Posts Tagged With: travel

We’ll Be Back At 3pm

So I’ve gone to Montana for thanksgiving which was really nice because I haven’t seen my cousins in such a long time, and even though we had to drive through a snow storm to get there it was well worth the near death to get to spend the holiday with such good friends. (And so much food)

After the holiday I decided to stay a week longer than my parents and fly back to Colorado so I could spend more time with my cousin and her kids. It was a great week of binge watching Hallmark movies and eating more Christmas cookies than anyone one person has the right to. It was nice to be with family after so long away in Europe.

Today my trip came to an end and I get to the airport two hours early as is my normal flying routine. No checked bags, boarding pass sitting in Passbook, I am ready to fly through security and get to my gate for some nice downtime to read or blog or what have you. 

I get to the security entrance prepared to remove my laptop, when I notice the door is half closed and there’s a cheap dollar store “we’ll be back” sign on it. It says “We’ll be back at 3:00”. Excuse me? What kind of airport doesn’t run security two hours before a flight?! I can’t believe what I’m seeing so I look around and sure enough all the security personnel is hanging out in security, talking and laughing and generally looking like they’re on a break. 

I know Glacier International is small airport but come on guys! It’s now 11:00 and I’m still waiting to go through security. I should be through and relaxing with a good book until boarding by now. 

I will remain vigilant and stare at the security door until someone starts running security checks. What the heck kind of airport is this?

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Paris: Day Two

After a much needed long nights sleep, best friend and I were determined to make up for our first day in Paris with a fabulous second one. We had breakfast at the hostel, (we stayed at the Trendy Hostel which has breakfast included, a big plus. It’s a bit out of the way, but right next to the metro and a nice relaxing place to be at the en of the day) and then set out to visit the Opera, home of the Paris Opera, and also the real life inspiration for one of my favorite books, The a Phantom of the Opera, which was alter made into several movies, stage plays, and then the widely popular musical. I can’t truly describe the beauty of the any of the astounding architecture of Paris, but the opera house with its golden, winged, statues, and intricate carvings, archways, and columns is really sight to behold and I hope someday I et the chance to sit inside this gorgeous building and see an opera.

After a quick money exchange we made our way to Norte Dame where we attended Monday afternoon mass which was, although in French, a language I really know hardly any of, still incredibly moving. I am a believer and getting to go to a service in one of the most beautiful and historic churches in the world was something beyond words. To see the beauty of both the outside and inside of Notre Dame, and the way that people were able to express their devotion and love of God through their talents of architecture, sculpture, painting, and glass work was so moving. I will admit, however, that it is a little bit bizarre to be attending church with hundreds of tourists standing on the edges taking pictures of it like it’s some kind of performance. But j am glad that the church is a working cathedral and not just a tourist trap like so many other grand churches around the world.

After mass we went in search for food but made a quick stop a the Shakespeare and Company book store because it’s impossible for two book lovers not to find themselves drawn in by the piles and piles of books held within that shop. I could have spent all day looking at books and would have surely spent more money than I could afford on books had I not remembered that I basically have no more room for anything in my bags.

Our search for substinance led us to what is my favorite place in Paris, if not the world that I’ve explored this far, Montmartre. Montmartre is actually the name of the hill that this district lies at the foot of, but as an artist myself and a lover of art and literature, Montmartre is a dream come true. Unfortunately due to the influx of tourists to the area (sorry Paris) the artists can no longer afford to live in Montmartre for the most part which is a huge pity because that’s what makes it so wonderful. It was the home of such artists as Pablo Picasso and Monet, and was frequented by writers such as Hemingway and Langston Hughs.

We found a bakery, bought a delicious lunch of sandwiches, croissants, and diet coke, and found out way up a hill to a tree covered courtyard and a (albeit very wet) bench to eat on. This bench was right outside the building where Monet and Picasso both lived and worked in their early days in Paris. If I had to pinpoint the exact moment I fell in love with Paris it was right there. Right in front of the former lodgings of artistic greatness, under trees with orange and yellow leaves falling at our feet, eating the best croissant I have ever had, I fell in love with Paris.

After resting for a while we started our climb to the cathedral Montmartre, and the best view of the city from anywhere in my opinion. We got to the top, took a deep breathe and just stood there in awe of the beauty of our view. That lasted approximately two minutes before we realized that Best Friend’s phone had been stolen when she accidentally put in her back pocket after checking directions. There were a few moments of panic and frustration, and then we realized that A) her phone was covered for theft so she could get a new one next week, and B) there was nothing we could do about it right then so we continued on our way more or less unaffected by the unfortunate theft.

After that it had started to rain even harder and my shoes were soaked through, so we decided to go back to the hostel and relax for a bit before meeting our friends again for dinner that night.

Around 6:30 it had stopped raining so we made our way back into the city for dinner and we met our friends at a small crepe shop and I had the best tomato, lettuce, and feta crepe, and then an hour later an even better nutella and banana crepe. It was a good food day over all.

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Paris: Day One

Arriving in Paris I’m ashamed to admit that I wasn’t as in awe as I probably would have been due to lack of sleep, heavy backpacks, and a little bit of nausea. We got off the plane, made our way to the bus that we rode nearly two hours to the train station, and then we purchased ticket to Versailles and took a nice long train ride to the beautiful palace of Versailles. We got there, bought our tickets, and then realized that there was a three hour cue just to get INTO the palace, and promptly decided that there were not enough hours in the day to do that. We found two woman about our age, handed them our tickets and found our way back to the train station to head to the centre of Paris.

By the time we got there I was going back and forth between nausea and starvation, dehydration, and just general exhaustion. Our goal was mainly to find food, and then forget all of plans for museums and wandering and take a nap as soon as possible. That being the case, and the fact that it was Sunday, we found nothing open that was even remotely close to our price range, so we settled for something not horribly expensive and just tried not to think about the cost too much. Then we finished our meal, found a metro station, and checked into our hostel as soon as we could, which was the best decision we could have made because two hours later when we left  to meet our friends we were much happier and ready to experience Paris.

Night time in paris is really the most wonderful thing. It isn’t called the City of Lights for nothing. It is actually amazing to me how beautiful twilight in Paris could be. Two of our good friends also happened to be in Paris for a few days, and also happened to be newly engaged which just made seeing them for the first time in months even more fun. we met them under the eiffel tower which I stood in front of and pictures like the tourist I am with no shame. It was actually a lovely movie moment. Best friend and I saw them across the square and we ran to each other and hugged, and exclaimed, and oohed and awed over the ring. Then we took a picture, and went in search of a Parisian cafe to spend more Euro in.

We settled on this lovely little cafe and a table for four outside, luckily under a heater because as gorgeous fall in paris is, it is also awfully cold. We ate onion soup and creme brulee, and had a wonderful time catching up and continually freaking out over the fact that we were together. In Paris.

When we parted that night and went back to our hostel to catch some sleep, I already knew I was going to love Paris, if only for the food.

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Sitges, Land of Golden Mermaids and Empty Beaches

In between our morning at the Picasso museum and the Gothic Quarter, (Which you can read about HERE) we took a train ride up to Sitges Spain to spend the rainy afternoon on the beaches there.

Sitges is my favorite place that I’ve been so far in Spain. The first time I went we got down to the beach and it was practically empty. There were maybe five people scattered up and down the sand. It was a warm day and the water was pleasant. It was so still you float on the top with no worry of having waves crashed on top of you. It was the perfect beach, a nice change from the drunk college tourist filled beaches of Barcelona. Though they were equally beautiful, there is just something about sitting on a beach with no one but your family and just soaking it all in.

The second time I went was last week with Best Friend. We had gotten to Barcelona and realized that everything was expensive and there wasn’t much to do, so we decided we would go see Picasso, and then hop the next train to Sitges. unfortunately it was rainy that day, but that didn’t deter us in the least. we figured if we can’t swim we can at least go to the beach and see the water. So we get to the main station in Barcelona, Sants and we scoured the train time tables until we finally found one going to Sitges. We got downstairs (I should mention that we used one T-ten for each of us on this trip and it only ran out on our last ride to the airport so buy one, it’s so much cheaper) and we wait for the train and we get on.

The ride was pretty uneventful and about thirty minutes long so we just chatted and looked at the scenery which, as in most places around the city, was mostly farm land. But then, suddenly, we catch a glimpse of the ocean and it is one of the most beautiful things I have ever seen. I don’t know quite why this stormy ocean landscape took our breath away like it did, but truly it was a sight to see.

We get off the train at Sitges and to be honest I have no idea where we are. When I cam last we came by bus and were let up closer to the center of the city where as the train is more on the seaside end of things. I am glad that that is where we ended up though because being in tis part of town just solidified my love for Sitges.

As you walk through the streets every alleyway is like the gothic quarter just old and beautiful. Most of the shops are little organic cafes or hipster coffee shops, and everything has an air of laid back contentedness. All you need to do to get to the beach is follow the signs and walk downhill and eventually you’ll see a little blue through the buildings and trees ahead of you.

When we got down to the beach there were maybe three people standing on it. The storm had made the water rough and choppy so no one was in it but a few children played along the edge. we turned to our left and there is this giant church on a hill overlooking the ocean so we think, why not? We walk over a set of stairs that lead to a platform that has a sculpture of a mermaid and a great view of the coastline. The waves are so rough that they are actually breaking onto the platform where we are standing, it was gorgeous. We walked up another set of stars and found ourselves face to face with this old seaside church, which turns out to be Church of Sant Bartomeu i Santa Tecla, better known as “La Punta” (according to wikitravel). In any event it was beautiful and the vie can’t be beat.

We walked a little further down more little streets until we found ourselves back on the beach. We took pictures, and stood in the waves, and finally we just sat down right in the sand and watched the waves crash upon the shore. It wasn’t super eventful day, but it was a beautiful on and I think Best Friend would agree that when we’re together and seeing new things, it doesn’t really matter if we’re partying all night long, or just sitting on a cold beach. It’s all about the adventures that we get to have together, and about getting to look at each other’s kids some day and say “This one time when me and your mom were in Spain…”

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Barcelona: The Gothic Quarter, Gaudi, Picasso, and Staying up all Night

 

Barcelona is a party town. And I’m not just saying that, I mean I literally can see no real reason to go back to Barcelona, except to party all night long, which I would totally suggest by the way. But there are a few things that, if you’re awake before noon and not nursing any lingering regrets from the night before, that I would suggest hitting up.

The first place I would totally recommend is the Gothic Quarter. This is one of the areas of the city that remains from the original Barcelona. Every alleyway and street is lined with wrought iron balconies and beautiful cobblestone paths and buildings. There is an old world feeling that is unmistakable Spanish. Every old adventure film held in the streets of Spain look like they were shot here. I also love all the street performers and Catalan flags and banners strung across the streets. The gothic quarter is, in my opinion, the best place to spend your time if you plan to spend anytime in Barcelona during the day.

Right in the heart of the Gothic Quarter is the Picasso museum. The museum has a large collection of Picasso’s works that he created while in Barcelona and the surrounding Spanish towns, as well as all of his renderings of Las Meninas which is just breath taking to see them all there in one room. I am a huge Picasso fan and it as such a treat to get to see his work in person. Plus you get 50% off from being the between the ages of 18 and 25, and you get in free if your a student. Which is my favorite price. I would recommend going here one hundred percent. even if you drag yourself there and then fall back into bed after, drink a Cafe Ole and make yourself do it.

Then of course there is our old friend Gaudi. Gaudi is one of those artists who just kind of took over. Barcelona is full of Gaudi, fake Gaudi, souvenir Gaudi. It’s Gaudi mania. But his architecture is definitely worth seeing. Go find the Gaudi district and take a look at his gorgeous designs, and of course don’t forget to go Sagrada Familia, the world’s most famous unfinished church. We walked up to it and Best Friend says, “Think they’ll ever finish?” To which we decided it wouldn’t be as famous if they did that so … probably not.

Now for my adventures in Barcelona. On our second night we knew we were going to have to be at the airport by 5:00 am at the latest to catch our 6:30 flight, so we decided to just stay up. We figured we could go out dancing, leave around 2am and the go check out and get to the airport. Great plan right? Well here is the thing I always forget about going out, you don’t want to leave, and when you do leave you’re party high only lasts for so long before you’re exhausted.

So we are at the hostel, we meet some people, we get on the bus to the club and so far everything is good. I have an alarm set to tell us it’s time to leave so there’s nothing to worry about. We get to the club and pretty much right away I lose my best friend to some Australian, which is fine with me because I’m hanging out with this Canadian and two girls from the UK. We’re dancing, we’re having a good time, when my phone goes off. ok, no problem, but where the heck is best friend? I shove my way through the crowded dance floor, avoiding flirt Spaniards (If only I had more time) and still can’t find her. So I go back to my new friends, tell them to tell best friend I’m outside if they see her and I bid adu to my Canadian (which I was very annoyed about by the way, and he only made it harder by trying to convince me I could stay and still make it to the airport.) and leave the club to wait outside.

Now the problem with traveling is I can’t communicate with anyone unless I have wifi, which luckily I found, but since Best Friend didn’t have any, I was out of luck. I sat and chatted with a nice Spaniard who spoke NO English, in the best broken Spanish I could, but he stayed with me and was very kind until finally BF comes out of the club.

Somehow in our exhausted and rushed state we managed to navigate two metros, a five minute walk to the hostel, getting all of our stuff, checking out, another metro, finding a bus to the airport, and then get through security, find our gate and get to our seats. I am not lying when I said that by the time we got seated I pretty much passed out and woke up two hours later in Paris. So thank you Barcelona for a hell of a time, I will be again someday with more time on my hands.

Honestly we really only spent an afternoon and that night in Barcelona because I prefer Sitges and wanted Best Friend to see it before we left Spain, but over all I enjoyed our time in Barcelona, but like I said if you’re not a partier don’t expect a jam filled itinerary. If you are into the party scene make sure you stay at the Urbany Hostel. Trust me, it’s so worth it. Just don’t stay at the club until 2am and then exhaustedly stumble to the airport to make a 6:30 flight. Not worth it. Ok maybe. Yeah who am I kidding, totally do that.

P.S. There is a Mcdonalds that’s open late down by the club strip so if you want cheap greasy food after a long night, that’s the place to be.

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Spain, where clothing is optional but Seafood is not

Last week we got the chance to go into Barcelona and go to the beach. As always, however, it was an adventure getting there.

We took the bus from Torrelles to Villa Franca, and then waited and took the bus from Villa Franca to Barcelona, then we walked about fifteen minutes until we realized that walking just wasn’t a practical way to go, so we got on another bus and took a very long bus ride down to the harbor where we walked the rest of the way to the beach.

The water was amazingly clear, and it was a nice warm day. The beach was incredibly crowded but that didn’t surprise me. The thing that DID catch me a bit off guard however was the fact that the beach was topless, which is totally fine, but one can never fully prepare oneself for the casual way woman will just sit around half naked. It was just a little weird, and I was and always will be perfectly happy keeping my clothes on.

As we were waling to and from the beach the thing I noticed was every single restaurant (and there were many) had a paella and sangria special. I had been told by a friend that this was a great combo and very popular in Spain but I had no idea to what extent. In fact seafood in general is such a huge industry. I mean you can buy calamari rings the same way you buy onion rings in the states. That’s pretty awesome if you ask me.

Other than that one outing life in Spain is pretty much just like life every where else. I work, I watch Netflix, I eat. Life is life everywhere you go.

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Bienvenido a Torrelles De Foix

I have now officially been in Spain for almost two weeks and I have yet to write a blog post. In my defense we didn’t havve internet for a while, and then we were out a lot, and then my grandmother passed so there just hasn’t been a god time to sit down and really reflect on my first week here.

We left Frankfurt, Germany around 8pm and arrived in Barcelona, Spain at about 10pm. It was a stress free, short flight…at first. We got off the plane and walked through the airport to baggage claim in relatively high spirits. We sat, and waited for the luggage to be unloaded, and we started to gather our things. Now because my God family is moving to Spain permanently, they have a lot of bags to keep track of. We got most of them, but there was one missing. So we waited, and waited, and waited some more until the airport was almost empty and there were just a few stray bags going round and round in a continual circle. We took stock of everything and discovered that, of course, the missing bag was the bag with all the expensive recording equipment, (Luckily my God father is smart enough to keep a lock on his equipment case). So my God father stood in line for an hour or so just to be told that the luggage got left in Frankfurt, but would be on the first flight the next morning. Tired, and annoyed we left the airport and called the hotel shuttle to pick us up. We finally got in the van around 11 pm and, luckily we had a very kind driver. He didn’t speak much english but we knew enough Spanish to communicate. After getting tot he hotel and getting settled for the night we went down to the little store in the lobby of the Barcelona Best Western (which is beautiful by the way highly recommend it) and bought sandwiches and water. For five of us it came to almost 50 Euro which is ridiculous for pre made sandwiches and bottles of water, but beggars can’t be choosers. I called my father and chatted for a bit and then drifted off into a very comfortable sleep.

The next morning we were out the door by 10am to meet the man who owns the house we have rented. He had graciously offered to pick us up from the hotel and take us to the house, but as soon as I saw his compact, four passenger car I looked at my oldest G-Brother and said, “There’s no way we are all fitting in THAT…” and I was right. 20 minutes, and a lot of failure to communicate later, I found myself sitting in the Best Western lobby waiting for the boys to get dropped off and for my G-father and the owner to come back and pick me up. I would say I was there a good three or four hours, but I had wifi so who’s complaining? Plus I had lunch at the hotel restaurant which, while a little expensive, was incredibly delicious and my waiter was a very nice man who forgave my poor Spanish and made conversation with me as far as I could communicate. Eventually I was picked up and we made our way to the house.

We are staying in a lovely little house in Torrelles de Foix which is about forty minutes outside of Barcelona by car. It is a neat little town with close set building and little alleyways where people hang their clothes out their windows and on lines across the sky.There is one little market with a meat counter in the back, and I’m pretty sure we now own the only box of cereal in the entire town. There is also a Panderia owned by a wonderful man named Pedro, and a meat and wine shop owned by a coupe names Jaime and Marcella. There are maybe two thousand people in the whole town and we have met a lot of them. Inclusing an Australian (that old travelers joke about Aussies being everywhere is so on the money).

The first time we went out we met Jaime and Marcella who let us try every one of their meats so we knew what we liked and wanted to buy. Next we met Pedro who is very kind and always up for a chat even though he speaks no English. then there is the restaurant/bar that serves the best coffee I’ve ever had in my entire life, where a young woman works who speaks Spanish, and apparently French as we learned after she served a french couple one night, but no English. Basically no one speaks English but they are all so incredibly kind and patient with our poor Spanish.

We also live about fifteen minutes out of Villa Franca which is a decent sized town where we go to buy groceries and essentials for the house. I can’t tell you how many times we have stopped to ask directions and someone has just dropped what they are doing to take us to where we are going. We even met an Englishman who took us to two different places to find Visa information, and THEN found us in a grocery store later to give more ideas on the solution to some of our problems. People here are so kind it’s staggering.

This post in getting incredibly long so I will save my Barcelona trip for another day, but my conclusion so far is that Spain is lovely and so are its people.

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The Great Postage Stamp Journey

Germany doesn’t actually have postage stamps. It’s not like America where I can just go to the grocery store and buy a book of stamps…actually it might be exactly like that, but since I speak little to no German it’s not like that at all. They do, however have postage stamp dispensing machines, but they only take Euro coins and they are a dime a dozen in Frankfurt. Unless you know exactly where to look you’re out of luck. I have 15 postcards I need to send at some point, and  I have been trying to find stamps since we got here. Today I finally decided I was going to find some if it killed me, so I set out this afternoon prepared for anything. I first looked up where the closest dispenser was to me. I took the U one stop, walked to the bus stop, took the 35 one stop in the wrong direction, then walked about five minutes to find one going the right direction, then took that 35 five stops. Then I walked to where it should have been, and there was no postage to be found. So I had two options, I could give up and go home and sit in my hot apartment, or I could go across town to where I know I had seen one two weeks ago when we went out for dinner. I decided what the heck? I had nothing better to do anyway. So I hopped on the U and went six stops to the Hauptwache, then one stop to Konstablewache, then three stops to the Hauptbahnhof, where I got on the 16 bus and went five or six stops to where I knew there was a machine right across from the bus stop. I finally found it, and then discovered that I had enough Euro coins to buy exactly six stamps. So I did, and then bought myself a cheap lunch to celebrate my success. Then I took the U back to the Hauptwache, one stop back to Konstablewache, and then the 18 the two stops back to my apartment. In total this adventure took me almost three hours, and all I have to show for it is a full belly and six stamps. Please, no applause.

The one thing that did come out of this day (other than my stamps obviously) is that when I ordered lunch, I managed to get through an entire interaction without having to ask the man to speak in English, or speaking in English myself. Granted, there were times when I didn’t know exactly what he said, but I could infer enough to get through the conversation. It made me feel really great to be honest, to be able to interact, in German with someone. Because here is the thing, when you love to travel, and you love other cultures as much as I do, you want to immerse yourself as deeply as possible in each one you encounter. I don’t want to force Germans to speak English to me just because I’m too lazy or slow to pick up their language. I want to respect their home and try to adapt to it as much as possible.

Honestly I wish my whole life could be like this. Just blogging, and reading, and traveling, and filming. Maybe it will be someday.

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We’re Having a Heat Wave and It’s Moving Day!

I grew up in Northern Colorado where, on a bad day, temperatures can reach the high eighties, and humidity is at about 28%. So when I moved to Tennessee where 75% humidity is normal and 80s is a good day in the summer, I was totally unprepared for how miserable I was going to be. I typically spend my summers in Colorado, if I can simply to avoid the heat. Well this year I moved to Germany instead where, incidentally, they are having a heat wave. This last week we have held at a steady 95-100 with 70% humidity, in a city where 75% of the housing are tiny apartments with no air conditioning. Yesterday as I sat in my God families apartment which is really just one small room, with five of us and one fan, I was thinking about how hot and unhappy I was when, like an angel sent from heaven, our friend knocked on the door and said, “do you want to go swimming?” I have never heard such a wonderful suggestion in my life. so thankfully we got to spend the 100 degree day in the swimming pool. But that night was a different story.I kept hoping to get a breeze through my window the last two nights but what I got was hot air and a sleepless night. Last night, at about 3am, between the singing drunk men outside and the heat, I was wide awake. I dragged myself to the bathroom, filled the tub with cold water and just sat there until I felt tired. I then put on as little clothing as possible, opened both windows in my living room and sprawled out on my couch with the hope of catching some sleep. Thankfully I got a few hours under my belt before I had to wake up for moving day.

We all know moving is a drag, so today I agreed to help a family I am friends with move their things from one apartment to their new one. I don’t know if you have ever tried to move when all you use is public transportation, but let me tell you it’s an adventure. First there is the challenge of actually having enough people to grab various boxes and bags. Then you have to get it all on the train without inconveniencing other passengers. And the truth is, we already get stared at when we are all together speaking english, you better believe we got some looks as a bunch of Americans carrying bizarre things through various train stations and down city streets. But we got it all done in two trips AND I found a bakery with my name on it, AND I finally found a hand fan so I don’t have to die in the heat during my commute, AND I found a fan to plug in by my bed so I can sleep, AND I got sushi for lunch/dinner. So overall it was a very successful day, but I wouldn’t complain if some rain wanted to come our way.

The one thing I do kind of like about having to leave all the windows open is Germany has every color of ladybug you can imagine, and they all fly in the house and crawl around my bedroom which doesn’t bother me one bit. They are supposed to be good luck, and even if they’re not, they are awfully pretty.

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A Romantic Interlude

There are a lot of people writing about the romance of Paris, and London, and Rome, but there are few people writing about the romance of Frankfurt, Germany, so if you’ll allow me, I would like to take a moment and step into that gap.

Frankfurt is a big city with all the charms of a small village. Life starts at 6am, when I can hear the bicycles and cars rushing past my window. Which I leave open because it is August and heat rises, so you can imagine, being four stories up, that I am kept nice and warm in the heat wave they call summer. The commuters of Frankfurt start the day, probably with a pastry, which can be found in any of the hundreds of bakeries on every corner, definitely with a cup of coffee, and perhaps even with a beer depending on how seriously they live by the, “5 o’clock somewhere” rule. The buses begin to fill with people on their way to work, or school, or just to run errands. Perhaps they are off to the market in Konstablewache square that brings fresh produce, flowers, and Bratwurst each Thursday. Perhaps they are going to the river to stroll by the water, or sit with a friend and talk in the cool of the early morning.

As the day progresses, and the sun gets higher in the sky, hundreds of people walk the streets, or ride down them in search of french fries, or curry, or more bread which seems to be a main staple here. They may take a stroll along the lock bridge where hundreds of locks with the names of hundreds of lovers are hanging from it’s metal siding. Or they may take their lunch to the old part of town and eat surrounded by buildings that could only be found in fairytales of old, inhabited by child eating witches, and little pigs.They pass the fountain with the lions heads, and the statue of David atop the severed limbs of Goliath. They meet each other, (one is always running into people they know on the streets of Frankfurt) and they stop to chat, seemly forgetting where they were headed in the first place, as if they had always full intended to meet this person and have this conversation.

After a long day the people pile back into the trains on their way back to their families. Or to Friedburger Platz where on Friday people gather with their friends, beers, and cigarettes, to sit, stand, and lean until someone finally says enough and goes home. Or maybe to the street lined with cafes filled with people drinking wine, where on the corner there is an ice cream shop that people travel from all around the city to eat Mango Sorbet and laugh at some joke I’m, unfortunately, too American to understand. As the sun begins to set, I sit in my windowsill and listen to the bells that ring out and seem to hover on the still, hot air like an angelic chorus. And finally by 10pm the sun has gone to bed and the stars have taken its place. The people have retired tot heir homes and just one or two stragglers wander the streets on their way to their own little flats on their own little streets.

I live with the awareness that I have never been to Paris, or London, or Rome, but that I do live in Frankfurt, if only for a little while, and it seems so wonderful I can’t imagine a place I could possible like better.

I began to feel a bit sad today when I thought of all my friends starting school again without me. And I’ll admit it does hurt a little bit every time I see a post about term starting up in a few weeks. Although it doesn’t hurt as much as the posts from old flames about new girls while I sit alone in my apartment and watch Netflix. And it’s not a real hurt, just a dull ache to think of my life back home and of time gone by. But then, as I began to pity myself I looked around. I realized that I am in Europe, living alone, serving the Kingdom, making new friends and new memories. Why on earth am I thinking about silly things like school starting up and old boes I don’t even have feelings for anymore? If I were there I would be wishing I was here, but I’m here and perfectly happy that I am. So the world can take its fall semesters and new romances and stuff it in a box. I will think about such things when I get home. I will start studying books when I stop studying architecture, history, and language. I will fall in love with a man when I stop falling in love with travel, and new friends, and God’s creation. And it will be a very long time before that happens. In the movie Sabrina one of the repeated lines is, “I found myself in Paris” well perhaps I am going through the process of “finding myself” in Frankfurt, if I believed in such a thing. I am becoming increasingly aware of my own independence, and more importantly of my own ability to thrive in such conditions. I no longer fear the unknown or the terrifying silence of being on my own. I embrace and welcome it as a chance to know myself better.

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