Book 3. Ah Deutschland! I cannot express enough how glad I am to be in Frankfurt on my layover instead of, say, Bangkok or Manila. Not to discount either place, but the weather is cool--even cold--here and where I am going is hotter than hell. If I am not going to Hell itself. ‘Enough negativity,’ I tell myself. Micronesia will be another book in the multivolume series that is my life, and it will most certainly be a page-turning tome if I have anything to do with it. But first I have to return for a third solo visit to Germany and continue my favorite tradition of arriving exhausted in the middle of the night.
And how I urge you to do the same, dear reader. If you haven’t arrived in one of the many cities in Germany in between the hours of 11 pm and 5 am, I hate to tell you that you’ve missed out. Why? Well, to begin it must be mentioned that Germany is safe, and likely the least dangerous country in the world. So if waddling around cities in the wee small hours is something that gives you pause, a Hamburg hustle or a midnight Munich March will do you no harm. Second, you must see Germany at night because it is so empty, and you will get the city to yourself. Nowhere in the country, except perhaps Berlin, has round-the-clock nightlife, and you will be free to snap pictures of medieval churches or Soviet-era factories in their most pacific.
I stroll through the Red Light District between the metro and downtown, where it isn’t clear if the brothels, strip clubs, and sex shops are open. Lights are on, and the streetcorners are occupied by the occasional groups of homeless still out drinking and telling stories long after the bar folk have gone to bed. I make visits at all of the historic sites, including medieval town hall Römer, Frankfurt Cathedral, and the molasses Mainz. By the time I arrive at the riverfront, the morning jogger crowd is hopping around in brighter colors than the rising sun, and I am ready for breakfast. Unfortunately, no currywurst shops are open yet, so I shiver into a McDonald’s and order a coffee and some french fries to revive my now day-long conscious body. To further sharpen my mind, I do my daily language study and sip my coffee until the sun illuminates the sign across the street for aptly-named McFit Gym. The worst is over, the wurst is yet to come.
Ilse Schreiber is known for her sausage shop stationed in a food hall in central Frankfurt. I make a beeline there immediately after it opens at 8 o’clock, and am disheartened, to say the least, when I learn she neither accepts credit cards nor serves my favorite Germanish creation of currywurst. She tells me there is a cash machine around the corner, but I haven’t the heart to tell her my bank card is somewhere in Djibouti right now, either at the bottom of an ATM or in the wallet of some sly card thief. I tell her I’ll be back, though I know for a fact I will not be. The trip to the food hall is not a total loss, however, because I find a nursery that does accept cards, and I purchase some seeds hoping that I’ll be able to grow some peppers or lettuce in my new island home.
In the train station, where I await the express to Frankfurt Flughafen, or “airport,” a tiny kiosk selling various sausages (and accompanying sauces) catches my eye, my heart, and all of the blood that courses between them. I order a currywurst and a bratwurst, the latter supplied amply with a spicy mustard. To complete the Germanity of it all, I order a sparkling apple juice and go to town before leaving town.
Victor Bernabei is just another millenial travel blogger. But here's the twist: He isn't a millenial! His goal is to see as many countries as he can, and spread the message that the world is not as scary as the news wants you to believe, and that there is beauty in all people, places and things.