Last time I wrote, I was staying in Ochtrup in the North-West of Germany, in particular I was patiently working my way around various galleries in the Dutch town of Ootmarsum, having some difficulty believing that artists in a town completely full of artists could still command such high prices for their work. Anyway, after one more night, a trip briefly around a park in a town called Gronau (along with a trip to the local McDonalds for a McFlurry), and another German barbecue, it was high-time for us to move along down south towards the final stop of Frankfurt.
Now, I've no idea why, but the Deutsche Bahn, the German rail company, has high accolades internationally for its perceived efficiency and accessibility. In truth, any time I've been on it, except of course when I've gotten a ‘dauer-spezial' from buying the ticket online, it's been expensive and nothing to really write home about. In this case, despite costing us nearly â‚¬50 each for the ticket, it was half an hour late and was mostly full, requiring us to sit at seperate seats; and more irritatingly, with my back facing the direction of travel, which I hate. More annoyingly still, if that's possible, an elderly couple behind us were moving around in the seats, the aisle, the carriage, wherever like they'd a serious dose of ants in their pants. First they stood up, then they filmed the outside, then they filmed each other, then they moved around, meaning it really wasn't a relaxing journey of any sort.
With my cold still proving troublesome, we arrived in Frankfurt four hours later, to go and find our ‘hotel', the Colour Hotel (from where I'm writing) just across from the ‘Hauptbahnhof'. Since arriving, Anna (and her parents, it seems) have been contracting my flu as well such that all we could do on arriving was sit and feel sorry for ourselves for a few hours, before unenthusiastically going across to a place called ‘Sachsenhausen' to go and look at an apartment. The bad news is, the apartment's a bit expensive. The good news is, it was otherwise perfect. So, in one go, apartment possibly sorted. We'll wait and see.
One of the big ‘sells' of our hotel was that it had wireless internet – in fact, it does have free internet to use down at reception, but you've to pay for the wireless internet, which for me is a major pain. So, after a hearty nights sleep, I trudged down to reception to pick up a wireless ‘ticket' and go and look up cheap places to go and learn German. After that, the next big thing was to go and look at the chosen place, the ‘lehrerkooperative', which I hope will have some impact on my less-than-beginners' level of German!
In the meantime of course, I've been doing my best to live what I at least perceive to be the German lifestyle, namely by eating as much meat as possible and drinking beer with every evening meal – even if my sitting by the river in Frankfurt reading ‘German for Dummies' gives it all away to some extent. Anyway, everything with time I suppose.
So, tomorrow I head back to Dublin again for Easter having sufficiently got enough of a taste of Germany that I'm now quite looking forward to an all-English environment once again, even if only temporarily. Better keep that ‘German for Dummies' book handy right through Easter…