Cities / Towns Visited: 14
Countries Visited: 6
Steps Taken Today: 17,009
Steps Taken Around the World: 719,490
We would be flying out tomorrow, but for today Frankfurt was our playground. After purchasing the buffet breakfast at the hotel, and gorging systematically (as is custom) through their selection of eggs and bacon, pastries, and regular breakfast fare, we headed into the city to explore.
We wandered for a while, until we reached the old town, but the thing that struck me the most was the fact that all of their ‘old’ buildings are really just replicas, rebuilt in the style they were originally. You see, Frankfurt suffered greatly by bombings during World War II and much of the city was flattened. It’s sad to see that they lost so much history, regardless of the fact that the countries leaders were the cause of said fighting.
With the sun shining we decided to take a leisurely stroll along the river, as we were ready for a leisurely day before the next few long days of travelling. As we crossed the bridge to the other side of the river we, once again, saw a plethora of locks attached to the bridge. I swear the trend has gotten out of hand; I’ve seen locks attached to the most bizarre places on my travels so far. As we reached the other side and began to walk along the riverside, we were faced with a surprising view. For those of you who don’t know, in much of western Europe it is perfectly legal to drink in public spaces, and nothing showed the repercussions of that greater than the banks of the Rhine as it ran passed this towering skyline. The grass littered with countless wine and spirit bottles, pizza boxes, cans, and other trash from the previous nights revelry, the bins were all overflowing, and as we walked we saw a couple of council workers fighting the losing battle to try and collect it all. It was midday and they had barely made a dint in the mess which I can only assume would return again that evening, what with it being Saturday and all. To be honest, I feel like they would have been better off going along and emptying all of the bins before trying to pick up the litter, so at least all of the sunbathers and picnickers dotted amongst the trash, wouldn’t then add to their workload. It was sad to see, and explains perfectly why Australia has chosen to make public drinking illegal to try and combat the problem; not that it doesn’t occur, but definitely not to this extent. I can only imagine how much of the mess ends up in the country’s waterways; it’s depressing to say the least. I won’t show you the mess though, let me paint a more pleasant view of the famous city.
With enough dirty waterside frolicking out of the way, we headed back to the historic square; we had a date with the Apfelwein Express. For those of you wondering, it is a tourist tram, which runs full circle around the city while also providing apfelwein and pretzels. As we hopped on though, all of the seats were full and we were forced to stand somewhat awkwardly at the back of the carriage with a few other people, drinking our apfelwein while attempting to stay upright. Luckily, about halfway through the ride, most of the other passengers alighted and we were able to enjoy the remainder of the trip in peace and comfort. Although the carriage was severely lacking in air conditioning capabilities, the apfelwein was cold and the company was good, so we were all smiles by the time we returned to the square.
Deciding that there wasn’t really any other attractions we felt like forking out the money to experience, and feeling inspired to continue our foray into drinking, we settled into the corner of a somewhat questionable bar. As bad as that sounds it was kind of awesome, the pints of apfelwein were only €3 each, and all of the tourists were infesting the nicer, less sleazy-local filled places. The less than desirable demographic didn’t bother us though, we just stayed in our corner and chatted for a few hours as the glasses piled up and the sun streamed in. The kind of lazy afternoon that soothes the souls and irons out the stresses of life.
With the sun sinking lower, having skipped lunch, and being about three pints each in, we decided it best to find somewhere to eat dinner; man cannot survive on apfelwein alone, or at least he shouldn’t. Having already done a little googling the night before, we wandered to a restaurant serving good, hearty European food. We decided on wiener schnitzel; veal cordon bleu with a tomato and bread salad; and finished the meal off with kaiserschmarrn (a traditional German dish of shredded pancake, served with fruit compote). Washing it all down with another apfelwein, we left with lighter wallets but happier hearts, as we wandered back to try and get a good night’s sleep before our early morning rise to travel to the airport.
Today hadn’t been the most touristy, or the most productive, but it was exactly the kind of day we needed. Good food, good drinks, and good company can fix, or at least ease, almost any of life’s hardships. We spend so much time talking about eating healthy and looking after our bodies, that we often forget to care for our souls. It’s common knowledge that being overweight and unhealthy can shave years off your life, but we often forget to mention that being happy can add up to ten years. If eating good food (even if it’s unhealthy) and spending time with those you love makes you happy then don’t deny yourself that pleasure. Everything in moderation of course, but will living off kale salad and pumping iron daily fill the void in our souls. Eat the fries and the pastries, share a drink or two, laugh with those who mean the most to you. Life was made to be lived. I would rather die 10 years earlier having enjoyed myself, then die at 90 because I denied myself the pleasures of fattening food and alcohol. Even the healthiest person doesn’t know when their time will end; you can have a heart attack on your thousandth 20 mile jog, just as easily as you can die happy, even if a little chubby, surrounded by those you love. Live your best life, whatever that means for you; and take care of yourself, body and soul.