Sunday, November 30, 2014

A Thanksgiving with Frankfurters

Did I hear you say Happy Thanksgiving? Well, let me wish you the same. I had completely forgotten that today was Thanksgiving.
I had just started into breakfast at a little hotel in Frankfurt, Germany. The statuesque blond I'd noticed earlier was talking to me. Minutes earlier, I had considered joining her but she was busy with paperwork.

The easiest transfer ever: Exit the Frankfurt railway station, head straight ahead onto Kaiserstrasse Street and there's Quality Inn on the left.

But now, she had come over to my table and was wishing me a Happy Thanksgiving with that unmistakable German accent. How did she know I was American? I try to blend in with the locals, keep my voice low, so how did she know?

Her suit tailored from royal blue tweed caught my eye when I first entered the room. Her blond hair was swept into a classic up-do. Such style hinted at an interesting person. She continued.

Being from Germany, she said, I thought nothing could be better than Christmas. But there really is. America's Thanksgiving is such a simple holiday, just to be thankful. It's not commercialized at all.
Oh, I understood what she was saying about Christmas in Germany. In fact, I was in Frankfurt for an extra day to catch opening night of Christmas Market, having wrapped up four days at the Euro-American Family Retreat in Rothenburg. several hours south by train.

In fact, wandering through Frankfurt's Christmas market the evening before, here's what I saw. . .

Cookies:Baked with intricate designs.

Cookies: With decorative icing piped on. Oh, and candy too.

Cakey confections of some sort. One of each please. Or not. . . Oh, they're busy strategizing. It's opening night, after all.

The pretzel man. Let's call him Prince of Pretzels, pleased with his chocolate-covered treat. I'll take one of those too.

Back at breakfast, Miss Statuesque shared that she's originally from Germany, teaches law at in California and was in Frankfurt for a conference. We talked at length, no worries that eggs and sausages were getting cold.

Finally I asked, How did you know I'm from the US? Seems she had overheard me wishing the dining room attendant a Happy Thanksgiving and giving her the historical scoop about the day.

Our breakfast room conversation that Thanksgiving morning was a delightful gift. Imagine the chances of being in Germany that morning, crossing paths with someone who also cherishes such a special holiday, so uniquely American, a day set apart to give thanks.

* * *

Say, care to join me for a look around Frankfurt?

Frankfurt: Center of baking for western Europe. There's the Euro sign: and yes, we can imagine it flipped horizontally.

Frankfurt Central Station and Yours Truly. Don't you know that site has seen some history.

Thanksgiving Day in Frankfurt: Hard to beat a quick hop-a-bus tour. . .

Friendly Aussies on the bus tour, mother and son. Once upon a time, perhaps a lifetime ago, I lived and worked in Sydney area. They filled me in on all things Australian since. . . since 1978.

Frankfurt on the Main is the city's official name, Oh I get it, just like my Rostov-on-Don, is on the Don River. Here's the view from the bus.

Frankfurt Trade Fair: The worlds largest book fair held here. Stay on the bus, Stay.on.the.bus.

Frankfurt Cathedral dominates the skyline. Amazing that it survived the war.

Wonderful gift, that day in Frankfurt after the conference. Oh, but here's some back story. Worst case baggage woes that turned out splendidly.

* * *

When I arrived in Frankfurt, my luggage was nowhere to be found. I'd flown Lufthansa from Rostov-on-Don directly to Frankfurt but the luggage had gone directly to Moscow. Oh yippee. I started to panic, needing to catch a train, then another, then another south to Rothenburg, wondering how Lufthansa baggage folks would ever find me there. But I left the airport to head south.

On the plus side, now I had only my carry-on bag to wrangle, a good thing indeed since this trip was November 2009, before my hip replacement surgery, back when each step was painful. Later that evening, during the opening session of the conference, I was quite pleased to be called to the hotel front desk because, tada, Lufthansa luggage folks had just delivered my luggage. What a relief to have my pjs, my toothbrush, my clothes for the next day. Perfect ending.

After the conference, found that I was already a bit spoiled, already accustomed to this personal baggage delivery. I was less than enthused about dragging my bag back on and off trains north to Frankfurt. The biggest challenge getting luggage up the steps at train stations, as per the Eastern European set-up. But another happy surprise awaited.

The gift of German engineering: A escalator for the luggage.

Thanksgiving in Germany: Off-hand, I don't remember lunch there in Frankfurt but I'm pretty sure it wasn't frankfurters. Dinner would have been airplane food. But I arrived back in Rostov-on-Don with all luggage and a long list of thankfulnesses for an extra day in Frankfurt.