Letzte Urlaub im Deutschland!!!

In The Spirit of December on December 18, 2010 at 11:36 PM

After taking the train from Karlsruhe to Frankfurt I seemed to have multiple frustrations but fortunately resolutions to all of them. When I was last writing I had dumped my 75-pound suitcase in what I didn’t know was 1st class. After the conductor came by and told me to “go on and git” to 2nd class I decided rather than lug the giant thing with me I would simply leave it there and get it back when I got to Frankfurt when they announced that we would be arriving in a few minutes. What I didn’t realize was when this time occurred everyone in the train cars who were also getting off at Frankfurt would be standing in the narrow hallway with all of their bags preventing me from getting to my suitcase. Well, what choice did I have right? I had to get my suitcase. So after explaining my situation to the 5 closest Germans that I would be climbing over I slowly trekked my way through and managed to make it through the hallway, through the dining car, and into 1st class just in time before the train left.

Once in Frankfurt I was welcomed by the delicious smells of Ditsch and Bretzels and everything else that is good and wonderful about Germany. I immediately sought out a place where I could store my suitcases and after information told me where I could find them I made my way over to platform 23 and the large storage lockers they provide for passengers. The little suitcase was not a problem, that I could simply throw in a medium-size locker without difficulty, it was the 75-pound suitcase that was going to cause me grief as usual. Only to make things worse, the suitcase gave me the impression that it was going to fit. At first I wasn’t sure and then I tried sliding it in and it fit perfectly. My heart leaped with excitement knowing that I could leave this lug of a log in Frankfurt for three days and not have to drag it with me to Wurzburg. Yet the problem arrived as I tried closing the door to the locker. It simply wouldn’t close. No matter what I tried to do, I couldn’t make it actually fit in the locker.

There I am on the opposite side of platform 23 in front of a huge row of lockers shoving with all of my energy trying to get this suitcase to fit. I am praying asking, “Lord, please offer me a solution.” Indeed the Lord did provide me a solution but that was not before I tried turning the suitcase upside down on both of it’s sides inside and out and finally asking information and paying 26 euro that the solution finally came. However, a solution is better than no solution and considering how I got to Wurzburg I am indeed very grateful that I didn’t have my suitcases with me and I could simply travel with just my backpack and my violin.

I bought my tickets for Wurzburg for that evening and then a return ticket for Monday morning so I could come back to the station to get my bags and then off to the airport in order to make my flight home. What I didn’t realize was that every single train coming into Frankfurt at that time was delayed ranging anywhere from 10 to 120 minutes. People were going mad trying to find a solution on how to get to their homes and other necessary places of business. I personally was so relieved even having been on a train already for 8 hours simply to have a spot on a train and be able to get to Wurzburg. But this was not the biggest thing I was grateful for. As soon as I sat down on the train I immediately recognized something unmistakable that I hadn’t seen in four months. The woman sitting down across from me set up her small suitcase next to her but as the large handle coming from it accidentally toppled over onto her neighbor she said “Entshuldigung” and her neighbor responded, “Kein Problem.” What might simply look like your run of the mill “Excuse Me” and “It’s quite alright” was in my mind something much more than that. They were gestures of consideration one for another. They were signs of kindness and not that of suffering and having to put up with the other person’s existence. In other words, it wasn’t French, it was German and it was friendly. I immediately recognized it and a huge smile spilled across my face and I laughed out loud much to the shock of the woman sitting across from me.

Mind you I hadn’t spoken German in four months, but I felt compelled to give it my best effort and so I summed up my courage and told her, “I have to tell you, I just spent four months in France and the Germans are so much more friendly than the French.” She smiled rather shocked that I was very clearly a foreigner who could speak German and then responded very kindly, “And how is that?” We ended up talking for about twenty minutes and then when the loudspeaker announced that another train would be coming that could get us to Wurzburg faster she helped me with my luggage and find a spot on the next train. We ended up talking for over an hour and then she wished me “alles gute” for the future and we said goodbye. Never did I have an experience like that in Germany and not even 3 hours after my arrival in Germany had I already encountered multiple people that were friendly and willing to help me all with a smile on their face.

The difference is stunning and shocking really. I felt a little bad today bad mouthing France, but the fact of the matter is, I was really settling. In so many respects I feel like I just got out of a bad relationship and my eyes have finally been opened to life outside of the perspective of the relationship. It was amazing really. Don’t get me wrong, I loved aspects of my time in France. But as a whole, the people that I encountered on a daily basis were horrible! They were mean and simply inconsiderate at all times. They brush up against you, they don’t apologize, they look at you with an evil eye and they are so preoccupied with themselves that they can’t help but stare at you and judge you as you walk by. I never experience that here in Germany.

Upon my arrival at Philipp and Barbara’s Philipp greeted me and welcomed me with a warm bed, a big bottle of water and a nice towel for a hot shower. We went out and had a beer and I tasted my first Hefeweise in four months and was thrilled to be back in Germany! We came back and I got a good night sleep and had a hot shower before seeing Barbara and having a great breakfast of lochs, salmon caviar, broetchen, and tea and coffee. Philipp and Barbara then invited me to go with them to Sommerhausen to see the Weihnachtsmarkt that is supposedly one of the most beautiful in Bavaria. Well indeed it was beautiful and we had a lovely day and I had gluwein and roasted chestnuts and almonds while we walked around this beautiful little German village where you could actually walk inside the houses to see everything that was being sold, much of which included artwork. Although we didn’t buy anything, there were a lot of different funny and interesting things to see and we had a really nice afternoon together.

I came back and rested for a few minutes and then got back on my feet because I was spending the evening hanging out with Marci, Heiko, and Flo. Well what I didn’t know was that Heiko and Flo had a birthday party to go to and so they weren’t going to be joining Marci and I for “the surprise.” Although I was a little saddened by this, I was simply grateful that they came out to see me and wish me well and offer a formal goodbye, which means a lot to me. What came next was simply awesome! Marci told me that the surprise was tickets to go see Handel’s Messiah!!!!! Considering I have been doing nothing but listening to Handel’s Messiah for the past two weeks I was stoked beyond logical belief and comprehension.

We walked to the Franziskanerkirche and picked up our tickets and sat down to an absolutely beautiful rendition of Handel’s Messiah. Although they didn’t do all of the movements, can’t say I blame them, they did the major ones and with the exception of the tenor the other three soloists were stunning. The alto soloist had a beautiful clear tone that came through above the orchestra, the bass’s strong vibrato and yet rich tone came through as well and the soprano sang the most beautiful version of “I Know That My Redeemer Liveth” that I have ever heard. At the concert Marci and I met up with some of her friends from her choir that she is singing in who also wanted to see the concert and afterwards we all went out for a drink. At this point as like the rest of the day I had been avoiding talking and just trying to get by listening and trying to remember my German considering I had spent the last four months only speaking in French. Well that was no longer going to be the case as I started speaking and hoping for the best in my attempts to pick up the pieces of my German. It turned out better than I expected and a lot of things came back that I hadn’t expected which is proof that they never left in the first place.

We went to a bar and fortunately they were still serving food and so I very gratefully ordered a plate of Kaesespaetzle and a salad and starting chowing down. Have I mentioned how much I missed German noodles and cabbage. It is so delicious. I challenge anyone to not love German cuisine because it is amazing. Of course earlier in the evening I also had a Fraenkenwurst to fulfill the obligatory Christmas market sausage so all things edible here in Germany are in good order and couldn’t make this Long time traveler any happier. We had a really nice time and then I managed to find my way back from the Wurzburg Residenz back to Philipp and Barbara’s place. Germany had treated me so well and I have met such wonderful people even in the past couple days who have been generous and interested in me and willing to be patient with me in my attempts to speak German with them and encouraging me to keep trying. I have to say I do really prefer Germany to France. As nice as France was in many aspects, the fact still remains it’s the people that make the country and although the German’s give off a sometimes-tough impression they are willing to make an effort with people. Tomorrow will be last full day in Europe. It’s really scary to think about actually. We’ll see what happens. I’m sure I will have more to report then but for right now I don’t want to dwell on it too much. I’ll be seeing you all my dear faithful readers very soon. That’s all for now. Ciao!


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