1:15PM CST - 3 Jan 2011 - Dallas-Fort Worth Airport
I call my mother from the airport to say goodbye, and she reminds me why I'm leaving. I never thought this day would come, but I have a boarding pass tucked into my backpack, and my brand-new wool coat shoved into the crack in the airport chair. I suppose the Skylink train finally made it real, the frizzy redhead hanging on the pole opposite, smiling indulgingly. "Never done this before?" she asked, and I said I was from a small town; not exactly true, but close enough. The flight to Germany will gain me seven hours; the flight back, I'll actually go back in time. Negative time. Also, screw the world. I like Nickelback. Their songs are sexy.
5:39 vorm. GMT+1 - 4 Januar 2011 - Aboard the plane
Highlights from the flight from DFW -> FRA (to conclude in 1.25St.):
*Watched Life As We Know It
*Also part of Sherlock, before falling asleep
*Awoke with a massive Kopfschmerzen
*Ultimately, made use of the lovely motion sickness bag AA provided.
*Now feeling much better and ready for a day of frolicking in Frankfurt. Jet lag is a real thing, though. This time-difference nonsense is going to screw me up. I slept a bit, but I think I'm still a bit puny. Ah well. Germany!
2. Check off Blastoff
3. See some sights.
4. Tell everyone about it
5. Find out how trains work
6. Speak only German in public
7. Call E
8. Take > or = 1 photo each day.
03:47AM GMT +1 - 7 Jan 2011 - Frankfurt, DE
I don't know how "travel writers" do it. Traveling at all, at least if you want to see/talk with the locals, is exhausting. It takes so much time to simply befriend them that the idea of writing about the experience seems ridiculous to me. Then again, I haven't been completely immersing myself in the culture here in Frankfurt (tomorrow in Paris!). I spent 2 hours or more today online (there goes 4EUR) talking with folks, posting on FB, Gmail chatting with E. I really missed that, and it was great to get in touch with everybody. My bag is packed for tomorrow, but I have paper, so I will note my budget: $1000 became 675EUR, which isn't great, but okay, so my stashed $2800 is now $1800. Also, 4 spent ich nie (ich denke), 5 habe ich 15EUR gegebt, und heute 16EUR, ich denke. In summary: 4EUR - 2 sandwiches. .5EUR - Postkarten | 4EUR Fahrkarte | 10EUR Reservierung | 3EUR Grocerie | 4EUR Kugelschreiben | 5.5EUR Geld Exchange. The Reisegeld exchange was more, but I don't want to think about that.
Karottensaft ht honig in den, und I've eaten 4 sandwiches, 3 clementines, lots of tea, some terrible soup, and Karrotensaft since I've arrived. A bit frightening if one thinks too much, but I try not to. I have four clementines left, and maybe I will get a sandwich morgens, so that should do me 'til 1PM, when I arrive in France. In Frankfurt Brezeln, Kaffee, und Sandwiches sind wenigerest, but I'm sure it will be something else in Paris (or perhaps nie, if the rumors are true). So far I've tried to stick to a 20EUR pro Tage budget, since that works quite well, but I don't know how Paris will fit into that. Still, supermarkets should be good, no? One-hundred thirty-seven days until E. I miss him terribly, but Gmail chat and phone are saving us. The time in Stilly/Fayette has slightly prepared us for this, but I wonder how I will feel around the three-week point. That is usually when I break down...Still, it is good to know that we both still care, and to be able to talk often. I will hate school. <3>
Kathryn M. S.
09:25AM GMT+1 - 7 Januar 2011 - On ICE Zug 9556 nach Paris
I don't know what to write here. Three days in Frankfurt, and it feels like both no time and a lifetime. Two weeks here, I think I would think of myself as a Frankfurter (ha!) but that is partly the language. In Paris, I wonder if I will be more out of my depth because I do not speak the language, or less, because I can use English more. Then again, I don't speak German. I learned that in Frankfurt. My understanding is okay - 1/2 or 2/3 of a conversational vocabulary, but my ability to actually articulate a though, especially an intelligent thought, is severely limited or nonexistent. Still, although I visited no museums and traveled within the city almost none, I did have an enjoyable - and yes, educational - experience in Frankfurt. It was a landing place, a learning experience. training wheels, but it is a valuable visit in its own right. Their sandwiches are awesome, at least. I'm really glad the motion sickness that manifested itself on the plane and my first day in Frankfurt is done with. This train ride, and my trip in general, would be pretty horrible if not. While I am in Paris I think E will start classes again. Which means we will only be able to talk at specifically defined times (8PM or so, I think) in my evening, or, if he is awake late, my early morning. That'll really suck. No more calling him at 4AM, because at 11AM he'll be in class. I know he can call afterward, but that might be an hour, and usually by then my problem has run away again, and the moment of needing him is gone. Hoffenlich werden wir in Paris Skype haben. E's headed back to Tulsa sometime today, so he'll have access to the netbook, and therefore Skype. <3
12:13 GMT +1 - 7 Jan 2011 - TGV nach Paris
Should be there soon. Everyone on this train is coughing, and it drives me nuts. Really have no interest in getting sick. There is only French over the loudspeaker. I understand nie. So tired and hungry. Really want a restaurant meal.
2:50PM GMT+1 - 7 Jan 2011 - Paris, FR
My train arrived late (13:15 when it should have been 12:40) and I had some trouble on the metro (1hr to get where I needed) so A was not home. Thankfully I had suggested 5 as an acceptable later time, so we're meeting then. SO. I get to try my way at french food! Cafe Terminus Nation seems like a fairly nice place (waiters in vests, white shirts and aprons) but this is Paris. On the metro I saw both the best-dressed people I've ever seeen (fur coats, designer hats and purses, and hose mit high heels seems to be the norm for women) and some of the most frightening beggers? peddlers? I don't even know. Also, Paris (or at least this cafe) has the strangest most delicious chocolate thing. Probably ridiculously expensive, but it's like strange chocolate mouse. Served with the tiniest spoon, and I feel fat already. I need an excuse to hang around here longer, since window shopping in the dark isn't very much fun, and I really need a break from my backpack. The break and food is worth 20EUR, right? I don't understand how Parisians survive. They must be horribly in debt (possible), horribly rich (also), or getting some kind of discount I don't see. The city is beautiful, the food is great, but everything costs so MUCH (except the metro. That's even cheaper than Frankfurt.). Also I'm pretty sure this chocolate thing has about 3000kcal. It's so rich and so heavy - it's like eating whipped cream. Except heavier. Dense chocolate whipped cream. It's crazy! Also, NOTE TO SELF: NEXT TIME, SKIP DESSERT IN PARIS. You may be hungry. You may think you want it. YOU DO NOT WANT IT. IT'S TOO MUCH, TOO RICH, TOO SWEET. JUST SAY NO.
Oh my god. My tummy is so full, and there is STILL MORE. I am drowning in chocolate whip. It is killing me! I understand now a little of why the French take so long to eat. Otherwise, they would EXPLODE. Yeah. Pretty sure I'm going to explode. Eating, in this city, is definitely a group activity. Okay. One more bite down. 55 minutes until I can be back @ A's flat (reminder: 2nd floor means 2 flights of stairs), and let's say 10 min. walk, with the pack and the chocolate. 5 minutes for the check - maybe more, but let's say 5 - so that means 40 minutes more of eating. 37, since I've chatted my way out of a couple. Today I spend EUR1.70 on a metro ticket (12EUR for 10, have to figure out if that's a good deal), and some yet unnamed, but probably something like 25EUR on food. There goes my slack from Frankfurt. Paris is going to kill me, I know. Okay, EUR24 for the meal. I think I could have gotten away for less, but I'm an Okie and tipping well is important. I'm gonna get slaughtered here, I know it.
13:06 GMT+1 - 09 Jan 2011 - Paris, FR
And I am once again extremely tired and hungry, so although I have delicious tea (too hot), I think I will curl up and nap for a bit. Paris is wonderful and everything, but I think I need a few moments' break.