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The flight went surprisingly well; as soon as I boarded the plane I set my iPhone’s clock to Frankfurt time so I could get in the mindset.  I can’t usually sleep on planes but thanks to Tylenol PM I got a full five hours of shut-eye, waking up at 8:30am Frankfurt time.  Perfect!  It was magnificent irony that my first purchase off the plane was a grande soy latte from Starbucks in the Frankfurt Main Airport.  (I know, I know.  I’m a bit embarrassed, but also amused and not a bit sorry.  I have a whole philosophy on Starbucks and the comfort factor, but I’ll save that for another post.  I will admit I was disheartened by all the locations I saw around town today – it seemed like there was one on every corner.)

The Sheraton Frankfurt Am Main is a massive structure that spoons the airport – it must take up at least two city blocks – and is as ugly on the outside as it is beautiful on the inside.  My room is a study in effective use of space, with blonde wood furnishings and soft but functional lighting exactly where you need it.  The bathroom is even beautiful – I love European bathrooms for some reason!  There’s an aesthetic to it that they have down.  I found what would be my first TV experience, Scrubs  dubbed into German (awesome) and ironed my work clothes for tomorrow because I knew I wouldn’t want to do it later, then set out to see the town of Frankfurt.

I immediately got lost.

Determined to use my shaky German skills as much as possible, I managed to ask a nice couple if I was going the right way on the S-Bahn, and they kindly told me to get off at the next stop…which was about 8 stops too early.  Turns out they were Spanish and just as lost as I was.  When I finally got to the stop I wanted, I arrived above ground and was completely dumbfounded about which way was which.  My map was far too vague to be really helpful, and wi-fi is very hard to find so far, so my iPhone isn’t much help.  After standing in the middle of the Hauptwache for what seemed like forever, reading a map that could not help me no matter how hard I read it, I finally decided to just wander.  I figured I’d eventually find my way somewhere.

Frankfurt is an interesting city architecturally: I walked most of the Altstadt (old city) today, the original walled city dating back to the early part of the last millennium (the Dom was consecrated in 1239), marveling at the beautiful old architecture which now sits right alongside modern new buildings – sometimes they’re even the same building.  I ate lunch at Haus Wertheym, a Frankfurt institution originally built in 1479 near the Römerplatz, and painstakingly reconstructed after the 1944 WWII bombings that left much of the city in dustheaps.  It couldn’t have been more quintessentially European: lunch out on the square under big umbrellas, surrounded by Medieval architecture and serenaded by an accordianist and, later, a man who played some sort of hand-turned calliope.  I ordered the Rittchen “Haus Wertheym” (house special?): pork rib, “ham” (really strong bacon) and sausages with sauerkraut and parslied potatoes.  Heaven!  I washed it down with some Schweppes Bitter Lemon drink, which was great and I wonder if it’s available in the States.  I proudly spoke German to the waiter throughout the whole meal  Rawr!

After lunch the sky opened up and the rain didn’t let up for the rest of the afternoon.  I braved it and walked around damp, enjoying the adventure, window shopping along the Ziel.  My favorite stop was the Kaufhof Galeria, a 7-story department store that has everything you need and lots of things you can talk yourself into thinking you need.  The awesomeness for me was the bottom level, the food hall (supermarket) where I found cute little cans of coconut milk for my coffee tomorrow morning, a bottle of German kombucha (yes!) and a Schokostick – a Slim Jim-sized chocolate bar that is sold everywhere.  I looked for options for a light dinner but struck out – what I really wanted was an apple and some almond butter, but all the nut butters were sweetened with sugar and/or chocolate, a la Nutella.  Yes please, but no thanks.  I gotta get back on track and lose this ass full of s’mores.

Tomorrow I begin orientation, but will hopefully have some energy to hit the town in the evening so I can post something of interest.  For now, I’m going to post this, and do my damnedest to stay up until 8pm so I can sleep hard and deep until 6:00am tomorrow.