While on a trip recently I was sending emails in a travelogue form to a few close family and friends – have represented some of them here with some edits and removing personal details. Hope you enjoy reading them as much as we enjoyed the trip.
(For reference, S here refers to the husband who was with me on the trip)
We took the train to Wiesbaden in the evening. It was the first of our Eurail journey (we had a 6-day pass)…we got into a first class coupe for 6 but we were the only 2…what luxury! We kept exclaiming at the view…why don’t trains here have picture windows!! I took off my shoes and half lay down on 2 seats (ignoring S’s disapproving looks) and enjoyed the ride. You could order food but we weren’t hungry. It was a 4 hour journey to Frankfurt where we changed trains for a half hour ride to Wiesbaden. Hauling the luggage across trains is the only hassle about the Eurail travel…but S manfully did most of it while I trotted along. We reached Wiesbaden after dark…and the taxi refused politely to take us to the hotel. We were taken aback, until he patiently pointed to the hotel in the distance, about 300m away. So we chugged along to it (it was just 2 buildings away)…and got into the warmth since outside was quite chilly. It was the Dorint Pallas, a really good one, with a huge comfy bed, tv (S was happy), equipped bathroom etc etc. We had our usual argument about whether the bathrobe can be…err…’taken’ – but S won the day when he said it would be like taking the hairdryer. By now even I know he’s right, but this is one of our married-couples-rituals by now I guess!
We dressed and went down for drinks and dinner…I had a Mojito and S of course had beer. We ate chicken wings, “pomme frittes”, pork medallions and whatnot…yumyum! The discovery of the day for me were the wasabi balls…not the wasabi coated nuts which I’ve had here, but the whole tiny ball made of wasabi and not over-the-top spicy. I should have remembered to ask and buy some later, but who remembers stuff like that when you’re about to ‘adventure’?
And adventure it was. Since the conference was starting from the next day, S was tied up in the morning and most of the afternoon as well for the next few days. Which left me to my own devices *wicked grin*. I waved him goodbye early next morning like a good little wife – and then went off to explore Wiesbaden. This was the first time I was wandering around a city completely on my own (not counting the ones back home) and whether it was the novelty of being ‘alone tourist’ or whether it was because Wiesbaden is such a quaint, friendly, absolutely pretty place – I just fell in love. With the city, with the old architecture, and *cheesy alert* with myself. Might sound corny, but you really need to travel on your own to know what you’re like…and whether you even like yourself!
My first stop was the Information Centre at the train station which was at walking distance from the hotel (on trips I turn into this different person who wakes up early, loves walking, chats with to strangers). Unfortunately, this turned out to be a tiny centre more for the station itself, and no one spoke much English. Thus began the art of communication through charades (which was perfected over the remaining holiday). So by vigorous pointing and gesticulation the elderly man at the counter managed to convey the bus number and destination I need to get to (the city centre where the ‘proper’ Tourist Info Centre was located). What he didn’t manage to communicate was the direction of the bus I was to take, neither did it strike me to ask. So I happily boarded the bus and went off in the wrong direction. Around 2 stations later it struck me this wasn’t headed where I thought I should be going (the bus had a route map), and I looked around frantically for a “pull chain to stop train” kind of sign. There didn’t seem any point in getting into another bout of charades with the driver, so I quietly skipped out at the next station, hoping to catch the bus in the right direction this time (I did think of just going along this route to see where it takes me, but regretfully decided that since it’s the first day I’d better get my bearings first – and a map). This busstop happened to be a tiny one on a deserted street which was not promising. I stopped a passing old lady and tried to ask her for directions, but though she smiled at me and tried to understand, there wasn’t any English to be had out of her. Finally I encountered a young woman wearing the smartest knee length leather boots who spoke English, and we got onto the ‘right’ bus together from another busstop down the street. She was really sweet, and got down one stop earlier than she had to because she wanted to guide me to my destination – which was “Marktkirche”, in other words, the main market square which had the main church. And so began one of my best days on the trip!