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Back to Frankfurt, and Home
updated: Mar 13, 2010, 8:30 AM
By John McCafferty (aka McSeas)
And so, the two-month train ride around Europe finally ended. Many, many pleasant images in mind now. Those that rise to the top:
The Apfelweinviertel (Apple Wine Quarter) in the Sachsenhausen section of Frankfurt, Germany.
* Bruges, Belgium. Food, fotos, fun . . . I guess it's now my favorite city in northern Europe. How could there be a better place to visit?
* Regional combo: Mont St. Michel, St. Malo and France's Normandy coast generally - a lovely, restful area. Throw in some French cooking, and you're really vacationing.
* Lisbon, Portugal. It seems out of the way, but it's worth the detour, being serene, pleasantly aged, fairly economical, and full of outstanding seafood.
* Berlin. Maybe a little short on attractive neighborhoods (and maybe we were a little short of time and energy at this point), but the usual tourist-type attractions are there, and the city's east side is definitely rising out of the cold Soviet landscape. Good history over on Unterdenlinden and around the Brandenberg Gate.
* Barcelona. Lots of great art, including its architecture, but I wouldn't want to be swept away by the crowds during the heat of summer.
* Cordoba's old town. Really gives you a sense of bygone centuries.
"Great trip!" We toasted to each other as we sat in a recommended restaurant in the lovely old Sachsenhausen district of Frankfurt (not to be confused with the Sachsenhausen WW II concentration camp in Oranienburg, Germany). We both ordered "hachse," pronounced "hocksuh" and best eaten with hands and fangs, like a starved dog. This ham hock dish is great traditional German food! Swept away, I didn't even notice what vegetables come mit. Beans, maybe? - and some good crusty bread.
We had found the main part of the Sachsenhausen this time, missing it previously. We used one of the German travel specialties, a city map with various conveyances' paths drawn in cheery bright colors. These make you dizzy at first, but are helpful in direct proportion to your patience and concentration. Using the maps is a kind of game, and amused locals are glad to help.
Then got directions as to the right bus, and directions from another passenger about where to walk to Sachsenhausen.
We gratefully booked a room in a small old inn (everything there is small and old) and had nothing to do but eat, drink and wait for our morning plane to San Francisco.
On the day of departure, we enjoyed a leisurely walk around Sachsenhausen and had lunch at Frankfurt's big and bustling airport. We greeted a couple of smiling American GIs who were having very tall beers for lunch.
I luxuriated by taking a couple of pain pills, acquired for my arthritic knee (replaced a couple of weeks after we got home -- the knee, not the pills), and was mellow and cheery to the point of absurdity by the time for our flight. I chuckled to myself a number of times, as I recalled a hippie hitchhiker motto from the '70s: "Arrive Stoned!"
I tried to photograph a couple of the airport's long, almost Disneyesque escalators, but got no recognizable images when I checked later. I will always wonder if it was my brain that was whirling and not the various tracks of brilliant colored lights.
Sigh. There's so much world, so little time. But my newly revised Bucket List now includes only Scotland and North Ireland (me Scots-Irish roots, y'know) and someplace in the Himalayas, where I might wander into a Somerset Maugham novel and have some kind of revelation.
Well. . . as the American guy told the Swedish gal in Casablanca, "We'll always have Paris." Hmmm.
Next stop: The Great Plains, in my prairie schooner -- a rental Dodge.
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