Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Day 3 Europa 2011-12 - Flying High Back in Time to Frankfurt

Although it was Friday and we spent most of it flying over Asia and the Middle East, we were to move backwards in time and experience Friday a second time. It was shortly after 6 am Friday when we landed, so the start of Friday again!

Lufthansa A 380
Our Lufthansa flight was on the new and so enormous A-380, which has two floors of seating. With the Lufthansa CEO ( I had seen him later on German TV, otherwise would not have had the foggiest who he was) and his entourage taking up most of the senator class on the Upper deck, it took us almost an hour to board this huge flying monster that had come into service so recently, it still smelt new. The cabin was well insulated which did cut down on that awful vibrative noise one gets in planes.

The Crew were not very friendly, but not unfriendly either. Just a presence, not  a verbal one, more a physical one. As for the passengers, the man next to me was either Russian or East European and he was the best airplane neighbour I have had yet. He just curled up and went to sleep, and I did  not hear boo out of him all night. The other side of the plane consisted of a large group of square headed severely blonde gentlemen with no. 1 crew cuts, shouting in what sounded like an angry Deutche. But then German sounds like an angry language sometimes.

Rathaus cafe

Frankfurt airport is huge and extremely difficult to orientate oneself unless you go directly out to an exit. On passing through Passport control, we were asked about our itinerary. I must say that the customs/police were very kind and friendly, as was our taxi driver (who was however, hell bent on breaking the sound barrier, getting us to our hotel) in Offenbach, a satellite town of Frankfurt. He was from Pakistan, ( aren't most taxi drivers?) and he told us how he had a near fatal car accident when he first started driving... eeek! Something he tells his customers to reassure them......

To our delight, our room at Sheraton Offenbach was made available for us straight away, at 7.15 am, which was either by good fortune, or because we were part of a large tour group that was commencing the next day. After settling in, we toddled out to find what Offenbach had on offer....excuse the pun/Dad joke.

What we found was a small  Christmas market, focused on food, in the "main" (again excuses for the pun/Dad joke), a wonderful Cafe at the Rathaus, where hot chocolate would be served to you for a paltry $1.20 Euro ( but who am I to complain?) and a medium sized indoor shopping centre with some wonderful clothes shops. Heidi and I spent most of the day there buying jumpers and t-shirts, jewellery. We loved it and found many bargains and some nice new winter gear.

Searching for the illusive Squirrel

It was rather cold and we started to feel it, but nothing daunted, we did spot a squirrel in the nearby Palais park, and it was far too tempting to not chase this little fellow into the park.Whilst the Autumn leaves periodically dropped around us, we attempting to get a good photoof the illusive creature (which turned out to be a blurry shot anyway). The Palais is now a conference centre for the hotel, and looked like something that the Von Trappe family once owned.  It was about 5 degrees but felt a little colder, presumably after our Singapore sojourn, and we had not yet acclimatised to the cold.

Something else we had yet to learn about Offenbach was where to find good local eateries and we were somewhat put off by the name of some of the food at the Christmas markets such as  "Super Dickman."  (The mind boggles) Opting for something safer, we purchased some rolls from the Supermarket, (it always good to check out the local's food ) and found some delicious pastries instead, which were more than satisfying.

The German bakery treats were to become very familiar to us and indeed part of our permanent body shape for the next 3 weeks and hopefully not part of our body shape for three years. God they are good!!! In the end, tonight we dined at the hotel restuarant and the prices, once again, I have to say were moderate, compared to Australia. I had a delicious prawn pasta dish, seen below, in its triumphal glory and Heidi had a bolognaise that would have easily fed 6 people!!!
Prawn pasta with "water"

If you are used to having still water with your meals, then beware, in Germany you have to request it and pay for it, and they will provide mineral water in a bottle for you, at a price. If you just ask for water, they will give you this version with bubbles, or gas, as they say. In other words, sparkling mineral water. You have to ask for still vand, or still water. Perhaps because it is much colder than at home, noone seems to drink still tap water here.  You can see our requested water in the picture, where we learnt this lesson very quickly. Water was something we pondered about.


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