A Frankfurtian Stupor

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The trip to Germany was pretty intense.  I didn’t understand a single word of what was said or written anywhere, so figuring out what to do each time the bus stopped was interesting.  I was the only white person on the bus for the entirety of the trip,  And at every border we crossed, everyone had to get off the bus and walk through border control in a single file line while they checked our passports.  The first time somebody spoke to me in English was the policeman at the Serbian border.  He asked what I was doing in Bulgaria followed by more questions which ended in him asking, “So you’re just backpacking all over Europe for fun?  That’s awesome.”  Then he laughed, stamped my passport, and waved me on.  It feels good every time.

I drove through the countryside of Bulgaria, Serbia, Croatia, Slovenia, Austria, and Germany over the course of two days, and boy, was my butt tired.  I don’t know if I would have made it if it weren’t for a nice woman who was also going to Germany who let me follow her around.  She was going to see her son who was going to school in Munich.

At least I was able to spread out and sleep when I needed to.  The drivers also played some obviously bootlegged DVD’s of some Kevin Costner movie and a paranormal teen movie two days in a row.  They were in Bulgarian so I just imagined my own dialogue.  The most exciting thing that happened was me beating two girls in a very long game of Uno.  Turns out, you don’t need English to play; just one word of Spanish.  But on Monday morning, we finally arrived in downtown Frankfurt.

Here’s bus/train station:

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Pretty impressive.  I was just excited to be somewhere that used Latin-based letters in their signs.  The downtown area was so cool, I had to explore.  So I put Gautama in a storage locker and started wandering.

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I eventually made it to a pedestrian bridge that crossed the river and the view it presented was beautiful.

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I decided to stay up all night instead of paying for a downtown hotel room and I figured it would help me get to sleep on the plane the next day.  I put my camera up and showered at the bus station so I wouldn’t smell like I’d been on a bus for two days straight then left for the pub area of town.  There was one thin street in particular that was lined with dozens of small bars and outdoor sitting areas.  That night it was full of TV’s and groups of people watching the World Cup.  I decided to sit at a place I read about on the street.  This old bar had been there making Apple Wine since 1291 and let me tell you, they’ve still got it.  I stayed there for the entirety of the ‘football’ matches and found myself getting into it because of the hundreds of cheering people lining the street.  I hung out there until the bar closed shortly after the game and walked to get a Doner.

Which reminds me, Germany has some of the BEST food.  I love their Bratwurst so  much.  And their Doners.  They’re kinda like super tasty pork sandwiches.  I also quite enjoy Frigadellas.  They’re a German variation on hanburgers.  They know their meat.

Anyway, I walked back through that street and stopped at a hookah bar that was still open and passed some time there.  The guy I sat next to overheard me tell the owner that I was from Oklahoma and he told me that he was originally from Saudi Arabia, but was studying marketing at SWOSU in Weatherford, Oklahoma.  We had alot to talk about and became instant friends.  He was waiting on a plane too to go visit his family since school just got out for him.  His name is Omar and we might hang out back in Oklahoma.  Small world, huh?

But once that bar closed, he went back to his hotel and I decided to walk toward the bus station.  Now I was planning on spending the rest of the night at a 24-hour bar across the street from the bus station, but those plans were doomed to the same fate most of  my other plans were.  I was walking down the sidewalk past the river when I saw a group of loud kids all hanging out with bottles on the ground next to them (which is totally allowed in Germany).  I waved at them and a girl named Ida from Morocco called me over and started speaking German.  I asked if they spoke English and they said yes and asked where I was from.  Once they found out what I was doing, they thought I was really cool and asked me to hang out with them for the rest of the night.

They had finished their last exam earlier that day and were celebrating.  They wanted to show me their favorite parts of Frankfurt and we started wandering the streets again.  So here’s another example of letting go of plans working out.  I ended up getting my own private tour of the city.  These guys were cracking me up all night and made my night much more interesting.  I’m very glad I ran into Jan, Leo, Leon, and Tom.  Here’s a picture they took of me.

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They were ridiculous.  At sunrise, we were standing on the bridge that overlooked the city and we just stood there for a while enjoying the view.  The buildings with the orange and pink skies emerging.  It was a very picturesque moment.  After several moments of silence and appreciation of the beauty of the sunrise, one of them yelled at the top of their lungs, “HEIL HITLER!” and we all just about died laughing.  You super can’t do that in Germany.  Then we peed off the side of the bridge and went to McDonald’s for breakfast.  Good morning, Frankfurt!

On the way back to the bus station, I asked Jan to take a picture of me in front of this pretty opera house we passed.

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After breakfast and some coffee, we all said our good-byes and they said I had to let them know if I ever came back so we could “really party.”  Boom.  New German friends.  Thanks for the unexpected great time, guys.  It was fun.

Then I got ready for my flight and slept all the way to Florida.  I had no clue being forced to wait for a flight in Frankfurt would be such an exhausting experience, but it is one I’ll never forget.

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