And Gutenberg Lived Here: Buoy Bells And Ancient Manuscripts

Yesterday was a special day for Harald and I.

So we chucked everything,

took a day off,

and went to one of our favorite places:


Alta Villa.

Right on the water,

the city of roses,

and where Gutenberg “retired.”

Ie, toward the end of his life,

he was broke.

As he always was,


he was more than a bit of a pirate type,


he had lost his press,

the printing press he invented,

numerous times,

(in those days, printing was the black art-

ie the holy word not written by monks)

had to flee several times:


due to a plague epidemic that shut down the city,

loading  everything on a wagon

and sneaking out in the middle of the night,

to hide out in the south.

And spread the black art there-

from whence it spread-




all over the continent.

But it was still the black art.

And since there was no patent office in those days,

and you had to rely on the bonhomie,

and hopefully Protestantism,

of local princes,

he ended up,

at the end of his life,

more or less without a sous,

and was, politically correct for those times,

fobbed off

with a small yearly pension

for life,

and a spot in a cloister.

In Eltville.



about eleven am,

the wind howled,

the gorgeous fall leaves swirled,

the boats and barges plied their trade,

carrying coal and passengers up the river,

the teachers,

on fall holiday,

or oldies,

enjoying a short couple of days vacation

in the golden sunshine,

all wandered through the world-famous castle rose gardens,

visited the fantastic church,

and the tower of saint Florian,

patron saint of fires.

(I wonder if he does firewalls)

before gathering

in the only spot apparently open that day,

a marvelous pier cafe,

the 511,

in a beautiful old building that looks like a small church,

that has been in the same family hands for eleven generations.

And the youngest,

looking about twenty,

were doing a marvelous job of it.

Hot grog and black coffee in all forms,

and waterfront specialties-

it is mussel season here,

and masses of pumpkin specialties-

from soup to casseroles.

Live with the season,

fare well,

is the local motto here.

Which we definitely did yesterday,

spending several hours wandering the Rhine paths,

prompted by the timelessness of it all,

and the stillness of the gently splashing water,

and car-lessness,


sudden lack of cares and problems.

We strode as Gutenberg must have,

and the monks he lived with,

enjoying every minute of our timelessness day,

thinking of the many blessings we have

and how good it is that we are both healthy

and together.

And that this is a moment I will definitely fold and put away in my memory box.


copyright 2016

4 thoughts on “And Gutenberg Lived Here: Buoy Bells And Ancient Manuscripts

  1. thank you, bun. actually, his end still isn’t uhm ended. the plinth they stuck him on- in front of the theatre, so they could find the fiftieth parallel, has been moved about fifteen times in my time here in the town. And now they want to build an absolutely ghastly new entrance to the Gutenberg museum. like a wet paperback book with a bend in the middle. too much reading Dan Brown, I fear.


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