9 Dec 2011: After a long 14-hour flight from Singapore via Dubai, we arrived at Frankfurt Airport, exhausted but excited about spending winter in Germany.
The trolleys at the airport require €2 coin which none of us had, but we had expected payment and so were ready to do without. My brother-in-law, F, arrived as we exited the hall. He had just attended my niece’s solo performance and left the concert midway to pick us up. We were sorry to have missed her concert. F’s friend, H, had also just arrived home from a business trip at the same time and kindly offered to give some of us a lift to ease the human and luggage space.
Mom and I went with F. As soon as he accelerated on the Autobahn, Mom told F to slow down. I too said a silent prayer – I have never sat in a 160km/hr speeding car before. I did feel silly though, after all, F drives to and from Frankfurt daily for work and I really must trust his driving. After that, F decided Mom should go into Ade’s car for future journeys. Why drive an Audi S8 when you can’t speed right?
We arrived at my sister’s ‘Mansion’, cold and hungry, but still impressed by the size and cleanliness of the house. Other than a weekly part-time maid, they, as we soon learn, are rather particular about tidiness and cleanliness. All utensils have their proper place in the kitchen cupboards and must be stored away as soon as possible, thereby avoiding clutter and other eyesores. My sister walks around with her eyes train to the floor for any specks, for which she’ll immediately pick up by pressing her fingers on it. The kids try hard, but we soon witnessed the first of many reprimands between father and daughter about keeping her room clean.
Sis arrived home not long after with the kids and pizzas for dinner. The kids sat in the kitchen island while the adults sat proper in the dining room adjacent, very carefull with our tomato sauce-laden pizzas so as not to leave any stain on the white table cloth. Sis bought so many boxes of pizzas and was surprised at the leftovers.
We were shown to our room at the basement. A room for mom and a hall for the rest of us. Warm and cozy – in fact, so warm that we had to open a window to sleep nightly.
The next morning, Mike and I took a walk around the Rosbach neighbourhood. It’s a charming little neighbourhood. The sun was just rising in the cold winter morning but icicles were still visible. There was a pond next to a church and ducks were swimming merrily.
After a sumptuous breakfast of typical German staple consisting of bread/rolls/toast and various cuts of hams, we departed for the historical city of Heidelberg. The most famous landmark in Heidelberg is the castle ruin and old bridge. It was packed full of tourists. We also visited the first of many Christmas markets in Germany. The Christmas market sells Christmas pastries, handicrafts, Glühwein (a hot wine) and lots of sausages. Aaron couldn’t resist and bought his first of many ‘Christmas market’ sausages while waiting for the others to arrive.
By four pm, the sky darkened and we made our way home. Mike was going to cook tonight and everyone was looking forward to it. (Just one day only and we were already craving for Chinese food.) It was a bad plan, as we had to go marketing prior to cooking and by the time dinner was served, it was 9.30pm. Aaron was jet-lagged and did not wake up for dinner.
The next morning, Sunday, we drove to Rheingau, a wine region an hour’s drive from Frankfurt. F had booked a nice restaurant with a panoramic view of the vine yards.
After that, we drove home as Mike had plan to fry beehoon and we did not want to repeat the previous night’s mistake of turning dinner into supper.
12 Dec 2011 : Monday is a working day for F and school day for the kids. The visitors woke up late and F had already departed for work at 6.30am and Nat to school. To my sister’s astonishment, she did not protest when being sent to school even though her brother would miss kindergarten.
Sis took us shopping at Frankfurt, where we visited the Christmas market at the famous Frankfurt Square, before proceeding to a nice Chinese restaurant in a hotel for ‘business lunch’, as the Japanese restaurant she had first suggested was closed and she did not want to disappoint us about getting Asian food.
That night, the men went to Frankfurt stadium to support Frankfurt SC in the German second league games. It was the boys’ first time attending a soccer match and they were on a high, especially when they had front row seats.
That soccer match was a perfect end to our first leg of our German trip.
Next : Stuttgart