Be Your Own Advocate
5 Weeks in Asia: Costs
A Quick Trip Out of FRA
Money Problems in Beijing
72 Hour Visa Free Transit of Beijing
Scams in Beijing
The Angkor Experience
The VIP Sleeper Bus Experience in Cambodia
Sleepy Kep, Cambodia
Arranging Visas on the Move
The Adventure of A Ricetime: Mekong Delta
The Adventure of  A Ricetime: Easy Riders Tour
The Adventure of  A Ricetime: Tailored Hoi An
The Adventure of  A Ricetime: Solo Motorbiking
The Adventure of  A Ricetime: Halong Bay
The Adventure of  A Ricetime: Sapa
Scams in Vietnam
6 Hours in Bangkok
Scams in Bangkok
A First-Timer First Class Experience

The first 24 hours of my Asia 2014 trip were quite eventful… and I wasn’t even in Asia yet!

It started out with a pretty regular travel day. I had a long layover planned in Frankfurt, and it looked like there might be an opportunity to take a bump, so I left the United Club early and went to hang around the gate. While I’m sitting there, this random girl comes up to me and we start chatting and man did we hit it off! Marissa, the Tiny Pilgrim, was headed to Germany to take an ESL class. She was flying into Frankfurt, and planning on taking the train to Munich once she got there. Since I had nearly a 12-hour layover, we decided we would meet up after the flight and spend the day doing some sightseeing.

The plan had always been to get out of the airport with such a long layover, and I knew that I wasn’t going to want to carry my bags around all day. Luckily, Frankfurt has a luggage storage service. I had never used a luggage storage service before, but I expect it’s more common than I realized! It was easy-peasy to use. Marissa and I both dropped our bags off and headed toward the trains. We had decided to go to Mainz for the day; it seemed like a better place to spend the day than Frankfurt city.

After getting our train day pass we hopped aboard the next train. It was about an hour long ride there. Even when we got to Mainz it was still quite early. The plan was to walk around and find a place to grab breakfast and coffee, man, did I want a coffee, and then walk around and just see where the day took us before we had to head back.

Little did we know that it was a bank holiday, so EVERYTHING was closed! There were a few places that said they were just opening late that day, so we kept wandering and figured we could always go back. We eventually made our way down to the Rhine River where we saw a pretty large congregation of people… something to do on this bank holiday perhaps? We walked over to them and found out that it was a Rhine River cruise that was getting ready to head out… perfect!

We went up to the booth and inquired how many stops down the river we could go, considering our time constraint to get back to the airport. The attendant said that we would have time to make it all the way to the last stop and then just take the train straight back to the airport. Without further hesitation we purchased our tickets.

On the boat we shared a table with Sheri and Rachel, a mom and daughter from Texas. They were a ton of fun to talk to and the Rhine was gorgeous. We were able to see a bunch of castles and vineyards. We took a bunch of photos.

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Once we made it to the last stop we got of the boat and started meandering through town. At this point it was over 4 hours until my flight, so we had plenty of time. Or so we thought. At the train station we realized that, in fact, we were going to have to take a train all the way back to Mainz and make a 3 minute connection to the train that goes to the airport, because there wasn’t a direct train. All this time on the train was over 2 hours, and the train wasn’t going to be there for another 45 minutes! Uh oh… I had a flight to Beijing in just over 4 hours!

Since we had 45 minutes until the train we looked into other options, namely, taking a cab. We flagged down a  cab, who spoke no English and couldn’t understand my horrible attempts at speaking German (I took it back in high school, so it’s been a while). He found another driver for us who did speak English… only we found out that a cab to the airport would cost 180€… way too steep of a price for us! Train it was.

With the rest of our spare time we decided to finally go an get that coffee. We sat at a table and a German guy came in who we ended up trying to talk to. He spoke a little more English than we did German (so, not much) so trying to communicate with him was pretty fun. At one point Marissa said ‘si’ instead of ‘yes’ which sent the two of us into a fit of laughter, the poor German guy didn’t know what the heck we were laughing about until we could calm down enough to explain.

It was then time to head back to the train and hope that I was going to make my flight. Needless to say, I was a bit anxious the whole train ride, but I made it back to the airport and got my bags just in time to make it to my flight as boarding was finishing up. It was definitely the closest I’ve been to missing a flight since I started traveling on my own, though only the second most worried I have been about missing a flight.

Day 1 was definitely a crazy day, but I wouldn’t change it for the world. I’m so glad I met and got to spend the day with Marissa and the chaos of the day gave us a story we’ll never forget.

Read Marissa’s recap of the day here.