Day 9 – April 29 – to Frankfurt

I should have known the day was going to be different when I awoke suddenly at 6:30 am to bright sunlight streaming into our hotel room. As a rule, when on vacation, unless I really have to, I try and avoid waking up at 6:30 am.

On our way down, we shared the elevator with two middle-aged women, this is not overly unusual, lots of middle-aged women frequent cute little hotels, what was weird was they were wearing Amplemanchen t-shirts.

At breakfast the two middle-aged women in Amplemanchen t-shirts from the elevator suddenly multiplied. There were between ten and fifteen of them, in jeans/khakis and matching t-shirts. It was mildly unnerving: they giggled like teenagers and drank lots of expresso.

We checked out of the hotel at around 9:45. For some reason, the price quoted on our internet booking was lower than the price-per-night listed in our room. The bill was for the lower (internet quoted) price, so we didn’t question.

Second breakfast was had at the Dunkin Donuts/Internet Cafe. I checked my e-mail and Gavin read on his Nokia. We shared an orange juice and an apple fritter. After awhile we got bored and headed to the Zoo Bahnhof where we took the S-Bahn to the Haupbahnhof.

The new Haupbahnhof in Berlin is amazing, and reminds me somewhat of the Zurich Hauptbahnhof in the way it goes down several stories and is visually interesting.

We opted for an early lunch around 11 because we were going to catch the earlier train at 11-something to Leipzig and then continue on to Frankfurt Flughafen. Lunch was at a rather posh McDonalds. If you’d taken down the garish bright yellow M and the obnoxious red trays and food packaging you would’ve thought you were in a trendy coffee bar or posh bistro. The employees wore bright red polo shirts with a white M on the side and dark wash jeans with an M embroidered lightly on the right rear pocket. They looked very sharp. McD’s has worked on it’s European Image.

After some debate and last minute train checking (yesterday’s internet disagreed with today’s internet and both disagreed with the posted schedules) we got on the 11-something train to Leipzig.

Half way into the trip to Leipzig it got eventful. The train schedule said the train we wanted to the airport did not run on 29/4/07… which was today. We got to Leipzig and the posted schedule said the train would show up at 1:11 on gleis 10. I asked a Service Info man and he pointed me to the Service Center for more information. Turns out due to construction the train had been canceled. No worries, at 2:11 there would be another train.

We had ice-cream in the Leipzig train station for an hour.

If the excitement had stopped there we would’ve all been very grateful. It didn’t. Our train from Leipzig was running late, not that it mattered, we had a hotel reservation, and our flight didn’t leave until the following day, something drastic would have to happen for us to miss it.

About half way through our trip a voice cracked over the loud speaker, the gist of what was said was “Due to forest fires between *static* and *static* the train is going to have to detour and will be even later. Sorry.” He later came on with a message for “the men traveling to Luxembourg” and an update that “no one has information about our arrival time in Frankfurt.”

I’m not sure how we were rerouted, but the train drastically cut back on speed. I got the impression the areas we were going through did not have tracks that were ideal for the ICE (inter-City Express).

Fortunately, it was a Sunday and we had no one to meet in Frankfurt. Our only exciting plans were checking into our hotel, dinner, hot showers (or a long soak if there was a tub), and bed. A forty-minute-plus delay, while not ideal, did not cause a huge mess of our travel plans. If we had tried to go from Berlin to Frankfurt on Monday and had a similar situation, panic would’ve ensued.

We arrived in Frankfurt around 6:30 pm. Checked in and went in search of food. We ended up eating Chinese food, again. After a hot soak in the huge tub, and some blog uploading, we collapsed into bed and watched Harry Potter in German.

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