When life gives you lemons, go ride Lemonade!

From Home to Frankfurt

Sunday March 5,2006

We are in Frankfurt.  We arrived on Thursday morning.  The first thing we did was get lost in the airport terminal.  We were looking for the KLM counter.  We wanted to ask them where their cargo terminal was, that is where our bike was supposed to be.  We finally found them in Terminal 2.  The cargo terminal was at Gate 31, on the opposite side of the airport.  But first we needed to get the insurance taken care of.

The German auto club ADAC sells the required "Green Card" insurance good all through Europe.  The easiest office to get to was downtown right near a stop on the U-bahn (underground commuter train).  This train also had a stop at the airport.  Getting the insurance was simple and cost 22 Euros/month.   Then back to the airport on the U-bahn and then a bus to Gate 31.  From Gate 31 it was a 3 kilometer walk to the warehouse.  The shipping company gave us the paper to take to the customs office.  It was a kilometer back along the road.  They stamped the papers without ever looking at the bike.  Then we walked back to the warehouse.  (This is getting tiring.)  The bike had been placed on a pallet and wrapped in black plastic and shrink-wrap.












When they brought it up to us it looked good at first.  then we noticed a crunch in the rear of the right saddlebag.  Not serious, but it did break the body piece below the turn signal.  This caused more paperwork.  I don't know if we'll ever get repaid when we fix it, but it is in their records that they had hit it on something while carrying it on the forklift, or hit it with something.

While getting the bike repacked to ride to our hotel it started to snow.  Not heavy or sticking to the road, but it was snowing!  And it continued to snow all afternoon.  We had picked a hotel from the Lonely Planet Guide based on price and parking availability.  It no longer has parking, so we went on to choice number two.  It was closed for remodeling.  Kathy noticed that there was a hotel next door, so we asked if they had parking.  It was named the Hotel Consul and they didn't really have parking but would let us park in front of their door and the price was alright too.  We took it for four days.

On the next day, Friday, it really continued to snow, four inches worth.  We left the bike parked and took a taxi to go find the new helmets we planned to buy.  These helmets are not available yet in the USA.  They are made by Schuberth and have Bluetooth communication built in to them.  We can talk to each other without cords.  Two taxi rides (50 Euros) and we found the right store.  It is the Zubehor-Shop-Frankfurt  We ordered them and they would be ready Saturday.  We went out sightseeing,.  We had all day tickets on the U-bahn and got our money's worth.  We had lunch in the Romer section of town.  It is the area where the city hall is and the only area to somewhat survive WWII bombing (although not undamaged).  It is the only area that was rebuilt to the traditional style.  The rest of downtown Frankfurt is very modern with glass covered skyscrapers that look like Manhattan.  Frankfurt is a major banking and business center at a location where nearly everything crossing Europe passes through it.  Nearly everyone here speaks some to fluent English.  Only one person has said they don't speak English, the clerk at the first hotel.  We have had no problem getting around, buying complicated things, and enjoying the city.  The biggest problem is not being able to read signs.  English is so common that the stops on the U-bahn are called out in German and English.  The restaurants in the Romer had English menus.  Even store clerks have enough English to understand us and answer us.  It almost seems like visiting a big city back home.  

On Saturday we went back to get the helmets and one of them would not talk to the other, so we left them until Monday and went out again on our all day U-bahn tickets.  They snow is melting slowly, but I don't want to drive in it.  We visited the flea market on the riverbank and had lunch again in the Romer, but at a different restaurant.

It's now Sunday, the sun is out, the snow is melting faster, our legs are very tired from three days of walking, so we're taking it easy.  It's time to catch our breath, rest up  and plan for tomorrow when we head south into France (after getting our new helmets).

On to Valencia.