I woke with a start this morning, and took a few moments to get my bearings. Ah yes – a hotel room in Frankfurt, Germany. Far from home. After groping across he bed in search of the phone I had left on charge the night before, it took my eyes a few seconds to focus on it’s screen.
I slept fitfully for the next few hours, and then finally fell into a deep sleep at about 6am. In the next half hour I managed to fit in a huge, complicated adventure that the 6:30 alarm dragged me from reluctantly. I always seem to wake up minutes before an alarm, or am wrenched from a wonderful dream by the alarm. Of course I can’t tell you what on earth the dream was about now – just a sense that it was good.
The next half hour was spent battling the microscopic bathroom in this week’s hotel room – just big enough to leave bruises on your elbows without quite knowing how you got them. I managed to half-flood the bathroom floor too, despite deliberate attempts not to. Somebody remind me to write a lengthy complaint about the shower design in the hotel feedback form.
Breakfast in the hotel was… well it was breakfast in the hotel. There’s not really much to tell. The hotel is a typical mid-range hotel that provides a massively over-priced “continental breakfast”. This translates as a number of food-stuffs set out for you to choose from, along with various drinks machines. I typically grab a bread roll, cut it in half, and fill it with bacon and eggs. I also fill a cup with cappuccino, and a bowl with yogurt and fruit. I think I’ve told the story about a Japanese traveler watching me make the bacon and egg roll, and copying me in the past. His look of satisfaction as he bit into his creation will stay with me for the rest of my days.
I can’t really talk about what I did at work. I suppose I can talk about sitting in a conference room on my own for the better part of the day though. I was shattered at the end of the day. I really am my own worst enemy when it comes to setting my own unrealistic expectations. If I had an escape kit, I would build a trap door beneath my own feet – every time.
After leaving the office this evening I got changed and immediately set off for something to eat. A part of me wanted to walk into the city and try somewhere new. Unfortunately a greater part of me – the really lazy part – knows there is a Japanese restaurant just round the corner. And that’s how I ended up eating some un-pronouncable Japanese dish half an hour later.
I did a thing too. The last time I visited the Japanese restaurant I paid with the credit card I always use for work – and the waiting staff didn’t ask about adding a tip to the transaction. I had no cash in my pockets (I never do any more – by design – it cuts the work involved in doing the expense claims in half). I felt SO bad about not leaving a tip, but the waitress had already moved on. I made up for it tonight – paying double the typical amount. The toothy grin that spread across the waitress’s face made every penny worth it. Settling the unwritten account in my head lifted a small weight off my own shoulders too.
A tremendously grown-up voice in my head told me that “going for a walk” would be very-much the thing to do after dinner. Before I knew it, my feet were busy carrying me deep into the city. I have to sheepishly admit that half the reason I didn’t notice was because my other half called, and I spent the better part of a mile talking to her – by the time I put the phone away I had arrived at Goetheplatz, and streets filled with cafes, restaurants, and ridiculous clothes shops.
I looked through the window of the Prada shop, and accidentally laughed out loud at the price of a crochet vest. Now let me think – shall I buy two vests, or a car ? Sorry for being flippant, but really. Just along the road the Dior shop had a ladies suit in the window similar to the one Gal Gadot wore in Wonderwoman. Go on – have a guess. Let’s just say we could have bought our car three times over for the same price as that suit. Yes, it was nice – but three cars nice? Nope.
I do love walking city streets at night though. There’s something about seeing people out and about – smiling across cafe tables at each other’s conversations – walking arm in arm – laughing, telling stories, or just spending time with friends. There’s something about the reflected light from candles and lanterns that makes the world a little more friendly.
After a somewhat circular route through the hubbub, bustle, and noise of Frankfurt, I arrived back at the quiet street outside my hotel, and dodged behind a businessman lighting a cigarette in the doorway. The thought occurred to ask him to step outside to do what he was doing, but the stony stare of the doorman did that for me. I half-smiled as I turned the corner towards the elevators.
Now if you’ll excuse me, I have half a bottle of supermarket wine waiting for me, and television filled with German talk shows, and a very comfortable hotel bed. Maybe I’ll give the television a miss, and read a bit more of the book I’ve been mired in for the last few days. Or fall down an internet rabbit hole. Choices, choices.