Today was a long day. I woke a little after 6am, scraped myself out of bed, had a shower, got dressed, and wandered down to the breakfast area in the hotel. I got downstairs a few minutes before 6:30, feeling rather proud that I would be one of the first hotel guests down there, and would have relative peace and quiet for the next half hour at least. I obviously didn’t figure on the twenty or so Chinese people fighting over cutlery, bread rolls, bacon, scrambled eggs, yoghurt, coffee, and whatever else they could fit on their plates.
I’m still not drinking tea and coffee, but at 6:30am this morning I was sorely tempted. I made do with orange juice, and cleared email on my phone while picking at a rather badly constructed bacon roll. I think hotel breakfasts might possibly be the most expensive subsances in the known universe – at least unless you take the “all you can eat” offer as a challenge. At some point over the years I stopped eating breakfast, so it’s something of a novelty when I stay away with work.
By 7am I caught myself scrolling through instagram at the breakfast table, and decided to go on a bit of a walk. The hotel is about a mile from the “Romerberg” – the historic (read: reconstructed, and very fake) part of the city, so I set off along the river with no particular plan in mind. Along the way I dodged the early morning cyclists and runners – fascinated at the different way people run. On the way back an old man came flying past, only to walk for a minute, and then charge off again – I think that’s called “fartlek training” (Swedish for “Speed Play” according to Google). I was mightily impressed with his turn of speed.
Here’s the thing – I thought I wasn’t due in the office until 9am. It turns out that was a miscommunication. When I finally rolled in, even the receptionist remarked that the staff had been looking for me half an hour earlier.
Nine hours later, after a mammoth coding stretch at a conference room table while wired up to a giant screen, I left the office, got changed into something more fitting for the ridiculous evening temperatures, and set out in search of something to eat.
Before this visit to Frankfurt I had been promising to explore on the other side of the river – where many of the more popular cafes and restaurants line the road. I didn’t make it that far, on account of being hungry, tired, and suffering from “can’t be bothered” syndrome. I ended up at the Japanese restaurant I’ve visited several times before – mostly because it’s nearby, fast, and not too expensive.
I’m wondering if tomorrow night might be a write-off too. Germany play in the World Cup tomorrow afternoon, so not only will all work grind to a halt, I imagine the cafes and bars will be full of drunk idiots by the time I emerge from the office. Maybe a salad from the supermarket might be a good idea.
After leaving the restaurant, I wandered along the riverbank to a riverside bar, joined the quite lengthy queue, and found a table to sit at with a rather large glass of german beer. I had planned to read a book while sitting there, but ended up just watching the world go by. Looking around, it struck me that I really was the only person there on my own – everybody else was either with friends, or loved ones. It’s surprising how quickly you can feel alone in the busiest of places. I read the news on my phone, finished my drink and wandered quietly back to the hotel.
So here I am. It’s midnight now. I should really try and sleep if I’m going to keep up the 6am start nonsense. Perhaps if I do explore tomorrow, I might have a little more to share. Oh – while I think of it – I’m busy posting photos to Instagram as and when I get a chance to do so – feel free to check them out.