake for the big day ahead. The streets were strangely quiet - however it was interesting to see how many of the pretty little houses were decorated for Halloween, a celebration which we were told was relatively new for this part of Germany. A kind local, seeing a group of strangers peering down into his large courtyard covered in pumpkins beckons us in, nattering away in German, then smiling and laughing when we reply, neither one understanding the other. A thank you and a smile sees us on our way to get ready for lunch in town followed by a wine tour.
A 30 minute drive from Mainz found us in the wine country - and our first wine tour and tasting of the trip. We are welcomed by a tractor hitched up to a trailer, and all hop in for a tour of one of the local vineyards - this one containing over 1000 hectares of vines owned by 40 individual winegrowers. The middle of the trailer contained a shelf with holes in which sit our glasses and 3 different bottles of wine for tasting. A group of 11 people, jetlagged, tired, drinking wine, riding around in a bumpy trailer through a vineyard was a sight to see and we all laughed ourselves silly. The best part was when we stopped for a traditional German snack (less than 2 hours after a huge lunch) and were all presented with a paper bag containing 2 bread rolls, mustard, and the biggest sausage anyone had ever seen. A couple of polite bites were managed by most, followed by plenty of photos in case no-one believed us. The tour was a fun way to experience a wine tasting and a great introduction to Mainz and it's surrounding wine country.
Still without sleep, we made it to an enjoyable dinner at Weinhaus Wilhelmi www.weinhaus-wilhelmi.de situated back in the main city area of Mainz. The German restaurants we visited all had a cosy, welcoming feel, and even though it is only our second meal in Germany, we are quickly learning that servings are huge, no matter what you order, and that the Germans certainly enjoy their schnitzel, potato and sausage (wurst) which in some restaurants is sold by the half metre. "Guter Appetit!"

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