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The bus rides from Edinburgh to and London to Frankfurt are a bit of a blur now. Thankfully the first one, I slept the whole way really, and got into the city at 6 or 7am. I left my luggage at the bus station and wandered around the city for a few hours. Saw some things, Big Ben and the palace, and some other cool stuff, sat and chilled here and there. The ride to Frankfurt was a bit more uncomfortable and made a lot of stops. One stop in the middle of night in Belgium, we all got excited because a lot of people got off, but then the same amount got back on, so we never got to spread out. It was quite an international crowd and for a little bit everyone shared their stories and how many languages they spoke. Most had at least 3 if not 5. Getting into Frankfurt at 6am I was sleepy and went in search of my hostel for really just a place to sit until I could check in. The main station in Frankfurt is right near the red light district, which is where my hostel was. Wandering with all my stuff through the dirty streets on an early Saturday morning was quite disconcerting when I couldn’t figure out where I was going right away, as I reread the directions and kept starting over at the station until I finally found it. It was actually a really nice hostel and I got to lock up my stuff and have a nice unlimited breakfast as I read and wrote and prepared myself for the day. After a more than sufficient amount of coffee I went to wander around the city, and as soon as I got out of the small red light radius, I realized Frankfurt was actually a really nice city and was soon very excited to be in Germany for a few weeks. The river was lovely, as well as the old town and the main strip of stores and shops and restaurants. They had an open market and so many people out and about and sitting out under umbrellas. I got very excited to be in Germany for a few weeks!
I went on the ‘alternative’ free walking tour and our guide told us all a little history of Frankfurt and about the red light district and the safe houses for drug users to come to use drugs with clean needles, and get help, of course. (There were statues of the Blues Brothers on the balconies of the most popular brothel, Chicago!) Frankfurt is a hub for business and there’s a good amount of culture. She pointed out some stumble stone Jewish memorials, the boat on the river that serves food really late and is a meeting place for locals, and that Apple wine is a regional favorite. It was a really good tour.
I made my way back to the hostel to check into my room and get ready for the dinner that was put on for the volunteers for our week in the countryside of ‘teaching’ English to some Germans. I had no idea what to expect from this week but it started with a free Italian meal, so I went with it. It was a little hard to find and I was glad that the girl from the hostel had written me such good instructions. The ladies leading the group were lovely and welcomed me in and I sat next to an Australian couple and a man from England. They were all very nice and we exchanged stories and everyone got to know one another a bit. Some had done things like this before and some were new to the experience. It was a diverse mix of people.
I got a good nights’ sleep and woke up to get my stuff together and meet the others at the bus that would take us all to the countryside. A few of the German students came along, too, and we went to have lunch at this lovely little hotel set along the forest. The rest of the students filtered in and we started in on our slightly awkward getting to know each other conversations (in broken English). I had no idea how much I would grow to respect and admire these people within the coming week.