Frankfurt, Germany (2.9.10 – 2.17.10)

I arrived at the Frankfurt Hahn airport at 11:00 on Tuesday night, where I was picked up by Brigitte and Uwe. The name is deceiving because it’s not actually in Frankfurt, instead it is an hour and a half removed, which makes Brigitte and Uwe even sweeter for picking me up so late at night. We got back to their house in very good time, and went quickly to bed.
On Wednesday, I woke up at 7AM so that I could accompany Brigitte to the preschool where she works as a speech therapist for disabled children. I got to join her while she worked with the children.; I played the games with them, and consequently got to learn German along with the kids. Brigitte then had a meeting to attend, so she sent me off to the shopping center. I browsed until she was done with her meeting, after which she met up with me and we got lunch at a Chinese restaurant. Once we were done with lunch, we drove into central Frankfurt where I received a personal tour of the city. We window shopped on Goethestrasse, which is the high brow shopping street, selling exclusively designer names. We also hit a sweets shop that only sells gummy bears, where Brigitte bought me two giant packs of most delicious gummy bears. We then left Frankfurt and headed for a restaurant in Steinbach, where Uwe and one of Brigitte’s sons, Konstantin were due to meet us. For dinner, I had a traditionally German schnitzel, and a Hefeweizen. After dinner we returned to the house and in due time called it a night.
On Thursday, Brigitte went to work, and at a leisurely pace, I got up and then went into the city to do some more exploring. Brigitte had encouraged me to go to one of the museums that was showing an excellent exhibition at the time, but when I got there, the wait in line was over an hour long, so I decided to give it a miss. After walking around for a sufficient time, I headed back to Steinbach because at 7PM, we were due to leave to go to dinner at Brigitte’s parents’ house. Dinner was fantastic, and Brigitte’s father got a kick out of trying to teach me meaningless German slang words like ‘hottentottentittenattentat.’ After dinner, he also enjoyed making me try various schnapps, including enzian, Mirabella, and prunelle sauvage. They were all extremely strong, and none of them particularly pleasant; had I not removed my glass from the table, he would have continued to serve me!
On Friday, Brigitte and I went to buy me some boots so that my feet wouldn’t freeze in the upcoming days. Upon returning, I eyed the hill that backed their house and asked if people sled there, to which she replied yes, of course, and asked if I would like to! So, we bundled up, grabbed two sleds, one of the classic variety and another built for speed, and went to take them for a run. The hill was small, and at its bottom, joined a creek. There was a father out there with his two boys, and at one point, his youngest boy didn’t stop in time and continued on into the creek! He was fine, albeit quite wet, but despite that, he continued to sled for another fifteen minutes– champion dedication! This was the first time I had ever been sledding and it was such fun! That night Uwe’s mother, sister and sister’s husband came over so that they could watch a Carneval program where various people make fun of the politicians and their various blunders over the past year. I couldn’t understand anything, so I ended up going to bed
On Saturday, Brigitte took me sledding again, but this time to a giant hill in a town called Oberreifenberg, about an hour outside of Frankfurt. The hill was incredible, and to reach the bottom on the sled took several minutes. We enjoyed some mulled wine to warm us up, after which I did a couple more runs down the hill and we then returned to the house. That night, Brigitte and Uwe went to a Carneval party, so I went bowling with her sons Konstantin and Alexander; I bowled a 118, a 131, and a 119… which I think is not bad considering it had been over eight months since I’d last been.
On Sunday, we went to a small Carneval parade in Mainz. The Carneval parades consist of floats, marching bands, and lots of other dressed up groups; everyone is extremely energetic, and the enthusiasm is infectious. It lasted about an hour and a half, and we all dressed up; Brigitte and Uwe were clowns, and I was a mouse. We stood in front of a house belonging to some of their friends, who also had a float in the parade which their daughter rode on. After the parade was finished, we joined them and many of their friends for cakes and coffee. After the parade, we went to Uwe’s mother’s house and then went out for a meal at a Greek restaurant. It is Greek tradition to serve a shot of Ouzo after a meal, so in said tradition, we were each given a shot. I downed mine, and as I was doing so, Brigitte and Uwe both slid theirs in front of me. Uwe took my empty glass and declared, “come on, you have to finish your drinks, we’ve all finished ours.” I laughed and with a grimace, took their two shots… I’m not a fan of anise-seed flavored liquors.
On Monday there was a huge parade in Mainz! We dressed up once more, Brigitte and Uwe as clowns once again, and I was a bumblebee. This parade lasted for over four hours! We had a wonderful time, and met up with some of their friends. We stood in the street, drinking champagne and collecting the sweets that the people on the floats threw to us. After the parade we went for dinner at a Chinese restaurant nearby, which was delicious. Once home, we all collapsed and had an early night.
On Tuesday I meant to join Brigitte at her pre-school once more, but didn’t wake up, despite her calls. Brigitte arrived home around 1PM, so we had some lunch and then went for a drive along the Rhine river. The views were beautiful, and there’s a stretch where at every new bend in the river, there is another castle on the hilltop, so in total, you drive past about eight castles. We drove back and Brigitte made lasagna for dinner, which was amazing, as is all of her cooking that I’ve had the pleasure of trying. That night I had to say goodbye to Brigitte and Uwe, because they were both leaving very early in the morning for work
On Wednesday morning, I had every intention of waking up early to say goodbye again, but slept right through my alarm clock… because I’m a complete tit. When I did wake up, I packed my things and headed for the Frankfurt Hauptbanhof so that I could catch my train to Beilngries to go and visit Ben Marx.

Frankfurt!

The Hauptwache building for which Hauptwache plaza is named.

The view over Frankfurt

Römer Square in Frankfurt; behind me is the town hall (the Römer) for which the sqaure is named.

Me in Römer Square

Brigitte in Römer Square

The gummy bear shop!

Brigitte, on the hilltop where I first went sledding

Très chic, non?

My trusty vehicle

Sunset on the hilltop

I know this picture is blurry, but I love it because I look as thrilled as a little kid

The hill in Oberreifenberg, filled with people sledding, skiing and snowboarding

Drinking mulled wine to keep warm 🙂

Making a snow angel!

The resultant snow angel!

The hill in Oberreifenberg

Brigitte and me

Brigitte and Uwe, looking absolutely fantastic and ready to go out to their party; it was Bavarian themed, which is why they are wearing traditional Bavarian dress.

Brigitte and Uwe dressed up for the parade in Mainz on Sunday

One of the floats from Sunday’s parade in Mainz

This is the start of some of my favorite pictures from the big parade on Monday

I love this costume so much that I plan on making one for myself one day

This little girl was with her family who were standing next to us to watch the parade. She was the cutest kangaroo I have ever seen in my life, and the sweetest most delightful child I’ve met in a long time. The people on the floats adored her, and her pouch was full with treats every few minutes. By the end of the parade, she had a garbage bag over half full with everything she gotten during the day! See her treats in her pouch?

Bzzzzz

One of the marching band groups, looking fantastic

Seriously. Too. Cute.

I would like to learn how to ride a unicycle. Please and thank you. I think future employers will be impressed with my highly marketable skills, don’t you?

These characters came at the the tail end of the parade, and were absolutely amazing.

Considering that the parade lasts over four hours, I can’t imagine how tiring it must get, walking around in such a costume!

A view from a city on the Rhine where Brigitte and I stopped for a coffee.

A town on the Rhine

Another photo from a town sitting on the Rhine; I just loved the colorful buildings all in a row.

I will end this singing Brigitte’s praises. She is one of the most pleasant, jolly, kind, people I’ve ever met and her joy is infectious. She and all of her family were more accommodating than you could possibly imagine, and I enjoyed my time with them more than this entry adequately conveys.

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