August 30 (Montag) - It has become quite cold in Frankfurt. Thankfully, the heaters in the room work and work good.
Instead of breakfast at the hotel, we walked over to the Hauptbahnhof and Le Café, because we learned that breakfast here costs €12 each. For approximately €5 total, we can have coffee and a croissant at Le Café. We like the convenience (sort of convenience), but that's a serious amount of money at the end of the week.
Susan joined us at the bahnhof a few minutes after we finished. In fact she didn't even really join us, we found her at the ATM machine just across from the café, and joined her. Since we were there, I got a couple hundred euros, also.
Then we trudged down to the Reisenstrum where Robb bought tickets to Bönnnigheim near Stuttgart, where he went to school when he was a tad younger, and Susan bought tickets to go have lunch with her friend in a little town not too far from Frankfurt, the name of which escapes me at the moment.
We came back to the hotel and Robb checked his email. He had gotten a reminder email about our flight to Barcelona on Friday. It's a good thing they sent it because it was the wrong flight. We notified them of the mistake and they got ready to go to another place across town. I did not join them because it's just too damned cold to be outside today. Not to mention the possible rain.
Robb and Susan went on a wild goose chase today. They thought they were going to see a really neat Roman ruin, but the advice they got was totally off the wall. The place they thought they were going to see is in Trier, Germany which is only a few kilometers from Luxembourg, not in Frankfurt. It was too cold for me and I did not go with them.
Around 14h00 or 15h00, I walked over to the bahnhof and bought some flowers for the girl on the hotel desk. Several days ago, Robb and I both gave her a very difficult time because for the second time since we've been here, our door card would not work. We knew it wasn't really her fault, but you know how it is when you're pissed, you blame the first person you see. Unluckily for her, she was the target of our wrath. She accepted our apology.
It takes quite a while to download pictures and videos on my laptop, and it costs quite a bit, so when I'm doing the journal entries, I usually use one of the 'free' computers downstairs. It takes even longer there because their connection is rather slow.
Tonight, we all went over to the bahnhof and bought our dinner. Robb and I got some kind of veggie wrap, while Susan got a huge salad. We brought it all back to the hotel because we wanted to drink the bottle of champagne Robb had bought at the thing in front of the Bourse. Of course, you understand that when I say, champagne, I'm really referring to sparkling wine, but it's basically the same thing and made the same way. It's just not from the champagne region in France. We stopped at the bar and Apo 'loaned' us a couple of dishes. There is a table and chairs at the end of the hall by a double window, we ate and drank there while watching the office workers in the buildings opposite, go about their business and the planes that seemed to fly past every few seconds.
August 31 (Dienstag) - The three of us went to Eltville by train today, to a wine tasting at a small bottler named Gutwein Belz. The train was nice but not as good as it could have been if there had been no trees everytime something interesting appeared. We got a taxi at the train station and rode to the winery. We were met by a girl named Madeleine who works for the winery and really knows wine. We tasted seven dry wines, three sweet wines and a couple of sparkling wines. They were all excellent, but Robb and I particularly liked a dry wine, Rheingau Riesling Trocken 2009. Robb bought two bottles of that, a bottle of Riesling Spätlese Edition M and a bottle of sparkling wine.
After the tasting, we took the taxi into town and had a light lunch at a very nice restaurant, Eltviller Rosenstübchen. I had the best veggie soup I've ever eaten, Susan had a delicious tomato soup and Robb had the biggest salad we've ever seen.
Then we went for a walk around town. A beautiful place with an old church and an old castle, the tower of which can be seen from the train station. It was very similar to Strasbourg, but smaller, with lots of timbered buildings. We walked down to the Rhine River and walked along the promenade to the castle. It much more impressive from a distance than close up. Then Susan, as she is wont to do from time to time, wandered off on her own and Robb and I wandered about and finally made our way back to the restaurant (where they had been kind enough to let us leave our wine while we walked around the town).
We waited for Susan to show up (I had the train ticket) then made our way to the train station that was only a few blocks away. We caught the 17h10 train back to Frankfurt.
Robb and I had dinner at the Cosmopolitan again.
There are many more pictures than the ones I've included in this post. You can find them at Eltville.
September 1 (Mittwoch) - And it just kept getting crazier. We awoke bright and early, did our morning stuff and went to the bahnhof. We had coffee and a croissant, then went to the ticket office. Today, Robb was finally going to go to Bönnigheim near Stuttgart. To do that, we had to take a train (an Ice) to Karlsruhe where we would have six whole minutes to get to the tram that would take us to Bietigheim, where we would get the bus to Bönnigheim.
The ride on the ICE was very disappointing. First, it was (they claimed) five minutes late. Then, it was like riding in a pick-up truck on a bumpy dirt road. But we got to Karlsruhe in good time. We were pointed in the wrong direction and got on the wrong tram. It only went a couple blocks before we were told we had to get off. But the driver was very nice and rode us back to the place to get the tram we needed. We rode the tram, a much easier ride than the ICE, to Bietigheim-Baden.
We couldn't find anyone at the only railroad building there, so we started walking around. First, we met an old lady on a bicycle. She had no idea where we should get the bus to Bönnigheim, and in fact, had never heard of Bönnigheim. An old man rode up on his bike, but he too, had no idea. Then a younger guy rode up on his bike. He was delivering mail. His name is Randy (really Bob, but he likes Randy). He is from Maryland and has been in Germany for about a year. From him we learned that we were in the wrong Bietigheim. We should have been in Bietigheim-Bissengen in the other direction. We chatted for quite a while and he left to finish his round and we went back to the "station" to get the train back to Karlsruhe.
But we had to get to the other side of the tracks. There was a stairway down, then you walk under the tracks, then you climb up the stairs on the other side. I didn't feel like I could do all that and walked across the tracks.
Do you know what a speed trap is? Well, the Bietigheim-Baden version of it is the police are hiding in their van nearby and if anyone crosses the tracks, they get a ticket. Yep. I got a €25 fine. They gave me the choice of paying on the spot or refusing to pay and facing a costly court date. So I paid the fine. A funny thing also, is that a younger guy saw all this and crossed the tracks anyway. Guess who else got fined?
By now it was going on 14h00 and Robb decided we should forget going to Bönnigheim on this trip, so we went back to Karlsruhe and caught the ICE back to Frankfurt.
The other day, Robb received a verification of our flight to Barcelona on Friday. But it was for the wrong flight. They had us flying to Barcelona and returning to Frankfurt on 20 September. But we are not returning to Barcelona we are going from there to Paris. We thought we had straightened all that out before we left, so it was a bit of a shock to get the notification. Since then, we've been trying to get in touch with the travel company (ITN - International Travel Network) but have not yet, heard back from them. If you ever need a travel company, DO NOT, repeat DO NOT, use ITN.
Susan came to our room shortly after we got back and informed us she was going swimming. She had a bad accident several months ago and the swimming is good for her knee on which she had major surgery. She says the pool is huge and is located at the end of the line 17 tram. Obviously, we did not go because we thought it was more important to get the flight thing figured out.
We all walked down to MoschMosch for dinner around 20h30. Susan had her usual salad (I did mention that she's a vegetarian, right?). Robb had one of the fantastic ramen soups and I had a noodle dish called Yakisoba with chicken. Everything was great, as we have come to expect at MoschMosch. The Susan and I both took pictures of us all with the waiter, who seemed to have a crush on Robb.
September 2 (Donnerstag) - We had our last breakfast at the hotel and went back to the room to pack. My new suitcase doesn't hold as much as I had hoped, but it's so easy to push around with its four wheels.
We did not get the flight straightened out because ITN insists we agreed to the ridiculous schedule they just sent us. What kind of fool would think we were going to return to Frankfurt only seventeen days after arriving in Barcelona? We are just a little pissed and will definitely look into suing their asses.
We finished the packing and left to ride the 14 tram because Robb had not done it before and I wanted to get some pictures I had missed the other day. It's a long ride during which we got to see the zoo, the fountain (brunnen) across from the zoo entrance and the Fritz Rémond Theater (a beautiful building) just next to the zoo. We also saw a gas station (remember, those prices are for a liter, so you have to multiply by four to get the gallon price), another church(kirsche) and a little tea room called We Love Cupcakes. Coming back from the second end of line, we stopped at a Thai Snack place where Robb just a huge veggie dish and I had a latte macchiato.
Dinner at Hafez (the Iranian restaurant). I wasn't very hungry, so I only had a bowl of barley soup. Robb had a appetizer of three different Aubergine salads, and Susan had her usual salad. We all agreed the the things we ordered were very good.
You can see all the Frankfurt pictures below (there are a lot of pictures which I haven't included in the entries).