I started today lazily because yesterday started so early. I had breakfast downstairs: buttersemmel and orange juice although there was other bread available, and cheese and meat and little packets of jam and Nutella. Then I went to the market.
I remembered my mask this time! I’d calculated last night that a day ticket for general Franfurt use is cheaper than two singles so I bought my day ticket, got the U5 to Dom/Romer and emerged. It had snowed this morning and by now everything had a nice coating and it was falling thickly enough to see on camera. I roamed, starting at the Domkirche, which isn’t actually a cathedral. I think there was some kind of school service about to start in there; as I was leaving, they closed the gates across the nave but we’d been allowed to wander around until then. It’s a pink church, like the one in Neuchatel but perhaps more spectacular from the outside. It seems to function as a cathedral, it just doesn’t have someone of the right status attached to it to actually make it a cathedral. Very nice, anyway.
Then I wandered through the market again. It was still busy but there was at least room to move this morning. I had a cup of hot chocolate, not because I particularly wanted hot chocolate but because I wanted the red mug. On close inspection, it’s the same as yesterday’s black mug except the pictures are all in gold. Later I found them for sale in the various stalls that sell pottery and ceramics, four euros each. I have a Euro symbol on my keyboard but I can’t persuade it to appear. I just keep turning this paragraph into a heading. The pfand for a mug is three euros. So now I have both the official mugs. If I wanted to, there are at least three others I could collect but I won’t.
I found more of the market than last night. Well, I found it last night but I decided because it was cold and dark, I’d leave it for daylight. I did a bit more shopping. Yet again, I resisted spending a couple of thousand euros on a spectacular stable set that wouldn’t fit in hand luggage and settled for the cutest little wooden moose and a little snowflake with a nativity scene in the middle. I bought actual candy canes because what’s Christmassy about hanging them from the tree if you ignore the edible ones? And I found a badge for my blanket at the station on the way back.
It snowed quite spectacularly. The market looked so Christmassy with snow on the roofs and in people’s hair and the steam mugs of gluhwein made so much more sense – well, they do anyway but everything just looks so much more festive in the snow.
I came home for lunch, and also because I was a bit concerned about accidentally smashing the mug. Better to get it safely back to the hotel. That turned into a couple of hours of lounging about and then I decided to go to the Christmas Garden light trail. I have a pre-booked flexible ticket and tonight seemed a good night. The snow had stopped and the sky was absolutely clear but there was still snow on the ground. I looked up how to get there. The S Bahn seemed easiest, in that it’s a five minute walk to the Hauptbahnhof but then it’s apparently a 40 minute walk at the other end. So I had to find out where I could get tram 21. The end of my road, it turned out. Easy. You can’t miss Stadion either. It’s the end of the line.
I had a minor problem on arrival. I’d printed my payment confirmation, not my eticket. For some reason, I don’t have mobile data here. It’s constantly on E, which Quora describes as “direly slow data connection”. That meant I couldn’t get it from my emails. There are three wifi networks in the park but it wouldn’t let me register with the only free and open one because there had already been 100 API calls. ?. So I went off to the box office. The nice lady there found my booking and told me to tell the men on the gate that she’d said to let me through. Don’t worry, they’ve been briefed. No, they hadn’t. They let me through but succeeded in making me feel like I’d conned my way in. I had a ticket! Box office knew I had a ticket! I just couldn’t access the ticket!
Anyway, it’s a big light trail in the stadium park, which features the stadium itself as the biggest light canvas. There’s nothing more festive than colossal blue letters looming over everything proclaming DEUTSCHE BANK.
It was all very pretty. The rainbow path was good. The Polar Express was good. Itsy Bitsy Spider was good. Carillon was popular and made great photos. But my favourite was Miracles Happen. At first it’s just a fountain lit in blue. You glance at it, you move on. But I happened to realise that on the other side of the hedge was an empty and frozen swimming pool and that distracted me long enough to still be standing there when the miracle started. I felt a wave of heat, turned around and the blue fountain was on fire! Actual fire! It was quite incredible. Fire and water and blue light and no one else had seen it. Worth the price of admission alone, that.
It was getting on for 7 by the time I got back on the tram. Late enough to have been very dark for a long time, not so late that I felt like I was out and about on my own at night. And then I came home thawing out my poor frozen nose inside my mask and I might have a shower.
I looked up the price of a train ticket to Cologne today. 99 euros return or 78 each way! So, not to do that tomorrow. Tomorrow I’ll have a swim, maybe, and see if I can get that price down by unselecting “‘allow ICE trains”.