I didn’t sleep very well last night. My watch beeped at 1am, which surprised me – I accidentally set it to go off at 8am a while back and so now it beeps at 9am. But it was too dark, surely, for it to be 9am? It was! It was in fact 1am. Then I woke up and smelled toast. Was the hotel on fire? Or is there something wrong with a receptor in my brain?
So I didn’t even stir until housekeeping came round at ten to nine. I had breakfast enthusiastically, although the breakfast room was so busy it was hard to find a seat. Then I had a slightly slow start to the day. I decided I was going to go to the pool today. There’s a hammam in Frankfurt, there are ordinary boring pools but I decided to go to Titus Therme, which is more of a waterpark.
It’s in north-west Frankfurt. I had the choice of taking U4 or U5 one stop to Willy-Brandt-Platz and then going virtually the entire length of the U1. Or I could take tram 16 to its terminus and then go two stops on either the U1 or the U9. I haven’t been on many trams and it also looked like that was the quicker way. So I bought my day ticket from the tram platform at the end of the road instead of under the Hauptbahnhof.
Titus Therme is right next to a fairly big shopping centre. It has a Primark and a Decathlon and the biggest supermarket I’ve ever seen in Germany. But I was trying to make my way out and up to the surface and find the pool. I stopped at the entrance to check the map. It’s past McDonald’s and Decathlon. Where are they? I’m at the red dot but what’s that thing off to the side? I can see McDonald’s but… there it is! I can see it!
I’ve really felt the fact that I don’t speak German the last couple of days. People either can’t speak much English here or they won’t. I speak other languages, I’m not an English monoglot, but I don’t speak German. So I had no real idea where was going on. I seemed to have paid 5.50 (still can’t figure out the euro symbol) for 90 minutes access to the pool, but I wasn’t entirely sure about that. Neither was I sure how to get to the changing rooms, or that I was in the right changing room and then I couldn’t find the pool. There aren’t enough signs and the few signs are in a language I don’t speak. And there it was at last!
It’s quite a big place. There’s a bubbling pool, two hotpots, a lane pool with a diving board, a huge play pool that has bubbles and a lazy river which turn on and off on a circuit of about 10-15 minutes each. Behind that is a quieter pool with three jets and a slide and a cave. Interestingly, the lights under the water in all the pools and pots are pink which makes the pool look purple. It also can’t quite decide whether it wants to be a proper pool with square white tyres or whether it wants to be a jungle oasis – it’s decorated with fake columns and arches and statues.
I got out after 90 minutes. I could have stayed in a lot longer. I’d done circuits of the lazy river and nearly drowned. I’d sat on bubble benches until I was completely boneless. I’d had my neck pummelled by a very powerful jet. But my 90 minutes had expired.
Yes, they had. German efficiency! I had a plastic card and when I scanned it at the exit, it told me I’d overstayed and needed to pay an extra 50c.
Once I’d escaped, I went in Decathlon. I didn’t particularly need anything but I always like to go and have a look. I popped into Primark too – my mittens are so nice and cosy but I can’t manage the camera with them so I bought a pair of thin gloves. Then I finally found the big Rewe, which is downstairs and technically over the road. One thing was astonishing me: it’s ok and entirely normal to smoke in the U-bahn station and in the shopping centre. It’s the tail end of 2022 and you can still smoke inside in public places??!!
Anyway, I did some shopping and took U1 home, via Willy-Brandt-Platz. I was correct to take the tram out this morning; most of the length of U1 was slow!
I came home and had lunch which became a long afternoon in the room. Then I went back out to the market. It’s manic by evening – it’s just people crowded into the square drinking hot wine and eating interesting things. I had a cup of hot orange juice (actually hot this time and I returned the cup and reclaimed my pfand) and took it across the road to the river to drink. Orange juice isn’t all that tasty when it’s hot but I wanted something clean and wet after my long lunch.
I rambled around the market until I’d done my 2km. I didn’t particularly want to do any shopping – it was my third visit and there’s probably not much more I want to buy but I like to have a look around. There are always stalls I have’t spotted, always things I want to take photo of. I wanted to check whether the tram that goes through the middle of the market would take me home. I’ve always taken the U-bahn so I wanted to see central Frankfurt by train, if I could.
There are three trams leaving from that stop. All three go to Hbf and two go to my local stop. Of course, the one I got on was the one that doesn’t, and its Hbf top is technically on the street next to the Hbf. That meant in the dark, with glasses steamed up over my mask, I didn’t realise that was where I was supposed to jump off. The next stop was further away than I expected so I got off, crossed the tracks and got on the 21 back in the other direction, back to my local stop.
And now I’m home! I’ve had a shower and washed the chlorine out of my hair with conditioner that smells amazing. No plans for tomorrow yet – Cologne? Wiesbaden? Something interesting around Frankfurt?
The smoking there is still prolific. Not a healthy nation.
Should this one not be Thursday?