We arrived yesterday at 5:25am at Frankfurt Main Airport. Thank goodness!!! What a long flight. We tried to be smart and get seats with extra legroom, but unfortunately those exit seats = prime real estate for people waiting in line for the bathroom. *Sigh*...
Romeo had the unfortunate seat on the end, and several times people would hold onto his TV in order to brace themselves walking by. If he hadn't been so tired, I'm pretty sure it would have pissed him off. Fortunately. we were both beyond exhausted and didn't pay much attention. The flight took off a little after midnight, and I was asleep almost immediately. I woke up about 30 minutes into the flight, got a toothbrush from the flight attendant, brushed my teeth and got my pillow, then went right back to sleep. They served a meal about and hour and a half in, and Romeo woke me up for that one. Afterwards, I fell back asleep.
I was so happy when I woke up and looked at my watch; it had been almost 5 hours! I had hoped that I could get some decent sleep on the flight, but sometimes it's difficult. Anyway, I dozed for a few more hours, then started to watch Oz the Great and Powerful, ate the provided, better-than-expected breakfast, and we landed not long after. They cut the movie off an hour before we landed in order to give an in-seat tai chi demonstration video. The people in the seat next to me followed long... I just laughed.
We landed early and headed to customs. The line was insane. This woman behind me kept pushing me, even though there was clearly a long line and pushing me wouldn't help move any quicker. Romeo and I were so delirious we started laughing at this sign. If you are an EU citizen, you were meant to go to a different line. The sign read in German and English, and we deduced that bürger in german means citizen. So we pondered: is a citizen of Hamburg a "Hambürger" or a "Hamburg bürger", and are thieves from the area referred to a "Hamburg bürger burglar"? Yes, these were our musings...
Finally we passed customs without incident, then went to collect our bags. While Romeo was in the restroom I managed to get all 5 of our bags off the conveyor *flexes muscles!*
We arrived at the arrivals gate around 6:15am. We didn't see Erin, so I managed to find some free WiFi and connect to send her a message. Since our flight landed almost an hour early, she had assumed we wouldn't be done with customs and baggage claim until almost 7am. However, thankfully, she was close enough and we only waited around 15 minutes for her.
Seeing her was super awesome!!! I was so thankful that she had her car, and we didn't need to navigate busses and trains with 8 pieces of luggage. We drove back to her home in Hofheim and I marveled at the architecture and how homes are actually homes, not massive apartment complexes. It really hit me at that moment: this was the first time in over 13 months that I've been outside of Asia! I've got to say, it feels pretty good!
We toured her home, which is absolutely gorgeous, met her mom, and had a snack. Apparently, Erin and her mom are doing the paleo diet, so I had a grilled cheese made with paleo bread. It was surprisingly very delicious! Her mom makes the bread, which is even more impressive!
After that, Romeo went for a run (on which he did get lost, as I predicted. However, he did manage to find his way home before we sent out the search party), and I took a much-needed shower. Around 10:30am, we got a wonderful and also much-needed NAP!
When I woke up around 1:30pm, I wasn't feeling very good - probably a combination of jet lag, allergy meds hangover (my throat's been bothering me a few days now), and eating airplane food. I took a bath, and it was like magic! When I got out and got ready, I felt much better!
We then went out on the patio and had some authentic German beers. They were ABSOLUTELY DELICIOUS!!! Maybe it's the fact that I haven't had easy access to decent beers in over a year, but these beers were scrumptious. We found out that Erin's dad' friend and friend's daughter were coming for dinner, so we got ready for that.
We had a nice little dinner party including: Erin, Erin's mom and dad, Romeo, myself, Steve (Erin's dad's work friend), and Lauren (Erin's dad's work friend's daughter). We ate Indian coconut chicken curry, homemade by Erin's mom (code name: Betty Crocker), as well as some maple spice cake (paleo cake, regular buttercream frosting). Amazing!
It ended up being both Erin's and Lauren's birthdays the following day, so we all decided to go to this local bar in town. We headed there around 9:30. I still wasn't feeling 100%, but for Erin's birthday, I sucked it up and we stayed out pretty late. After the bar closed, some guys who were friends with the owner invited us back in side for more shots, and who are we to refuse free shots?! (Well, the photo on the right shows how well I handled said free shot... lol)
Eventually we left and went to their home which was very close to Erin's. By then, I was totally over the night (being still jet-lagged, tired, and not feeling great), so I eventually wrangled everyone up to head home around 4am. As soon as we got in, I passed out!
This morning, I couldn't believe how early I woke up; the sun was barely peaking over the horizon. I took another bath (Erin's house is so nice but it's FREEZING!!) in order to warm up, which was nice with the barely dawning daylight coming in the windows. Around 9, I made my way downstairs and eventually everyone (except Romeo, who was still passed out), came down and we had the BEST breakfast: fresh rolls and breads, farmers market strawberries and fruits, hams and cheeses, yogurt, etc. It was delicious.
On that note, I'm seriously dreading leaving Erin's. It's been WONDERFUL to relax with a friend in a comfortable, normal sized home with fabulous regular food and great drinks and awesome people. The thought of heading back out on the road again is a little daunting!
Anyway, after breakfast, I took a shower and began seriously packing my backpack for the flight tonight. It was a bit of a task, but eventually I got it all sorted. I love my new backpack (ordered from REI thanks to another travel blogger's recommendations!), and I fit *most* things I wanted. Now, we are figuring out all our plans for getting to the airport, getting the bus from Pisa to Florence, then getting to Romeo's brother's hotel. Here we go!
Next stop: Florence, Italy!