This is a blog series about my European Tour 2009. Each blog post will have at least one song accompanied with it. Please read day 1, 2, 3, 4-5, 5.5, 6-7 & 8 before proceeding. If you haven’t downloaded the soundtrack for this blog series, please do so here. Song to be played while reading this blog post: Iron & Wine – Resurrection Fern.
Laying down along the grassy river bank on the Main, I looked upon the contrasting Frankfurt skyline of old and modern architecture that protruded on the opposite side. The sun danced through the soft, puffy clouds and a slight breeze floated along the river on this mild summer day. Taking a long breath, I closed my eyes and smiled. Today, I am halfway through my magnificent trip.
I arrived at Frankfurt HBF via bus from the Frankfurt Hahn airport early in the morning. Like always, I had no map and started to wander in this intriguing city. People often say that there is not much in Frankfurt, but for me, I’ve always been curious. It’s the most modern city in Germany, and yet there’ s still an old world presence in this German city.
Wandering through the red light district surrounding the train station, I found a main street to which I began to wander into the city on the Main. Everything I saw and passed was so modern and new. The architecture was sometime I expected back home in the States, but it still had a distinct German feel to it. From the outdoor mall to the neighborhood businesses, Frankfurt lived up to its claim of German’s most modern city.
And then, I emerged from a narrow street and was beheld this most spectacular sight:
The Römer left me speechless. I always wanted to see a traditional German town and now it’s right in front of me. This small bubble of Frankfurt was truly a gem. Hidden in a such a modern city, was such a rich and historical part of Germany. I couldn’t help myself but sit outside with a beer, raising my stein in a toast to Germany.
Crossing the Main, I found a green river bank sparsely populated by runners, tourists and locals as it laid below the skyline of Frankfurt. I found myself a clear grassy patch near a boat deli and laid down. The warm sun and light breeze breathed on my body as I pulled my eyes from the skyline to partly cloudy sky. I smiled. This was the best decision of my life. Though so much has gone wrong, this so far has been one of the best things that has ever happened to me.
Honestly, I’m still in disbelief that I’m doing this. I do not have a single regret. I have grown so much. Even though my heart is still broken, I once again realized that I can love again. Most importantly, I’m loving life and people. Honestly, I cannot complain. Wow, [the] John Pham of the past is still here, but he is by far more adventurous.
Smiling, I closed my eyes, chuckled to myself and, “I want to do this again next year.”
I opened my eyes and found myself still lying on the river bank. Apparently, I fell asleep along the river walk for the past 45 minutes. All this traveling has taken its toll on me and nothing is better or more delightful than taking a nap long such a beautiful river walk.
I left the embankment and crossed the river again, headed back to the hauptbahnhof. It turned out just a few weeks before I started the journey of a lifetime, I found out one of my good friends from high school just moved outside of Frankfurt. As much as I love traveling alone and meeting new people, it was nice to see a familiar face for a change.
Mark & I had a traditional German dinner in the Römer. After haven’t seeing him in over 3 years, it was great to catch up with him. There’s something to be said about talking to an old friend than all the amazing new people I have recently met. It’s nice to start off where you left off than starting from the beginning. I think Mark would agree too because it’s been too long since each of us has see someone familiar.
As the sun fell below the old German buildings in the Römer, dinner completed and both Mark & I were nursing our steins, I couldn’t think of a better way to end this relaxing day. Even though half of my journey is over, there’s still so much more to come.