Germany & Italy 
day 1  july 15, 2003  Frankfurt, Germany
It is Tuesday. We are in Frankfurt, Germany. We got off the plane at about 7 am after taking off in LAX at 8 am. At the airport Jon dropped the Marriott phone twice while calling the shuttle. We wandered around the airport, stopping at every information booth in an attempt to locate the tourist information booth. They're 2 different things apparently. We never did find the place. We got our first euros (€) in Europe from an ATM. We'd bought some in the U.S. ahead of time, which we recommend. When we were asking where the Courtyard Marriott was, the lady told us about 12 kilometers away. Lisa asked, "Can we walk there?" She'd apparently never realized how far a kilometer was. Stupid American! The lady responded with, "It could take days."
When we walked outside the airport building, Lisa thought to herself and then outloud, "Wow! Look at all the nice taxis." It turns out they actually have quite a few Mercedes and BMW's over here in Germany, even the buses. Mercedes bus = riding with style. The shuttle showed up, but we couldn't figure out how to ask the driver if we needed to tip him or if he had change for a €5. We got to the Marriott. Wow! It was nice. Thanks Steve.
We then took a taxi through Frankfurt to find Jon's birthplace, Hospital zum Heilengeist. When we got there, we tried to find out where the maternity ward is or "Where is baby born?" (Jon's question translated from German). We saw the baby section and took some pictures. We walked back to the train station and caught a train to Bad Vilbel. From Bad Vilbel we walked 5.8 kilometers to Niederdorfelden, the small town Jon and his family lived for a year when he was there. For about 3 kilometers both ways, the highway was narrow, and we were walking on the shoulder that was about 6 inches wide with a guard rail next to that.
Niederdorfelden was a quaint town that at first we thought was all commercial until we found the residential district off a side route. We hardly saw anyone walking around. The streets were narrow, overshadowed by the tall 2 & 3 story apartment houses with painted roofs. The sidewalks were all stone & brick. The buildings were so tall that at the turns at corners there were mounted so cars could see. The town looked old, but most of the people there were young, that we say anyway. Maybe the old people were inside. We sat and rested, hoping to catch a bus back to Bad Vilbel with no luck. So we stopped to get some drinks and ice cream before we hit the road for 5.8 kilometers again. On the way to Niederdorfelden, we had stopped to get some water at McDonalds. Jon had asked for what he thought were two waters. The lady gave us 2 Sprites and asked for money. Bummer! The walk back from Niederdorfelden was far quicker it seemed, maybe because we knew where we were going by then.
The train back stopped in Griesheim, and we walked to the Marriott. On the way we stopped and bought water, because holy Smokey the Bear it was hot and by this time our legs were dead, and we couldn't help but cry out for the pool at the Marriott. We took a gamble on a shortcut through a forest. We affectionately called it Frankrassic Park and feared that compies were gonna eat us. It took us by a water station/plant and straight to the Marriott door by some dumb streak of luck.
We went to the pool, and yeah buddy it felt great. It was on the roof and overlooked Frankfurt and all the trees. We tried to fix our legs in the pool because they were exhausted. We figured that we walked over 10 miles after sitting on a plane for a whole day. We fell asleep on some chairs on the roof for a couple hours next to 2 other men in tight spandex suits I forgot to mention the old guy from Cape Town, South Africa. He was swimming laps and talked with us about his piano playing and the lady in Hawaii who was a miracle at the jazz piano and his looking for a jazz job in Santa Barbara because his wife just died.
We then ate dinner. Jon had lentil soup and Lisa cream of cauliflower, and we split a salad. It was great.
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