And a good evening to you from across the Pond after another GREAT DAY in the Mother Country. First off - how cute is my wife? Not one, but TWO blogs for the Readership Faithful. Thanks, muffin! You are the best wife EVER!
Second - There will be NO BLOG until Monday night, 21 June. Why, you ask? Because the Taylors are TAKING ON THE LAKE DISTRICT, BABY!!!! That's right - bring on Scafell Pike!
Third - Welcome Ashley Hardee! The triple F (Frankfurt Friends Forever) Society is pleased to welcome you into the fold.
Okay, so in the spirit of muffin's recaps, I wanted to give you the run down on my time in Frankfurt am Main.
So I arrived at 12:15 on Sunday and hopped a cab from the airport. I rattle off what little German I know, and the cabbie nods. Two minutes later, he takes the on-ramp onto the freeway, and 30 seconds later my stomach is in my throat and my teeth are behind my ears. Why, you ask? Well, the guy's doing 160 km/hr and rising because HE'S ON THE AUTOBAHN. Yeah, I forgot that was up here. Oops. But once I got over the shock, talk about AWESOME. HAIR ON FIRE!!!!! (and no, Old School - we're not talking Heat Miser style - more like Maverick and Goose).
I checked into the hotel, realized I was fat as a damn bear, and went for a run along the river. I gotta tell you, while I would never tell folks to visit Frankfurt over some other cities in that country (which is rapidly becoming my favorite on the continent, btw), this city was BEAUTIFUL. Filled with squares, water, trees, and AMAZING skyscrapers (it was the first city in Germany to allow skyscrapers), it really is a gem of a city.
Frankfurt was LEVELED during World War II, but it has since built back in grand fashion. The skyscrapers were simply GORGEOUS, as was the Old Square. Seriously - Frankfurt is what I thought Dubai would be - a super clean city with amazing sky scrapers reflecting light off a blisteringly blue, clear sky.
I logged 4 miles before meeting up with a colleague (and Canuck) - Brother Bill Muise (aka Padre). We rolled down to the Kia Outdoor Arena, where we were SURROUNDED by Serbs and Ghanans for the upcoming World Cup match. We watched the first half there (CRAZY) and then caught the second half in an outdoor bar, where we drank Binding (local brew) and ate...well, you guessed - FRANKFURTERS. It was a classic moment when I realized I was eating the "original" hot dog. Good times. But don't worry, Hitman - we were FOCUSED on the task at hand...sort of.
We strolled back to Kia Arena (these outdoor venues had been popular since 2006 when Germany hosted the World Cup) for the highlight of the day - Germany vs. Australia. Simply put - WHAT A PARTY. We arrived 2.5 hours early, and the place was CRAZY! Picture 11,000 Germans sprechening Deutsch and waving flags whilst consuming GREAT beer and eating TONS of brats (I had 2). The place was heaving, and EVERYONE was covered in Germany gear. Even I got into the spirit when a woman with the face paint smeared the stuff across my lips - who says World War II enemies can't make up?
Germany handled the Socceroo's easily (4-0), and we stumbled back to the hotel, where I PASSED OUT. I woke up the next morning like a shot, but I couldn't bring myself to run. Instead, I went to teh gym and tried to lift until I started sweating booze bullets (yep, Matt - it was the DT's) and had to get outside for air. Consequently, I walked 40 minutes, thinking the whole time that I'd grown 4 sizes overnight.
The workday was GREAT, especially the part when one of our German teammates said to me, "I'm assuming you want to watch the World Cup - it's on a huge screen outside if you'd like for lunch?" 10 minutes later, I am sitting in the sun on a PERFECT day, chilling at a table, eating 2 brats and kartoffelsalat, watching footy on a HUGE jumbo tron in RESERVED SEATS, drinking a BEER. Yes, ladies and gentlemen - in that moment, all was right with the world.
Dinner that night was AWESOME. I told Ash and Bill: "All I want is a salad." I settled for PORK KNUCKLE WITH FRIED SKIN (aka a lifetime's worth of saturated fat). Throw in a few beers, and you have a recipe for a guuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuud night.
I got up on Tuesday and ran 4 miles along the water. It felt SO perfect, and I managed to NOT feel big as a house. That didn't last long, however, as we spent lunch on the lawn AGAIN watching footy and eating brats. Hey, I can think of no other way to preserve this gorgeous specimen that is my stomach, can you?
The highlight of the workday was when we visited the Merrill office and got a free visit TO THE 54TH FLOOR VIEWING PLATFORM!!! This is normally not allowed, but given that we were "special guests," they made an exception. The day was perfect, and the view was AWESOME!
Dinner that night was a classic experience. As always, we sat down with menus we couldn't totally translate and tried to find something we could eat. This night there was "Flammekuchen" on the menu. Ashley (who speaks some German as well) asked me what that was, to which I replied, "I think it's an open faced sandwich." Well, as fate would have it - IT'S NOT AN OPEN FACED SANDWICH. It's actually a skinny-ass pizza covered in cheese and meat, and so we got 3 of them. Needless to say Ashley cackled when the waitress corrected me. I think her quote was, "Boy, I'm sure glad I didn't get the exotic open faced sandwich..." FUNNY GIRL!!!!!! SERENITY NOW!!!!!
We caught World Cup every single night, even catching (during a walk home) the amazing Italy corner vs. Paraguay. And whilst the match of the tournament is still Spain vs. Switzerland, I simply must hand it to the boys from North Korea. True, their leader is a TOTAL DONKEY, but those boys played hard against soccer's patriarch - Brazil. Full marks...even if your flag does look like the Texaco logo.
Wednesday was up early and an easy ride to the Airport, where I caught a Luftansa flight home. All in all, a PERFECT (and exceptionally high calorie) trip that I absolutely LOVED. I simply can't say enough good things about Germany - good times.
I know that I owe you a blog from Wednesday and tonight, and true to form plenty did happen. However, that will have to wait until after the Lakes, as I still need to pack and it's growing late (those 6 beer I had tonight didn't help - but at least I got the glass!).
Okay, that's all the news that's fit to print. Chat soon
Sam and Jenny