Friday, January 20, 2012

Georgia (and Germany) On Our Minds

AK's last day of school before Christmas break was Friday, December 16, so we scheduled our trip back to the US for that night.  Our flight was at 11:30 that evening, and none of us were looking forward to it.  On our trip over here in August, we had all enjoyed the benefits of a Singapore Air business class flight.  No such luck this time.  AK kept talking about her bed on the plane; we repeatedly prepared her for the small, confining seat that would barely recline.  Ben spends a lot of time in the front of the plane, and not even the thrill of travelling with his family could excite him about being in the back.  Way in the back.  As in, the very last four seats in the back. 

Before we boarded, we had a couple of hours to kill in the airport.  We settled in to wait near a piano.  Imagine our surprise when the pianist began to play "Georgia on My Mind". How did he know? Maybe the trip wouldn't be so bad after all.

Despite Air France's efforts to make our trip miserable before we even left Singapore by being unreasonable and uncooperative, the flight was surprisingly uneventful.  AK was asleep before we even took off, but B3 was there to be entertained.  He enjoyed a movie with his little Fisher Price earphones; he played an iPad game; he ate snacks, and he enjoyed the meal that was served.  All at the same time.  At 12:30 am.  I wanted to sleep, but I had to wait until he finally crashed. 

Since we weren't able to enjoy the direct business class flight from Newark this time, we opted for a long layover in Frankfurt. Ben had been there a few years ago during December, and he thought we'd enjoy visiting their Christmas Market. He knew the perfect hotel to stay in, too. We arrived early Saturday morning and left for Georgia on Sunday, so we had one day to play.

We enjoyed Burger King brunch (don't judge; when you're travelling with jet lagged kids, the path of least resistance is our favorite road to take) at the train station near our hotel, while we waited for our hotel room to be ready.  My Dad was stationed in Frankfurt during his Army years long ago, and it seems we ate our lunch in his old neighborhood. I'm sure it's much different now, but it was fun to talk to AK about that fun detail.
Finally, we were able to check in and put on our many layers.  We brought bits and pieces of winter clothes to Singapore, but no one had a complete winter outfit.  Pajama pants became long johns, and I borrowed Ben's fleece jacket since I had brought nothing warm for myself.  We needed all of the clothes we had; it was cold!  It felt a bit strange to wear hats and gloves and boots and scarves after nearly 5 months of wearing short sleeves and sandals. 

The Christmas Market was intriguing.  Never have I seen so many sausages. 

 Never have I seen such decorative sausages. 

Never have I smelled such sausages.  Yes, there were lots and LOTS of sausages!

 And the bratwurst tasted delicious. 

We did a little shopping, but we mostly oohed and ahhed over things we couldn't transport or couldn't afford. Or both.

One of the highlights for AK and B3 was the double decker carousel.  We didn't know the rules for riding, but we watched many people just go and choose a horse.  So, we did, too.  No sooner than I have both kids strapped on did the attendant approach me for our tickets. Oops.  We missed that detail. 

The snacks were plentiful, beautiful, and tempting  These, in particular, caught our eye, but we never tried one.    We finally figured out that they were marshmallow filled. 

Generally not a fan of pretzels, I made an exception for this one. All four of us were glad that I did! It was a soft, tasty pretzel covered in a thick layer of dark chocolate. Milk and white varieties were available, too, but if you know me, you'll know I didn't even give those a second glance.
Everyone loved the pretzel, and Ben also snacked on warm sugared nuts while AK enjoyed the most authentic and German snack of all: cotton candy. 

The market was packed, and the buildings around us were beautiful. 

After just awhile in the market, we headed back to our hotel.  It was cold, everyone was tired, and it was time to call it a day.  B3 and AK thoroughly enjoyed the views from our window.  They watched barges and boats on the Main River, and the lights in the cold winter sky made us thankful to be inside our warm hotel room. 

 B3 and AK were asleep by 6 pm, and they managed to sleep until nearly 6 the next morning. Our little stop over experiment worked well!  Frankfurt is definitely a city I'd like to return to in a more friendly season, but it was certainly worth visiting for the Christmas Market, too. 

Our flight to Atlanta was, again, surprisingly easy, but we were ready to be there far before we arrived.  I wish I had had a way to record AK running to her PaPa waiting for us at baggage claim.  It was so good to be back in the land of grits and all things familiar!


Jean said...

Very interesting! You are so good in "catching the moment" with your photos....loved the one with them sitting looking out the window!

Alicia said...

How is it that no matter how closely we observe how "they" are doing things, we miss some big detail, like tickets to ride? Love traveling!

Laura said...

Thanks for sharing your Christmas market trip. I've not been to the one in Frankfurt but going to the markets in Germany and other parts of Europe used to regularly be part of our Christmas build up before moving here, so it was nice to see some photos of a market.

Donna said...

So cool!! I bet that was such a nice, Christmas treat? Loved the pictures!