Sunday, June 24, 2012

[Travel] [Tourist] Days 41 and 42: Rain, Rain and More Rain

Day 41

Day 41 will go down as probably the most disappointing of the trip. I had been looking forward to a Rhine cruise for quite some time. In the end I didn't get to go because, as I sat waiting for the boat, the weather turned pretty bad. There was just no way I was going to sit on a boat for 1 to 4 hours if it was raining so hard that I couldn't see anything. I just shrugged and figured that gave me all the more reason to come back. But I'm getting ahead of myself.

I had a horrible night's sleep and woke up earlier than I had expected. On the bright side this meant I could catch a much earlier train to the small town of Bacharach. The train ride was mostly boring until I changed in Bilgen, at which point it became much more scenic. Behold, the Rhine from inside a train:

Greatest name for a town ever? I say it's a contender.

Behold, the mighty Rhine

I arrived in the charming half-timbered town of Bacharach so early in the morning that virtually nothing was open. The streets were blissfully empty and it felt like my own personal world. I had two hours until the boat was supposed to leave so I spent it jut wandering and taking photos:

It's not just a castle, it's also apparently a youth hostel? Pretty sweet.

She's a Rat. House. (sorry, that was really cheesy).

Did you say you wanted half-timbered houses? Well then come to Bacharach. You'll be sick of 'em in five minutes, flat.

It's a well. And Fish with legs? Turkey with no head? I've got no idea.

I wonder what they sell?

Oh. Yeah. Makes sense now.

Yes this is kitschy tourist crap. But I still liked it.


This picture reminds me of the babe (what babe?)

The babe with the power (what power?)

The power of voodoo (who do?)

You do (do what?) Remind me of the babe. Thank you all for humoring me on that I haven't slept in 30 hours.

I think this means that the building has been here since 1356

And this creepy little thing has been here the entire time. Watching you. Judging you. Consuming your very soul.

Unfortunately, as alluded to above, it started to rain and the skies threatened worse. So I called off the plans for the day and instead headed back to the train station. The trains were running about 30 minutes late but this ended up being a blessing in disguise, as I met a group of high school students from Indiana who were here on a school trip. Their teacher, whose name I can only remember as Frau somethingorother, was a great source of knowledge about Germany. Time passed quickly as we talked and I got some good laughs from the antics of the young'uns. God damn I sound old. I'm only 30, I swear!

When I got back to Frankfurt the skies had cleared a bit (naturally! though it would start pouring again soon) so for lunch I had some German classics at a food market set up right outside the train station:
Hey - a bunch of white guys in suits! It's the Establishment and they're all eating lunch.

I spent three years in Wisconsin, the bratwurst was better there.

This is a local Frankfurt specialty translated to "hand cheese with music". All of the ingredients make you very gassy, hence the "music" part. It was not especially good. You've been warned.

It was then back to the room and, as is now customary, that was it for the day.

Day 42:

There's even less to say about Day 42 than there was on Day 41. I awoke really, really late (like 9 AM - unbelievable) and I had a bunch of shopping goals for the day, which I accomplished around Frankfurt. I also had to change hotels, from the Holiday Inn Express to the Hilton Garden Inn located at Frankfurt airport. I did some wandering and shopping around Frankfurt after checking out:


Fine, just one.

I was hoping "erdbeere" was some sort of berry and it was!

Listen, we've been standing here for two days, let's just ask someone for directions.

This photo is for the enjoyment of, at most, two or three of my readers. I wouldn't recommend eating there. It'll taste great until someone offers it more money and then it will defect to their army. Damn you Lu Bu and your 100 war!

For lunch my goal was to find the best flammkuchen in Frankfurt. An Alsatian specialty, I first had this dish when an ex of mine signed up for a couch exchange website in anticipation of her trip to Germany. Since she lived in a relatively out-of-the-way part of Michigan, she didn't exactly get a lot of people taking her up on the offer of a couch. She did, however, have one very nice German guy who stayed with her and together we all made the flatbreads. The only place I've been able to get one since is at one of the French restaurants in EPCOT. It's fantastic there, but this one might have been even better (and a heck of a lot cheaper):

This was absolutely fabulous

Did someone say bacon?

After that I caught a train to the airport an began the hour-long walk from the subway station to the Hilton Garden Inn. Oh alright, it wasn't that long, but it gave the transfer from the Yamanote to the Keiyo lines in Tokyo a run for its money for longest time I walked with my luggage:

Where the hell is this Hilton anyway?

Oh. There it is.

Not only is he Arsenal's number one keeper, he's also a talented sculptor?!

Sorry Hilton, I won't be staying with you tonight. Do you have a cheaper, uglier cousin?

Yup, that'll do.

I have very little to say about the HGI. It was well located. The bed was comfy. The internet was decent enough. I didn't get free breakfast because this stay was booked using a Groupon-type discount thing I'd bought a year earlier, but that was fine since I had a day in the Lufthansa First Class Terminal coming up for all of my food needs.

I spent the evening watching Sweden lose to England, crashing out of yet another tournament. Oh for it to be 1994 again. On the bright side, Sweden won this year's Eurovision contest. Who needs sporting achievements when you can win over the hearts of the world through song? Right?

I can live with this as a view

Don't stare into the ring!!

Can't we just generalize this slogan to "Start every day with clean hands you filthy cretin"?

Thus ended an all-too-short-and-uneventful stay in Germany. I really, really can't wait to come back and spend some time in the country, especially at the beginning of the trip when I'm much more fresh. Everyone was so incredibly warm and friendly. English was ubiquitous and no one seemed especially troubled to be using it. The food is right up my alley, even if it didn't always agree with me. And it's just such a beautiful place. Quite possibly it's as scenic and charming as the south of England, although I did at least finally get a nice view of some factories from the Hilton Garden Inn's windows ;)

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