Pedestrian bridge over the Rhine
The joy of leaving India behind us was matched by the joy of arriving in Germany. The difference in our mood was immediate. The second we stepped off the plane our spirits lifted and the cleanliness and efficiency of the west was a most welcome tonic. Our path through the airport was easy and it was a joy not to have people shouting at us offering a taxi or trying to grab our bags. It's ironic that apart from in Japan the last six months of travel have never found us having problems with a language barrier. Yet here so close to home we ended up spending the best part of ten minutes trying to buy a train ticket from the machine because we didn't understand German and the English option on the machine only translated some of the process.
The train was another fantastic reminder of the efficiency we have missed.
It was clean, fast and got us where we wanted to go bang on time. We had read in the guidebook that the area around our hotel was in their words a bit 'grotty' but as we walked out into the cleanest place we've been for months we couldn't help but laugh. We had to check our instinct to cross the road away from the taxi rank and as we passed by the row of drivers busy reading their papers we tensed for the hassle which of course never came. Fantastic. We found our Hotel which is called Hotel Europa and it was awesome. Spotlessly clean, white sheets that were actually white, a huge soft mattress which we sank into and the fluffiest duvet cover. It was hard to imagine being more content.
We dumped our bags down and decided to get a few things done. Unfortunately we only had one night in Frankfurt so we couldn't afford any downtime.
We headed back to the station and found the tourist info office and got the sort of friendly reception we'd only had in Malaysia and Singapore previously on this trip. We got the same treatment at the station ticket office and booked our tickets to Munich
which thanks to the advice of the staff were less than half the price we were expecting. After that we headed for a stroll around Frankfurt which having read the brief entry in the guidebook we hadn't really expected all that much from. As we walked though we lamented just having the one night here as there was a really nice atmosphere about the place. As we strolled across a bridge over the river we noticed several open air bars with lots of people enjoying a drink and lazing around on the grass after work.
The open-air bar along the river
The guy in the tourist info had told us that the true local drink here is not as we had imagined beer but Apple Wine so we figured the old when in Rome addage applied and with German springing from the deepest recesses of Adam's one year of learning it aged 11 at school we managed to end up with two small glasses in our hands. What we didn't realise is that in Germany every bottle whether it's plastic or glass and all such containers to be taken outdoors have a deposit on them. We had wondered what was going on when everyone was so good at taking their bottles and glasses back to the bar. It made the drinks seem really expensive as the deposit was more than the drink!!!
We had a great time chilling out by the river and it was amusing to realise that having been stared at constantly in India just for being white and the assumption that we were therefore rich, what little attention we were now drawing was because our handwashed, colour run and battered clothes made us look so poor.
Us and our Applewein along the river
It was a great feeling and very amusing.
The apple wine, although small, brought our tiredness out and the long day of travel caught up with us. We headed back to the hotel picking up a bite to eat on the way and slumped into bed no longer able to evn speak and slept like logs in our ultra comfy bed. The hotel came with a free breakfast and we took full advantage the next morning. Adam fulfilled his cheese cravings with several trips up to the buffet and whilst Steph is not that much of a bread fan (and doesn't eat cheese), the endless coffee refills did their trick. Full as butcher's dogs we headed back up to the room to get pack up and head off to Munich.