Day 6: Frankfort

When we awoke today, we were in Frankfort, and traveling on the Main River ( pronounced “mine”). This morning at breakfast, we were observing some sort of waterfowl that lives in abundance by the side of the river. We couldn’t decide if they were ducks or geese. They seemed too big to be ducks, but their necks weren’t as long as the Canada geese we are accustomed to seeing, and they are on the small side for geese. After we returned, I compared some photos Tom took to an online cache of German waterfowl and solved the mystery. They are greylag geese, a species I have read about but never seen before. They seem largely unperturbed by humans.

Graylag goose, apparently conducting an invisible orchestra.

The majority of the passengers opted for a tour of Heidelberg Castle, which involved an hour-long bus ride. I am looking forward to hearing about their adventures, but Tom and I opted for a walking tour of Frankfort. All of us were elderly and in terrible shape except for Tom, who viewed the excursion as barely a short walk.

It was 80 degrees or so, but Tom tells me he barely broke a sweat. Annoying, of course, but I am glad he’s in such good shape. I left my hiking sticks behind and I was glad I did. I had no problem with the terrain, and they are such a nuisance. When I use them, if I want to take a photo, I have to put the sticks aside, find my phone, take the picture (assuming whatever it wasI wanted to photograph is still there by that time), replace the phone, pick up the sticks, and hope I haven’t tangled the earphone cord that attaches to the receiver we wear so we can hear the guide. But I was extremely glad I used them yesterday in hilly Rudesheim!

Our guide, whose name sounded like Shannon, so I will call her Shannon, took us along the river front for a while, explaining the history. Then we visited the old town. Apparently, all the ancient half-timbered buildings were flattened during WWII, with the exception of a single house. The others were lovingly restored and look exactly the same, but presumably with better plumbing.

The sole remaining original half-timbered house in Frankfurt’s old town.Shannon told us a rather confusing story about its role in WWII, involving tanks in this building, tunnels underneath the street, and rich people escaping from the other houses on the square, but I found the story somewhat dubious.

Shannon took us to a place that served the local specialty—frankfurter sausages, of course, with potatoes and green sauce. I liked the green sauce, which uses local herbs that differ depending on where you are. The frankfurter tasted exactly like a hot dog to me, despite Shannon’s protestations that they were much more flavorful and juicier. Not impressed.

I love the way they fit the slate tiles together. It looks like dragon skin.
The square where we ate frankfurters.

We ate on a square that included the Streuwelpeter (Slovenly Peter) Museum and store. Streuwelpeter was an illustrated book written during the 19th Century to instruct and entertain children. Shannon says they still teach this and it tells children how to behave properly. I have read it, and it includes:

• A story about a little boy who sucked his thumbs until the great, long-legged scissor-man came and cut them off.

• A story about a boy who ate too many sweets, went out in the rain and melted.

• A story about a little girl who played with matches and burned herself up, making her two kittens weep.

• A story about a little boy who was always looking up at the sky and fell into the water and drowned.

You get the idea. Shannon seemed to feel these were instructive and positive guidelines for the children of today.

However, she was most solicitous of her ancient followers and allowed us time to sit and rest, for which I was grateful. Tom, of course, did not take advantage of these rest breaks.

After a few more visits to quaint things our guide liked, she bade us farewell and several of us visited a nearby toilet. Half a Euro to pee.

Then Tom and I took off to find an ATM and a SIM card. It turned out that the phone store didn’t take credit cards, unlike every other store in Europe, so it was a good thing we found the ATM first. Tom is happy with his new, strong connectivity. My goal was to visit the Steiff store I spotted back at the square where we sampled the frankfurters. I wanted to buy a tiny mouse I saw at the famous Christmas store in Rudesheim. I had faint hope that it would be less expensive, and sure enough, it was the exact same price. But I bought it for our new little granddaughter Mirabel. Because.

Shannon was upset because the construction spoiled the beauty of the old square. We still enjoyed it.

Then we went back to the boat, had lovely broiled salmon for lunch, and we are sitting in the lounge watching the boat go through a lock. It’s a lengthy process, and I have never seen it before. We have gone through locks on this trip, but I am usually sound asleep.

Tonight, we are celebrating Susan’s birthday with a private dinner in the Captain’s dining room. (He doesn’t actually eat there, of course.) I hope it will be a very special occasion!