Monday, January 6, 2014

Frankfurt Fun

Well like I predicted in my last post the week flew by and here I am ..... sitting in my house, puppy curled up sleeping, kids and Allan bundled up and off to school on a frosty -3 degree morning.....

5 years of saving
1 year of planning
1 month of travel

Done.

There is no way to even begin to write a wrap up post....at least not yet.....not while jet lagged and still trying to wrap my thinking around all that we saw and did and experienced.

I am going to give myself time to let some of that percolate, get some perspective, some sleep.......

I can say I feel very content and at peace this morning.  We were blessed beyond our wildest hopes with safety (despite a couple "incidents" and one theft), incredible weather, wonderful connections with old friends and our family, great places to stay, amazing sights and sounds and tastes in some breathtaking settings...... We had almost no drama save for some illnesses and our luggage arrived at every stop (one flip flop lost!)....

We had angels - they worked hard - we are grateful!

It also feels great to be home.  A month on the road, facing new situations everyday is exhilarating and exhausting..... to be unpacked, laundry done, house clean and tidy (for now)..... lovely.

If you followed the journey, said a prayer or two, participated in any way here or in SA, I am truly, deeply grateful.

So as I contemplate being more coherent in my thoughts and more articulate in my words......bear with me.... ask the questions you'd like to know about - that may help me......

As we always do at the end of a trip or vacation - we remembered through our vacation days in a Bavarian restaurant in Frankfurt on our last night as we ate sausages and schnitzel and apple strudel and drank beer.... and for each of us there were different highlights and moments ...... I will share those soon.


But now for our 48 hours of Frankfurt Fun......

We studied up hard on Frankfurt the day before we left SA and on the plane.....and between that, the helpful Tourist info places and our hotel we did a fine job of managing to see and do a lot.

Our hotel was steps from the main train station and very comfortable.  We arrived in the dark and were slightly hysterical by the time we had negotiated a train ticket machine and the train to the hotel after a ghastly flight from Johannesburg.

The hotel took our bags and handed us a map and we were off to find a bank machine to dispense Euro's, a shop dispensing a good cup of coffee so we could watch the city awake.....commuters stream out of the station,  bakeries open up, and the sun rise after days of rain.....


We accomplished that by the time the tourist info opened and through them we booked a City tour, a skyline tour and a walking tour of the historic city centre...... We had time before that got started so we wandered down to the Main (said Mine) River and followed it to the old city...... such a beautiful walk..... I found myself falling in love with Europe again....the architecture, the "different-ness", the history..... Actually Frankfurt is a study in contrast - the old city and the modern, innovative banking capital of Europe with its high rises......




We had a spectacular day - saw many sights, ate sausage, drank beer (you see a theme here?) ate baked goods, shopped, had coffee more than once and ended up back at our hotel, after walking inadvertently through the red light district, at 4:30pm absolutely exhausted but happy.

We made a reservation at an authentic Frankfurt restaurant in the old saxon part of town that only has communal tables and serves the traditional food and apple wine of the region..... a very interesting and unique experience.



 On day two we had decided to head out on the train to the city of Mainz (said Mines) about 40 minutes out of Frankfurt and on the Rhine river.  It was less damaged in the war and had older buildings.  We took a slight unplanned detour to Wiesbaden but spent a lovely day in Mainz , walking through the Saturday market in the church square, walking up and down narrow, cobbled stone streets, sitting in incredible old churches and cathedrals, admiring the mighty Rhine.  It was another lovely day of  being in old Europe and only made me want more......






We had one last dinner in Frankfurt old town and sadly left Frankfurt dark and early on Sunday taking a train to the airport only to discover that our flight time, aircraft and seats had all been changed and we barely made it to the gate as boarding commenced........

It was such a perfect little taste of Europe, a totally different experience from SA, a good time to reconnect as a family, to experience something new for us all......a real cherry on the top!

I can't recommend Frankfurt enough - go if you ever have a chance.

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