Saturday 27 May 2017

The Main thing

Yesterday we discovered that the name of the town Mainz, which we were visiting, has nothing to do with the name of the River Main, onto which we have now come. The river’s name originates with the Romans calling it the “Minor” Rhine. We drifted up it through the night and tied up at breakfast time in Miltenberg – "the Pearl".

The usual castle stands guard over this mediaeval town.

The other reason for the survival of its delightful buildings would probably be that not a lot happens here! At the far end from the castle stands an imposing gatehouse, marking the beginning of the main street.

Last night after dinner the on-board pianist allowed me to play a couple of numbers on the ship’s Yamaha electronic grand piano. But it was a big disappointment – some of the keyboard contacts were faulty and the action had deteriorated, and I’d be playing a soft, expressive section when suddenly one of the notes would boom out loud. So when, this morning, we found a music shop few yards down the main street, a visit seemed in order to make up for the experience.

We chatted for a while with the owner Harald, who also runs a studio and a music production company, and that was good fun. I think he enjoyed it too, even though I didn’t actually buy any of the wares on offer in the shop.

The buildings here benefit from showing very little sign of an overall town plan. Walking down the main street you encounter various churches and squares,

and a somewhat higgledy-piggledy collection of edifices which rather reminded us of Nantwich and Chester, only coloured ochre rather than black and white.

There was time to enjoy it all before strolling back to the ship for lunch as we untied and continued up-river towards Wertheim.

In some senses, Wertheim was more of the same.

However, it was less linear and more haphazard. It also had a very steep walk up to the obligatory castle, which has watched over the confluence of the Main and the Tauber since the 12th century.

Of all the castles we've seen in our few days so far, this was the first we walked up to. Even at 5 p.m. it was hot!

The view from the top was spectacular, and showed why this spot had been chosen.

The walls gave evidence of the purpose for which they had been constructed.

We found that the castle was today the venue for a rock concert, and the top was throbbing, both with the beat and with all the people who'd come for it (carefully avoided in the photos I've chosen!). We found a bench with, bizarrely, a German version of the story of Percival, one of King Arthur's knights, written on the top. Three lads attending the concert were sitting on it, so we asked them to move a bit so we could read it. That led to us having a great chat with Roman, from Ukraine, and his two friends. Annoyingly, I didn't think about getting a photo of them until after we'd left. But they were part of a very enjoyable day.


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