Running, biking, ferries, trains, oh my!
We awoke to sunny skies around 5am. Gotta love jet lag. Luckily, the girls were quite the opposite. They slept for nearly 13 hours! We finally woke them up around 10am. It was relaxing hanging out around the home for a few hours before beginning our day. We enjoyed their fancy Saeco coffee machine and some yogurt and muesli.
The house in Dornheim:
The kids are especially drawn to the friendly fish:
After the kids awoke happy and ready to go, we headed to the nearby Dornheim bakery for delicious pastries. My almond/marzipan creation was still warm so delectable! Four fancy pastries cost around $5. After grabbing a few German snacks and beverages from the nearby store, we took the train to the town of Mainz.
Mainz was bigger than I expected with a lovely old cathedral and lots of shopping. DD#2 was most impressed with her special blue slushee drink that turned her tongue blue. It was a hot day! We enjoyed stopping for bratwurst and beers while we wandered the town. Mainz is situated along the Rhine River.
My step-sister (I'll call her C) picked us up at a nearby train station and took us back to Dornheim so I could get ready for a a 5K run in Groß-Gerau beginning at 7pm. It was nearly 90 degrees and running after my beer/brat lunch seemed a bit crazy. After seeing nearly 1,200 eager Germans ready to run, I became pretty excited! I ended up placing first in the 40+ women division and averaged 7:22 per mile. That is not my normal pace! I was pretty surprised. There were no kilometer markings along the way so I really didn’t know how much further I had to run. I ran on a team representing C's boyfriend’s (I’ll call him R) work team.
The kids had fun playing at a playground during the race.
After the run, I had a bunch of water and refreshing free beer. First time I’ve seen a bunch of runners drinking beer right after a race! We then ordered döner kebab from a nearby place. It was our first time enjoying this huge massive speciality that is found all over Germany. So messy but delicious!
Day 4 - 4th of July!
We all slept in until nearly 9am. We all needed it! We couldn’t help but return to the bakery for breakfast. Yummy! We were eager to bike to the nearby village of Oppenheim. C & R had arranged to borrow kid bikes from the neighbor. After making some adjustments on the kid bikes, we headed off. The kid bikes were bigger than our daughters were accustomed and they had hand brakes (they are used to coaster brakes). After the first few kilometers, we found our groove and headed through the wheat fields to Oppenheim.
We had to take a ferry across the Rhine to get to the town. Kind of fun! On our ride back, a newly married couple was aboard. Everyone honked and the ferry spun a circle right in the middle of the river in honor of the couple. Neat!
Oppenheim was nearly 10 miles away by bike. We were tired and had to get ice cream and beer on the main square. A nice chance to catch our breath and take in the city.
We walked to the large church that dominated the town. The stained glass was beautiful! We were most intrigued by the bone chapel behind the church. Around 20,000 bodies are stacked meticulously on display. Creepy but fascinating.
Lastly, we climbed around 170 steps to the top of the church tower. We were the only ones up there! Fantastic views of Oppenheim and a ruined castle.
On the ride back, we spotted deer, neat black and white birds, and bunnies. We stopped at a swimming lake for a quick dip. We were so fortunate to have R guiding us today. He took the day off to show us around. He is a volunteer lifeguard at the lake and helped us navigate on some narrow trails to access the lake.
We biked about 20 miles today. Wow! We were very impressed with the girls. They needed a few water stops but they were troopers and seemed to have a great time.
We arrived back at Dornheim in time for a special 4th of July BBQ and World Cup soccer viewing. The streets of Germany were quiet as everyone was inside watching the big game against France. Germany won 1-0.
C & R had four friends join us for dinner. We had delicious salads and meats (and beer) for dinner. My step-brother gave me a great bier stein to take home. I enjoyed drinking from it on the 4th of July. We stayed up visiting until after midnight. The kids loved doing gymnastics in the yard and DD#1 managed herself very well after being stung by a bee. We look forward to visiting Dornheim again!