Fröhliche Weihnachten! (Merry Christmas!)

When we booked this trip back in April, we were originally supposed to leave on Saturday night the 24th.  But a few months ago, our ATL to Frankfurt leg was cancelled and moved to the 23rd, leaving us with an unexpected 24-hour layover in Frankfurt. 

When we got on the plane, it was immediately apparent why the original flight was cancelled:  our flight was virtually empty. There were only 6 of us in business class, and the rest of the plane was about 1/3 full.  The fastest boarding process I’ve ever experienced! 

A welcome cocktail!

After a little champagne, a dinner of crab salad and braised veal, and a little side of a Justin Timberlake and Mila Kunis movie, I took an Ambien and went straight to sleep. 

A short while later, we arrived in Frankfurt and headed to the Lufthansa Welcome Lounge.  It was my first experience showering at an airport – and surprisingly, it was the opposite of the sketchy picture I had drawn in my head.  Super spacious, super clean, and I even had a little screen in my bathroom that said “Wilkommen Mrs. Bradley.”  Although I guess that does have a little bit of a “Big Brother” feeling to it…

 If you’ve never been to Germany in December before, you have to go.  I’ve been to Germany probably at least 6 times for work, and 3 of those times were in December.  For the month of December, most large German cities have a Christmas Market in the center of the town.  Imagine currywurst (sausage) stands next to gluhwein (mulled wine) stands next to rows and rows of vendors selling little Christmas crafts and gifts.  Combined with a giant Christmas tree and constant Christmas music, it’s basically my little slice of heaven and the reason I love Germany so much.  So here comes the sad part:  Christmas markets close on December 23rd.  Meaning that it was NOT open today in Frankfurt. 😦    

Weiner Schnitzel

Nevertheless, we made the best of our time here.  Our hotel was right in the middle of the main shopping district (the Zeil), so we joined the throngs of last minute shoppers.  We decided to channel our personas into little Lego characters – you can judge our work for yourselves. 

 
 

Some more window shopping, a little lunch of currywurst and weiner-schnitzel, and then we crashed.  Hard. 

So even though there was no Christmas market, the one thing that DOES happen on Christmas Eve in Frankfurt is a tradition called “Pealing of the Bells”.  At 5 pm, all 50 bells from the 10 downtown churches ring all at once for 30 minutes.  It only happens 4 times a year, so I was definitely looking forward to hearing it. 
 

When we took our nap, we didn’t set an alarm because as Brad put it, “Why do we need an alarm if the seventh circle of hell is going to chime at 5 pm?”  And chime it did… at 3:30, 5 pm, and 6 pm.  When the ringing in our ears finally stopped, we woke up and wandered around Romerburg Square, one of the most historic sections of Frankfurt.  The streets were full of people returning home from church – as well as full of empty champagne bottles and plastic cups from people reveling in the birth of Baby Jesus.

Romerburg Square

After a cozy traditional German dinner (including things like roasted pork knuckle, sour cabbage, potato dumplings, spaetzle, and apple strudel), we’re completely worn out and ready to crash again.  Our little stopover in Germany was a great way to spend Christmas Eve, and we hope that all of you have wonderful times with your families tonight, too.  Fröhliche Weihnachten!

 

4 thoughts on “Fröhliche Weihnachten! (Merry Christmas!)

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