We woke up late again because, apparently, we just aren’t going to adjust to this time difference. Or maybe we are both chronically tired after spending the last three years in a terrifying capitalist doomscape that’s conditioned us to be on-call 2
4/7. Anyway, we skidded through the icy Munich streets to grab a sandwich before hopping onto the next train. We actually had enough time for Richie to go to Starbucks (I know, I know), but I have to say that my white chocolate mocha was the best one from the franchise I’ve ever had—the ratio was perfect. The only downside to the morning was that we had to ride backwards all the way to Frankfurt.
Unfortunately, I didn’t fall asleep like I usually do when I have motion sickness, which meant that I was a mess when we got to the station. The first thing I noticed when we got off the train was how much dirtier Frankfurt is than Munich or Venice as if the economic depression after WWII never left. When we told our German housemates we were visiting, the first question they asked was, “Why?” Is Frankfurt the Gary, Indiana, of Germany?
On the flip side, our hostel was close to the train station, and they let us check in early, which was fantastic. Our room here was nicer than in Munich, despite being owned by the same company, and there was a little bit of street noise that was soothing for a chronic city girl like me. Once I had some water and Richie had a nap, we took off in search of a Christmas market. The ones here spread out over several blocks, and, despite the rain, they were charming and full. No wonder since it was the last day for them! To appreciate such a momentous occasion, we shared a bowl of the best tomato soup I’ve ever had. That could be my last meal, and I’d be satisfied.
After that transcendent experience, we wandered in the drizzle and found some mulled wine, some charming Christmas ornaments, and a wooden train set with our initials. At this point, Richie’s German had gotten quite good, to the point that he was telling everyone that we were on our honeymoon. Some folks would say, “Oh, nice,” but others would give us an extra treat. Part of me wonders how long we can get away with looking like newlyweds and it be cute.
While waiting, we bumped into my younger brother and his new wife. I say bumped as though a transatlantic bump-in is possible, but seeing him there was such a trip. It was also a trip to see him look as happy as he did, relaxed. His wife is sweet and asks good questions, which is always a green flag. Together we wandered the stalls for a few hours, ate more food, drank more wine, and had some nice conversations. My brother and I talked a lot about our childhood. Part of me marveled at how two people with the same experience could remember it so differently.
As it got later and the lines got longer, the four of us stood underneath the awning of a food stall and watched the carousel go around and around. It was a double-decker piece with all sorts of beasts. It was mesmerizing and made the time slip by. Eventually, it was time to say farewell so they could catch their train back home. Richie and I walked back to the hostel, only for me to tell him that I was, somehow, hungry again. Quick as a flash, he managed to find us half a chicken to share from a street vendor. It was the perfect way to end a long day.
The final words in my journal: My husband is a wonderful man.