Heading to Frankfurt

We got up early (6:30am) to walk the wall and to avoid the tourist traffic. Fortunately, we were able to walk the wall starting from the eastern edge (since our hotel was so close by). We were at roof top level with the houses, up about the third story of a typical house. The wall itself was not the smoothest surface, it felt like the creators had hurridly put everything together to get the structure up- level surfaces not a requirement. Needless to say we had to watch where we put our feet. Looking out away from the walled city, there were many holes for defense (arrow holes) pretty evenly spaced.

Overally I found the walk on the wall a wonderful experience, it really gave you a feel for the town. As a note, I am scared of heights, can't remember a time when I wasn't. But when I know about a task ahead of time- like walking along a 3 story tall wall- I can usually control my fear. Unfortunately there are two terrifying experiences that I won't forget. At one point, we scared two pigeons which about gave me a heart attack. The second point is where they didn't finish the wall (portions were destroyed during a devistating seige and WWII), For this section, they put in planks that creaked and shifted as you walked along them- about lost my nurve there. For Mark, he will probably never forge that he bumped his head at one of the intersections of the wall and a turret. In fact, all of the castles and ruins were built for much smaller individuals than Mark's 6'3".

We walked the wall one way, and since it is the long way around and we were getting hungry for breakfast, we headed strainght through town on our way back (after we purchased our German glass). Breakfast at the hotel was refreshing. We had our own table filled with fruity yogurt, a basket full of bread, a meat and cheese tray, apple juice, and slices of watermellon. (As a note I don't like mellons and neither does Mark, but that I ate half of that watermellon and enjoyed every bite- I seem to not be very picky about food when I am starving.) After gathering our things, we checked out and bought a turned wooden mushroom, the lady of the house gifted us another small matching mushroom too! What a wonderful hotel!

Heading back to the bus depot, we loaded up with other fellow tourists heading to the trainstation. After 2 trains and the amazing ICE (Germany's fastest train, with chairs of comfort, glass doors, digital displays of where you are headed and very little shaking as you move) we arrived in Frankfurt. After Mark talked with a train station attendant about how to get to the airport, we looked at a map in the train station and found our last German hostel. Before we headed out, we picked up lunch at the train station. Mark chose his trusty ham and cheese, but I was adventurous and selected a beautiful rasberry pastry with a creamy pudding in the center- it was gooy and wonderfully sweet!

Fortunately our hostel was really close to the train station and we made it there by 2pm. Unfortunately this was the first time that we would be in a room with roommates- we were a bit apprehensive. We put our stuff in two of the cabnet doors and rented locks from the front desk to keep everything safe. Then we were back on the street.

Our options for the day were either the Architectural museum next door or the botanical gardens. Well since we missed the gardens in Bonn (due to the short and odd times that they were open) and the gardens in Munich were mainly beer gardens, we headed down across the river to the gardens. Unfortuantely we couldn't figure out how to take the subway, so in condolences we purchased some grapes from a vender above the subway station and munched as we walked along a nice tree covered pedestrian walkway to the gardens- we arrived around 3pm.

Here again, our student IDs came in handy and we entered! Dead ahead was the palm house, all enclosed with beatiful orchids on display. I was facinated by the baby's tears that covered the ground- if only we could have a lawn full of lush baby's tears- wow. There was an impressive walkway across one of the ponds too, stepping on square pillars of roughened dark cement just an inch above the water, it made you feel like you were right on the surface. In a room next to the conservatory, there was a bright yellow banana exhibit- all in German, but it was a large show that seemed to talk about how bananas are grown, harvested and distributed around the world- we also happened across a game Junta about banana republics...

Heading outside, we walked through a happily blooming rose garden. After collecting some great pictures we headed back to the right and saw the oddest birds next to one of the garden's large ponds. They didn't even look like they could fly and they were definately not a species that I knew. Rather shy little things with black feathers flecked with white dots. Next we saw a school which has classes- could you imagine going to a school in a garden- I would never want to leave- a library and a garden- what more could you want?

We sat for a bit, encased in a juniper headge, to admire some malards and the pond before the school, then we headed to the cactus house which was actually two enclosed buildings in one. Each house had a climate slightly different. The first was very arid, hot and dry with hills of sand and rocks with many pointy species sprawling all over. Another was hot but steamy almost like a tropical greenhouse, but contained only wicked looking cacti. While I was excited to identify the species that I knew, I could not learn any new ones since all of the labels were in German and I am not familiar with many of the latin names.

Connected to the cactus house was the tropical house, where beautiful orchids hung and in one we heard a mima-bird calling soulfully. Stepping out from the humidity we encountered ponds of lotus and lilies. The lotus standing so tall were the perfect background to the flat lilies. Along with the typical tropical lilies, there were also some impressive giant water lilies- these had edges on the lily pads that stood above the water, like a lily pad boarder- although I couldn't think of a reason, perhaps some future frog family? On the oposite side of the pond were a row of colorful dalyas standing as tall as mark and in full bloom of rainbow colors.

Walking toward the sub antartic house, we past a prairie garden full of many familiar wildflowers and a happy peacock crying sadly- it reminded me of my gradma's house in south Texas when she kept peacocks- I would hear them cry so every morning. After sitting for a moment to contemplate a metal sculpture with white pebble like rocks all around it, we headed into the subantartic house. Unfortunately the subantartic house was not what we expected- just mainly lower growing veggitation, but the environment was rather like the tropical house, so we didn't hang out too long.

Past a large green lawn we saw a kiddy train stopping at its nearby station and the childrens playground hidden by tall bushes. But drawing our eyes were the beautiful dalyas of every color and spotted/stripped type imaginable. They were taller than Mark in some places and a really impressive sight- I wish I knew what they fed those monsters, mine only grow up to my knees at home.

As of now, we had just gone down one side of the Gardens and were now turning around to head back. This side of the garden was all outdoors with winding paths amongs the trees and plants. we headed into a small house full of blooming flowers- mainly begonias- and a loud waterfall. Back outside we admired the ferns under the trees and happened to notice an ice cream stand! I had a delicious peach and Mark a vanilla both in crunchy waffle cones. Sitting across from the rock garden we happily ate our treats.

Unfortunately the beauty of the garden was being dimmed at this point by our sore feet, so we headed back down the pedestrian walkway. On the way Mark noticed someone using a bong- out in broad daylight. I don't know the laws, but we had already assumed that bongs were accepted because every large trainstation that we went to had them for sale in pretty displays. Well now we saw one in action. Along the way, we stopped into a large game store and Mark picked up a little card game about trains while I sat and massaged my feet. Once back outside, we found a vendor selling gyros- he even had the big haunch of meat rotating behind him. While we were enjoying our meal, we watched a young girl feed the pegions- and then a toddling boy run through them. Fortunately city pegions just get out of your way when you stampeed through them, so the girl didn't loose many, but now the boy had other thoughts, mainly to catch a pigeon- which his coordination would not allow him to do at his young age, but it was rather comical for onlookers.

Heading back to our hostel we packed up for tomorrow's travels home and happily took some advil. Fortunately our roommates didn't arrive until rather late, so Mark and I were already ready for bed at that time. They were rather shocked that we weren't going to stay up all night with them- but then again they probably weren't up at 6:30am walking a wall in a town 3 train stops away. They were both very nice girls, one from Tiwan and the other, from a small town in Germany looking for an apprenticeship in town.

Posted by Laura @ 12:39 PM CDT [Previous] [Next]

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