Saturday, February 21, 2009

Back to Frankfurt

Woke up earlier than expected today, for no apparent reason. We had a quick breakfast and headed back to downtown Delft; I wanted to see what it looks like in daylight.

Quite charming, I must say. There’s a cool farmers market thing going on there twice a week – Saturday being one of them, don’t know the other - all year round. Lots of restaurants and cafes, where you can sit outside, Euro-style (or, if you’re Canadian: Quebec-City-style) and sip awesome espresso while watching the world going on and about.

We were running out of time so we decided to hit the “New Church” in Delft – a main attraction, it turns out, as the Royal family is buried there. We had the option to either see the church or climb the tower. As I am much more fond of landscapes than of religion, I picked the latter. Paid 3 Euros each and we went to climb a little less than one million stairs all the way up.

The view from the top was breath-taking. Reminded me of the view you see when climbing a typical church tower in Prague – endless orange-topped houses, tall church towers in the horizon… what a relaxed atmosphere.

Mental note for the next time: bring a f**king camera.

After about 10 minutes of enjoying this exhilarating view, we had to climb down the exact same million steps. Took me a few minutes to regain my balance after this dizzying climb down…

Altogether a great experience.

We went back home, where I found out, to my dismay, that changing strings in an acoustic guitar is not entirely the same as for a classical / electric one. At the end, we managed to pull it off. Jeroen’s guitar will no longer cut the fingers of the poor human who plays it.

We killed another hour or so until it was time to hit Delft’s train station, so I can take the train to Amsterdam Centraal, on my way back to Frankfurt. We made it to the station in time. A few more minutes and we found ourselves bidding each other goodbye again – more than six months after bidding each other goodbye after Mark Knopfler’s “Kill to Get Crimson” tour. I thanked him dearly for making this visit such a delight.

Jeroen – thank you!

During the train ride back to Amsterdam, just as I was ready to declare that the sun doesn’t shine in The Netherlands, it happened: the sun showed its beautiful yellow face between the clouds. The view of The Netherlands is much, much better in the sun.

Alone again, reflections inwards are hard to avoid. I gaze through the window at the beautiful green embedded with numerous canals, sunlight intensifying the entire view into a celebration of colors, and I think.

I think how lucky I am to have the possibility of to travel the way I do. I am amazed by how different a person I become once attaching myself to a backpack. I love my work; yet my ultimate hobby is traveling, exploring, meeting new people, blending with what surrounds.

Something really bizarre, almost magical, happened while on the train. I was listening to Eddie Vedder’s “Guaranteed”. The song has two parts, separated by two minutes of silence.

The first part, which is sung (with lyrics), was playing. The pause has arrived, and I could notice some chatter in the rows in front of me. Turns out that there were two couples there, that somehow found out that they’re both from Texas. They started talking about their jobs, and how one couple is moving to Romania because of the guy’s work, and then the other couple telling about itself…

You know, like this kind of chatter between two strangers that have very little in common, each side just listens politely to the other side, waiting for the right moment to insert yet another sentence about himself, as if to make a point (“I, too, have life”). These artificial conversations… I don’t know, kind of make me sick.

And as they were talking on and on about the lives they have, which they’re certain they’re in control over, there came the second part in the song – this part is not sung, but hummed along with amazing guitar work. It’s just as if this song – which is a song about freedom and aversion of cold-hearted, artificially-polite relationships – came at once to rescue me from the useless chatter conducted by the same people the song talks about.

I arrived at Amsterdam Centraal and had about an hour to kill before taking the ICE (Inter-City Express) train back to Frankfurt. I decided to tour the city a little bit, which I did. But just for a bit – about 15 minutes – and I already had to go back to the station. I didn’t have much time, so I had to settle for a Burger King lunch (yuck!) and a moderately-ugly cappuccino.

The amazing ICE train left on 16:34 sharp, as planned. I quickly found my seat. In front of me, some girl found her own seat.

I listened to some music and, apparently, hummed a bit. She turned to me and said something which I couldn’t quite understand as the music was loud in my ears (even if it wasn’t, she was most likely speaking in Dutch so I wouldn’t understand anyway). I removed my headphones.

Me: “I’m sorry, was I humming too loudly?”

She: “Was it not… how you say it… clear?”


Me: “Yes, clear.”

She: “Beautiful.”

Somebody must have been having a terrible day.

About an hour later, already in Germany, the train stopped and a few policemen entered the train, escorted by a dog, probably looking for drugs. I was standing, as I was going to go to the restroom. Apparently that triggered some sort of curiosity in the policemen’s minds so they approached me, asked me a few questions and requested to see my ticket & passport. They asked the girl in front of me (the one who was having a terrible day – so I thought) whether we’re traveling together, to which we both were very happy to respond “no”.

As they left, I felt it was a good chance to break the ice and see whether what she was giving me was just a hint of a bad day she’s going through, or maybe a representative of her personality. She turned out to be quite a charming person. We talked about this and that for a few minutes before she had to leave the train in Dusseldorf. We agreed to keep in touch.

Past Dusseldorf, the ICE train gets in gear and cruises, at times, at 250+ km/h. Yet, by the time it arrives at the “Frankfurt am Main” station, I am already wiped. My ass has been parked in this comfortable seat for nearly 4 hours.

Frankfurt’s main transportation hub is truly an amazing place. You can see that some work has been done here in order to make people’s lives as easy as possible.

Holding my hotel’s reservation and the useless map that was attached to it, I left the station and approached an AMAZINGLY STUNNING WOMAN, to ask for help as I wasn’t sure whether I was facing North or South. It took a “gulp” or two before I was able to speak – she had this kind of beauty that makes your knees buckle if you’re a man, and to curse her to no end out of jealousy if you’re a woman. As beautiful as George W. Bush is stupid. THAT beautiful.

She probably felt that I’m a little stunned, as she stared to smile. At the end I got the information I needed and headed to the hotel, a very short walk (about 100m) away.

A few people appeared to have occupied the front-desk worker so I had to wait about 10 minutes before I got any service. I was sympathetic with this poor guy… they seemed to have given him some hard time. Within two minutes I was on my way to my room – a tiny room, yet a good value for the price you pay. It’s called “National Hotel” and is hereby recommended for short stays.

Unloaded my stuff and decided to head outside to explore and to eat, not necessarily in that order. I went to what appeared to be the main street, only to find that it’s rather dull and somewhat spooky to hang out in. Entered a cafe, found nothing I liked so I had a cup of tea. Couple of minutes later, I went out, heading back towards the hotel but took a detour through a street that appeared to have a lot going on. Indeed, a lot went on – a lot of peep-shows and other sex-related activities, that is. Very questionable people; I fled the scene.

Found a pub next to my hotel. 13 Euros bought me a semi-tasty roast beef sandwich and a pint of really good German draft beer.

Starting to feel exhausted, I headed back to my hotel room. Another great day passed by.

Tomorrow I’ll take my time in the morning. Have to be in Frankfurt airport by 11:30 or so; my flight to Toronto leaves at 1:30pm, and it’s going to be 8 hours and 50 minutes before we touch ground in YYZ.



1 comment:

Siddarth said...

Very Nice read this! I know the feeling that you went through with the Amazingly Beautiful Woman...Been there and done that my friend :)

By the way, hope to run into you during the MK tour next year!