According to my little seatback screen, I'm writing this from somewhere more towards the American side of the Atlantic, than the European, while speeding along nicely at about 578mph – the beer tastes pretty good too. Things went a little pear-shaped this morning. To start with, it was up at 7am to see Anna off the premises; due to the borderline OCD nature of her fellow apartment residents, every door has to be locked upon leaving (and they don't lock themselves), which since there was two of us meant I had to accompany her off the building and then go back in, in pyjamas, and lock all the doors behind me on the way back to bed. So we were standing there, saying goodbye's when out came some impeccably attired businessman, pausing only to wish us a good morning as I stood there like a complete tosser in my pyjamas. Great start. Back to bed then, where unfortunately I overslept slightly due to…well, personal laziness if we're being honest. I only overslept by about 15 minutes but that would turn into more like a 45 minute delay later on. So, packing done, I attempted to leave the apartment block. Only problem was, as I got down to the front gate (which, like everything else, has to be locked after you and warns of penalties if not), some old biddy was standing on the other side also with key in hand. I was obviously in a rush so I lashed open the gate – wrong move!
Old biddy, handbag at the ready for a duel, proceeded to start lecturing me in German about who I was, what apartment I was in, where I was from, and from what I could ascertain – try and ensure that I was familiar with the OCD nature of the residents and knew to lock all doors, gates and letterboxes after me. At first, it seemed a rather pleasant encounter but after 20 minutes of still being lectured and under fear that she was trying to actually execute an OAP's citizens arrest, things were getting kind of exhausting and a bit annoying. So after listening to one more sentence (or paragraph, who knows), I concluded with ‘OK' and thanked her in German for her sage advice and walked around her and out the gate. And no, I didn't lock it. Onto the S-Bahn then and out to the airport, thanking myself profusely during the journey for having checked-in for the flight on the internet last night, thereby requiring me only to present myself at the security line and the plane itself. So I did just that and proceeded to the ‘McCafe', where I was sort of queue-barged by a family of about 12 Turkish people – it turns out after all of Anna's warnings, maybe they are slightly annoying and ignorant. Who knew?
The flight has been smooth so far – I remember taking an Air Canada flight from London to Ottawa a number of years ago and the plane was clearly old, the seats worn, the staff looking ‘tired' if that makes any sense and the whole thing was just a bit of a pain. Although the plane this time is the same old thing, it seems to have been done up in the years between and now boasts some sort of ‘mood lighting' to match the day outside – right now for example, the inside of the plane kind of looks like what I imagine the inside of a brothel to look like (which also begs the question of what kind of ‘day outside' its basing itself on), low shades of blue and purple. The food wasn't bad, although I'm now starving but I guess that's something I need to get used to anyway! So what about the rest of Frankfurt?
Well Tuesday night, in complete defiance of the scorching weather outside, Anna's cold just got worse and worse until she was sniffling and coughing like nothing else! We went back out after our rest, although somehow, while looking for the Rhine, which we'd managed to find and hang out at for hours just a few hours before, we could not now find it and ended up in some kind of sketch area of town. Never mind, a few more poorly thought-out turns later and we managed to find it, the Turnfest and an ice cream stall – so everything back on track then! Wednesday then, I was determined to finally catch a rest having had no sleep in excess of about 7 hours since the start of the college exams. Despite the best intentions to ‘eat healthy', breakfast consisted of a huge bar of Cadbury's dairy milk and half a pack of pringles! We checked out the European Central Bank, what I thought was the European Central Bank (Just because it was a big building with a huge â‚¬ symbol outside it), and the observation town (or ‘Helaba' as I kept calling it, owing to the massive name sign on the side of the building). During the course of trying to descend from the observation tower, I decided it best not to hold the lift for anyone and pressed the close door button. But then I stopped, as I saw someone approaching. Anna however, decided to be generous and hold the door open and frantically pressed the button – the close door button, unfortunately – so just as the guy and his family made a beeline for the lift, BING, the doors closed pretty much in his face. Considering the intended act of generosity, it was pretty hilarious!
After that, we found the ‘Fessgass Fest', a big food and drink festival lining one of the streets (see, Frankfurt ALWAYS has something happening) and decided to buy an Apfelwein each. One really would have more than covered it. I actually had one a few years back and good sense should've reminded me of that unfortunate incident. But it didn't. So we sat down and within nanoseconds had quickly realised that a) Apfelwein is NOT like cider and b) is actually not nice, full stop. It's flat and extremely sweet and bitter – kind of like if you open a Bulmers and leave it for an hour before taking a sip. Gross. For dinner then, to celebrate Anna finally getting her job sorted and me heading out of Europe the following day, we snazzed it up a little and went to the local steakhouse for some proper food. The food, although the wait was bordering on the ridiculous, was delicious when it finally made it to the table. We rounded the evening off with a trip to a cafe for a quick beer before turning in! So that was Frankfurt – it's definitely a special place and perhaps some people hate it because it's just so organised, quite expensive and perhaps difficult to navigate if you're not German (or not trying hard enough) but with at least 3 festivals coming up in the next 3 weeks, bargains to be found when you go looking and a city teeming with skyscrapers, modernity and convenience, I don't know what else you could want!
So, what next? Ottawa – 1,272 Miles!