This is what I have been waiting for; my first layover! I had been mentally preparing myself for this for weeks because I knew as soon as I landed in Germany, I wasn’t going to be able to control my excitement. And I was right. We got on the bus and started heading to the hotel and my head was glued to the window the entire time. I was looking around, trying to see all I could from the trip. The first thing I noticed was the houses. It really looked like the movies where all the houses looked similar, with the wires going into them, and just had this look to them, like very European. Nothing you would see in America. They sort of looked run down as compared to what I’m use to, but I know that wasn’t the case. There were 17 of us on board and once we all checked into out beautiful hotel (Side note: my room number was 726, which as most of you know, that was the first 3 digits of my phone number back home. Coincidence? I think not!), everyone said they were going to sleep, even though it was 3:00pm. I was like no way, I’m going out to explore. So me and one of the other girls, Stanislava, decided to change real quick and go walking. It was slightly chilly outside, so a sweater was called for, which was a nice change from this crazy Dubai weather. We walked down the street and caught the tram downtown. I was in heaven! It was so beautiful and like nothing I’ve ever seen before. I really did feel like I was watching a movie. Just looking at the architecture and historical sights were breathtaking and something I am new to. So I ran around the city, like a total tourist with my camera out the entire time, snapping as many pictures as I could and bugging people to take pictures of us.
We did a bit of window shopping and I bought a few things from the pharmacy as Dubai is so expensive! Stanislava then suggested that I needed to have my first German beer and I completely agreed with her. So we found this cute little restaurant on the street and sat in the little bit of sun that was out and I enjoyed my first real German beer. I’m not a big beer drinker, but something just made it taste so good. As we were shooting the breeze and drinking, I was just so happy that I had finally made it here and knew it has all been worth it.
We headed back to the hotel to get ready for dinner. We met a few of the crew and both pilots downstairs for Happy Hour. Right before we were heading out for dinner, a guy sitting at the table next to us yelled “that sounds like an American over there.” Everyone was laughing so hard and I was so excited to meet him as I don’t meet many Americans in Dubai or at my job. His name is Hank and he is from New York. He was visiting some friends in Frankfurt that he had met on a cruise about 6 years ago and every year they plan their vacations together. Such an interesting story and why I love talking to everyone.
On our way to dinner, I saw this street called ‘Hamburger Allee’. Obviously, it was referring to the city of Hamburg and Allee is their name for street, road, etc. But I loved this simply because one of the first places I saw earlier in the day was a McDonald’s and I thought to myself, a McDonald’s would be perfect on this street.. you know, McDonalds, Hamburger (laugh with me here).
Se we headed to dinner at this little restaurant called Fido’s downtown. It was exactly how I would picture a small European diner; cozy and intimate. We were greeted by Laurie, the restaurant owner, manager, bartender, hostess, waitress, chef, etc. While she was a bit “crazy” she made the experience so wonderful. She told us these crazy stories and we just drank and laughed all night long. I had my first authentic German meal; roasted pig knuckle with white cabbage and fried potatoes. It was delicious!
We must have been there for hours as we all just sat around laughing and sharing stories. Working with such an international crew, you get to experience so much. From the 7 of us that went to dinner our nationalities were American, British, South African, Norwegian, Bulgarian, Italian, and Polish. We headed out about 10:30 and when I walked into the street, I noticed the sun was still shining in the distance and there was still light in the sky. So amazing to be in different parts of the world! The pilot suggested we walk across the street to this little wine bar that was below ground. As we went down this back alley to get there, once again I was like gosh, this is so movie-like! We had to walk down these small steps and the ground was all cobblestone. We walked in and it was the cutest bar I had ever been to! It was really small with fire places all around and just about any type of wine you could imagine. We then went outside to this little patio they had with benches and just talked some more. It was getting pretty cold by now and I had forgotten what it was like to not be sweating every time I was outside. Around midnight we all decided to call it a night and head back to the hotel. I was beat as I hadn’t stopped since the early morning, but it was so worth it. I think I was asleep before my head hit the pillow.
The next morning I woke up pretty early, probably because Germany is 2 hours behind Dubai time, which was great because I was ready to go for the day. I headed to the restaurant in the hotel lobby and had a wonderful breakfast full of sausage and meatballs; only in Germany! And of course there was some watermelon on the buffet so I had to grab a bit. Stanislava joined me as I was sitting down and we had a really nice table along the windows that looked out onto the terrace gardens and a small stream behind the hotel. It was a little gray outside and was tying to rain, so I grabbed my jacket and we went for a quick walk. We stopped by the supermarket and grabbed a few items that I couldn’t find back in Dubai and then to top off my trip, I got a REAL bottle of Jagermeister. Totally written in German on the bottle. I knew at this point my trip couldn’t get any better. Except for the fact that as were walking I heard an ambulance in the distance getting closer and I was sooooo excited because it had that siren that we don’t have the in US, you know the whole *beep, beep* *beep, beep*. Ok, that was a really, really bad impression. Just watch a movie and you will know what I’m talking about. Kind of reminded me of a scene from a German Nazi movie, maybe Sound of Music or something like that. I was so impressed that I took my camera out and actually took a video of the ambulance going down the street just so I could hear the siren again. Lame! Lame! Lame!
I got back to my room and wrote out a few postcards (you know who you are, so be checking your mailboxes) and just watched the news a bit. It was nice to have an American station, CNN. I just took the morning slow and then started packing to head to the airport. Just as we were loading onto the bus, it started to rain and I said yep, Frankfurt is sad that I’m leaving!
I had such an amazing trip and now I know why I worked so hard in training to get where I’m at today! I got my roster for July today and I will be going to…. Manila, Phillipines; Madrid, Brisbane, Birmingham (UK, NOT Alabama Leigh-Anne!), and Auckland, New Zealand! I’m off to China in the morning and can’t wait to see what this trip holds!