Well we are approaching the end of the Marta family adventure in Hungary, Austria, Germany and Switzerland. Tomorrow the rest of the gang flies home, and Steve and I have a few days to relax before heading off to France.
Today we drove from Gengenbach to Frankfurt. The drive from Gengenbach is not physically long, but if there is an accident on the autobahn it becomes loooooong. I believe we sat almost still in a traffic jam for over 1 hour… perhaps 2… it is a bit of a blur. Luckily I had Paprika Pringles to pacify me 🙂
The autobahn is a thing of beauty most times. Trucks and buses stay in the right lane. Regular traffic in the middle lane, and speed demons in the left lane. At one point Steve was doing 150 in the middle lane and cars in the left lane were literally zooming past us. They had to be going 200 km/h. Steve was quite fond of our rental car… a Volvo… that didn’t feel like it was going that fast at all. Apparently it “handles” very well… whatever that means 🙂
When we finally got close to the Frankfurt airport to drop off our rental car it became a bit confusing even with the Google Maps Lady guiding us. We missed it the first time, which ended up being convenient because then we found the gas station. The car rental contract says if you don’t fill up with gas within 21 miles they will charge you 300 Euros! That is incentive to remember to fill up! Conveniently the gas station was on our detour, and after getting gas, on our second attempt to find the car rental drop off, we were successful! It helped that they had a Hertz guy standing outside waving us in… I’m not confident we would have seen it otherwise 🙂
We opted to stay at the Hilton Garden Inn at the airport because it was convenient for the people flying out, it was relatively cheap for a big city (only 70 Euros a night for the deal I found!), and there are excellent train connections so Steve and I could go into Frankfurt or to other towns before we headed off to France. I would totally stay here again. The hotel was terrific, comfortable and convenient. They even had a coin washer and dryer which was necessary, as we discovered waschsalons (laundromats) are not “customary” in the South of Germany!
That evening, Angie and Senne had arranged for us to meet some Marta (Martha over here!) cousins who live near Frankfurt. They met us at the airport, where we had dinner together. It was quite interesting to meet them. I hope I get this right. Their dad was the brother of Steve’s dad. Their English was considerably better than my German which was helpful.
I think we all enjoyed getting to know each other. They all seemed very kind and friendly. Alois in particular reminded me of Steve. They had some things in common, most noticeably martial arts. I thought I could also see a family resemblance between the two of them, which makes sense because I think Steve looks a lot like photos of his grandfather.
After dinner and an extended visit at a coffee shop they headed home and the rest of the Martas prepared for the journey home tomorrow.
In the morning we saw them off at the airport. It was sad to see them go, but exciting to be starting the next part of our adventure.
#1 on our list was to do NOTHING! We are not used to the non-stop moving type of travelling. We like to stay put for at least a few days. We explore, we eat, and we relax. We spent the first day doing laundry, watching movies, napping, and basically doing nothing!
The second day we headed into Frankfurt for the day. It is pretty easy from the airport. They have a regional and long distance train station right in the airport. We just went into the regional station, bought a day pass, and took the train into Frankfurt. I had planned to get off at Hauptwache (sp?), but the train terminated at the Hautbahnhof (main station), so we just go off there and decided to walk.
We both felt like Frankfurt is not really a tourist town, it seems like more of a business centre. There was a small historical area, but most of what we saw seemed very modern.
Nonetheless we had a nice walk, took some photos, had some lunch, and then headed back to the airport for more relaxing. I’ll just include a few of the photos we took of the interesting things we saw today.
Tomorrow we fly to Nice!