Sunday, November 30, 2008

Idstein to Weisbaden

I made it. I made it without incident. The taxi was waiting for me, the hotel was open, and my luggage worked. I didn't sprain any ankles. The weather here is as it is in Kansas City, it is snowing and cold. I was excited as I rounded the highway and saw the town in the valley. We drove down the hill, past the fast food spots, and into town. I was excited to be back and happy to see my hotel. This evening I visited the Wiesbadener Christmas market in Wiesbaden with my friend Andreas. It was wonderful. Because of my injury last time, I didn’t get a chance to visit much outside of Idstein.
I took bus 271 from the bus stop outside of my hotel. It is about a 40 minute trip with frequent stops. I traveled and played a game on my Zune to pass the time. I finally got sick of the game and decided to look out the window. At the front of the bus, there is a digital display to show which stop is coming up. The stop coming up didn’t match my desired destination, but fortunately for me, I stopped playing my game because just as I put it away in my pocket, the bus came to a stop and outside I saw Andreas waiting for me. Thank you God I didn’t keep playing my game.
After embracing, Andreas began to take me down the streets of Weisbaden. The street, for an American, is confusing. I can never tell where it is okay for cars to drive and where it is pedestrian only. Somehow the people manage to co-exist peacefully with the cars. The city is a combination of old and new and is known for its upscale shopping. Since it was Sunday, all of the stores were closed, but not the Christmas Market, which was our destination.
The Christmas Market is located in the town square starting at the Hesen capital building and ending at the cathedral style Lutheran church. The decorations are not overdone. Just enough to let you know that this is the area for a Christmas market. The streets are lined with booths, one after another, each selling a variety of gifts. From wood carvings and dishes, to wine and crepes, it was a delight for tourist and resident alike.
My German guide took me to a back booth where there was less foot traffic. This was important because even when it is colder than 32 degrees, the market is packed full of people, shoulder to shoulder. This back booth was right next to the large Lutheran cathedral. At this booth, Andreas bought be some sort of hot wine drink. Since I don’t drink, it had a very interesting taste and went to my head fast since I had an empty stomach.
We ran into a person from the Idstein office and carried on a conversation for quite a while, much to this man’s wife’s dismay (I don’t think she spoke English well). After this conversation, we went into the church. The church is open all evening and has a rotation of quick services. People from the market go in and warm up and go back out. What Andreas thought was funny was that we were going in right after drinking wine.
This church was the highlight of the evening. I don’t have a good picture, but might get one when I go back on Tuesday. The interior was old. It had everything you would expect in a 150 year old cathedral style church. The service began with 15 minutes of organ music. It was beautiful the way the sound filled the church. You could really feel the uniqueness of the experience. The night before in the same church, my friend attended a 3 hour long concert of Bach. After the organ music, it was time to sing out of the hymnal. That was awesome. Since I missed my own church this morning, it was great to be able to worship in a foreign land in the foreign tongue as the hymnal was in German. I had no trouble reading it, even if I didn’t understand much of what I was saying.
I have definitely advanced my German skills as I am able to read, speak, and understand much more than my last trip. My brain has switched into German mode and I am constantly thinking of the German word instead of the English.
Following the quick service, we walked around a bit more and grabbed a quick bite to eat. We ate at a sausage stand. I was able to order and eat an authentic German Bratwurst. It was good. Andreas had suggested walking around again and getting more wine (it is like juice for them). I told him I didn’t think it would be a good idea for me. Instead, we made our way to the area of the bus stop. Since we had a half hour until the bus came, we decided to spend 20 minutes in a café. We ordered expresso, which is another drink I don’t drink, but it was neat to say that I had an expresso in a European café. Since the expresso is about the size of my thumb, we were able to finish quickly and make it to the bus stop.
The bus stop was strategically located in front of a restaurant that served one of my favorite foods over here, a Doner Kebab. I ran in and grabbed one for the ride home. I just finished it, and it was just as good as I remember. Andreas and I departed until tomorrow and I arrived at my hotel. It was a wonderful evening and solidified for me how much I love this country. Maybe I would like others too, but speaking the language a bit and having been here twice now, Germany is tops on my list to take my wife.


Kansas Bob said...

Great travelogue Scott.. the food has my mouth watering! I am assuming that this is some sort of business trip?

thejotus said...

I don't know Scott. Embracing, wine, sausages......if I didn't know you......

5CheeryO's said...

Hey, Jimmy, leave my man alone!

I for one thoroughly enjoyed this candid post... It's much better than all the other mumbo jumbo norm. (Ha, Ha just kidding, dear! Love you! Umm, I mean that part for Scott, not Jimmy.)

Thanks for the update, honey. I miss you.

jrchaard said...

This is a business trip, but I didn't get down to business until today. I am going back again on Tuesday, but this time with a camera that won't run out of batteries after 2 pictures.
Thank you for defending me against Jimmy, honey. He can be so mean. As for the wine, I thought it would be polite and how often do you get to drink wine in europe (added another thing to my bucket list)

clayson said...

Hey, Scott. Hope all went well in Germany. I look forward to seeing you tomorrow and finding out all the news.