|Flight #5: Venice to Frankfurt-Hahn|
Our flight out of Italy was far calmer than the one a few days ago coming into Rome. And we were able to get a free shuttle to the hotel upon arrival (11:30pm) to avoid any possible hitchhiking. It was rainy and cold, but after the hotness of Rome, we were ready to put on extra layers and wear our coats.
We woke up fresh and ready to get to the city. Our airport/hotel was located a little less than two hours west of Frankfurt-Main, so we had to take a bus first thing in the morning to meet the elderly Suzy and Carlos (our hosts for these three days) at the Main airport. After buying the bus tickets, we had a snack and chilled out on a covered porch enjoying the rainy weather.
About 10 minutes before the bus was supposed to leave we figured it was time to head over and wait for it. What we found was a crowd of people pushing and shoving in the rain trying to cram onto said bus.
About 20 people were left, including us. Next bus arrives in a half hour. Okay, no problem. Now we know we need to stand out be ready.
Bus pulls up, people rush out of the covered waiting area to the crowd, we dash to the opposite side and throw our packs underneath while everyone else tries to load theirs on the door side. We come back around and try to wedge our way to the front. Individuals ascend the steps into the presumably warm and dry coach, and it seems like most of the crowd is still stuck out in the rain when the driver announces that the bus is full. Including us. So we go and get our packs out of the storage bay and wait. Again.
Having missed the bus twice, we were not very forgiving when the third one showed up and it was time to wrestle through the crowd to get a seat. After stepping on elderly toes, elbowing small children and pushing past a couple wheelchairs and strollers, we made it into our bus seats feeling victorious.
In a couple hours we made it to the Frankfurt-Main airport, where we called Suzy and Carlos and told them we were hanging out in Terminal 2 Departures. She said (in her supremely delightful German accent) that she would see us in a few minutes, that she was taking the subway and would come pick us up.
Four hours, a few phone calls, and a miscommunication (Oh! You were at the AIRPORT, we thought you were at the TRAIN STATION) later, we were finally on our way to their apartment. Between landing at Frankfurt-Hahn the night before and actually setting our stuff down at the apartment, 17 hours had passed. Watching the clock tick away our first whole day in Germany was something of a bummer.
We went to a supermarket to pick up some food for the next couple days (Guess what's in the International "American" Section of a German grocery store: Campbell's Tomato Soup, Saltines, Kraft Mac&Cheese, Oreos and peanut butter), and then Suzy took us on a grand tour of Frankfurt. After seeing a few key places and identifying where the subways were, etc, she left Kevin and I on our own for the evening.
"I need a beer."
We sat down and got a real meal for basically the first time in 24 hours. I think we impressed the waitress. We were practically licking the plates. What did we eat? Something with meat and gravy and rice/french fries. Was it vegetarian? No (turkey...nothing crazy). Was it delicious? Yes. While France's desserts are unbeatable, I can't help but feel a strong affinity toward German comfort food.
It was a Friday night in the Manhattan of Germany. We walked the pedestrian-only streets and gazed up at fresh skyscrapers. Younger than me, indeed, they were younger than my shoes. Can't help but look at something that magnificent and envy a place so far from economic struggle.