I arrived in Frankfurt after eating a breakfast of yogurt on the plane. After exchanging my dollars for euros, I headed downstairs to customs.
The line was enormous and I was a little nervous after hearing how intense the custom agents could be from my cousins. I eventually made my way to the front where I was greeted by a very polite German man. He asked me what my purpose was in Germany, where I was staying, and when I was leaving. I answered that I was there for fun, that I’d be staying in Munich, and that I’d be leaving in a week… I mean my return flight is in a week. Is this your first time in Germany?, he asked. It’s my first time to Europe, I replied. He said, have fun! I’ll try!, I said as I nervously walked away.
After leaving the airport, I walked into the train station where I found 30 minutes of free wifi. I got onto WhatsApp to check in with my family before as I had plenty of time before my bus would pick me up. My dad, however, suggested I stop hanging out in the train station and see the city, check out some of the local sights, he suggested, St. Bartholomew’s Cathedral. I found my way t the friendly tourist information clerk and asked her where the Cathedral was. She pulled out a map and highlighted the way.
I headed out, trying my best to follow the directions the kind woman had given me, but the street names were confusing and I eventually got somewhat lost. After wandering for a while, I saw a cross hanging in the sky and thought, that’s probably it.
I walked towards the cross and entered Frankfurt’s Old Town which was filled with lots of beautiful old architecture and wonderful cobbled streets.
When I finally reached St. Bartholomew’s Cathedral, I entered to find they were holding a service. There’s always something magical about walking into an old chapel and being embraced by a singing choir. Moments like that are the closest to spiritual I have ever felt.
After leaving the Cathedral, I headed towards the bus stop to wait for my bus. The sign showed that the bus was 10 minutes late. Okay, I thought to myself, that should be fine. My friend Chris was going to meet me at the bus stop, but I doubted 10 minutes would be too much for him. 15 minutes later, and no bus in sight. I asked the gentleman at the desk if I had somehow missed my bus. He called his boss and informed me that the bus was actually running 40 minutes late. At this point, my phone was completely dead from talking with my family, so I couldn’t call my friend, Chris. I waited in the parking lot for the next 25 minutes.
When the bus finally came, I boarded and was lucky enough to befriend a German boy named Massimo. We talked about music and movies and TV shows while small towns and beautiful groves rolled past us. Massimo got off a stop before mine, but by this time, I had befriended a guy from Georgia. He was a huge Lakers fan and loved all things basketball. I was able to talk to him about basketball until we arrived at the central Munich bus station.
Chris was, thankfully, still waiting for me there and seemed worried. This being our first time meeting face to face, I found him shorter than I expected, but every bit as nice. He drove me to my airbnb, where he explained to my host everything that had happened to me and let her know that we’d be going out for beers. She suggested a place, and we headed out.
The first place we went to did not meet Chris’ standards. He wanted to show me real, Bavarian beer. We drove through this small suburb for what felt like 30 minutes, stopping at every bar to find them closed. We were just about to head back to my airbnb, when we found a small bar on a corner that was still open. We walked in, and a group of Italian couples were sitting by the bar. Chris asked if we could get a beer, and the woman directed us to sit wherever we wanted. Chris ordered for both of us, a beer with lemonade for him and a non-alcoholic Bavarian-style beer for me. We talked about life, love, and video games and finished our beers.
Chris dropped me off and asked my host to give me directions to the train station for the next morning. She offered to give me a ride instead. I went to sleep knowing I would have to be up in 4 hours.