But first of all, a short side-line. Yesterday morning I went to my friend, Jody’s, house to help her with her computer. I had arranged to have friend John hook up with us and fix her freeze problems. With the miracle of modern technology, John could sit in his home in Wisconsin and take over Jody’s computer, where he found out the problems and fixed them! So now she is breezing through websites and enjoying the non-freeze capability of her computer. Thank you, John!
So, back to the trip. We had been in Luxembourg and headed to Frankfurt. Now, Frankfurt was the largest city we visited, except for Amsterdam (and I’m not sure which was largest). It was also the most confusing for us. It was also the most difficult for communication - most people we talked to had very little English; however, they would do their best to find someone who could speak well enough to give us directions.
But no one seemed to know where our hotel was. We had the name and address written down but we kept getting different directions. We would follow one set of directions, realize we were lost, then find someone else to try to help; we would follow those directions and realize we were still lost. Finally, after about four times, we found a taxi driver who said “For ten euros, I will lead you there!” We went directly there, after taking only about twenty minutes! He did as promised, not losing us in traffic and we went right to the front door of the hotel.
We got there rather late; we checked in, freshened up some, then asked where we could go eat. We walked about a block and a half (American blocks) and found a lovely Italian restaurant, Portofino. The first thing we always said in a restaurant was “Do you speak English?” Well, our waiter didn’t, so went into the kitchen and found the owner, Nino. He came out and decided that HE needed to chose for us and served us, himself, with his wonderful young assistant, Francesco. This was the best restaurant that we went to (in my opinion). We had personal attention from the owner and very good food. The fettuccini that he chose for us was very good. The stuffed shells was “to die for.” Nino brought out two pans with the pastas and served us himself. The fish was a whole fish that was wrapped in foil; as he brought it to the table, he lit some alcohol and served us flaming fish! Then he took the head and skin off and fileted it himself and served us de-boned fish. He brought the wine (mine) and beer (Dad) and poured it himself - we let him chose the drinks but I asked for a sweet white and got a very good one.
He wanted to serve us a desert but we said we had to get to the Opera - finally got through to both of us that our “Opera” is their “Ooper-a” - and he ordered us a taxi to take us; he also told the driver where to go. We arrived at the Opera House and showed our tickets. We were shown our seats. The usherette told us that the people on stage were giving a lecture and the “concert” would start at 8:00, so we made it in time (whew!). But Dad was suspicious and showed the tickets again to the usherette and she said “Oh, no ... that is for “Ooper Frankfurt” ,, this is NOT the Oopera!”
We rushed downstairs and asked a ticket taker where we needed to go. Then found a taxi driver who promised to get us there in five minutes! Well, it took about seven, but he got us there. However, it was just at the beginning of the first act and they let no-one in after the lights went down, so we sat outside and had a drink while waiting. We then got in for the second (final) act. Even though we missed the first half, I knew the story, slightly. “Adriana Lecouvreur” is a new opera for me but the music is beautiful! We got our seats and got comfortable. Dad talked to a lady in the seat beside him who said “I didn’t see you at the first act.” Dad explained our problem and she got very upset. She was a resident of Frankfurt who spoke very good English; she said “There is only ONE Opera House ... those people should not have Opera in their name!” She wanted us to contact the taxi company and complain about the first driver who took us to the wrong place but both Dad and I said it really wasn’t worth the effort - we didn’t know the name of the driver or the number of the cab.
However, even half an opera was worth it to me. I was in a “real” opera house, watching a “real” opera, not on TV or as a movie. The opera was in Italian with subtitles (German). It was dizzy-ing to try to figure out what the words meant in Italian but to “read” the subtitles and not have words match was dizzier. So I tried to keep my eyes off the subtitles on the top of the stage and just listen to the music and watch the singers / actors.
We got home rather late - Nino had invited us back to have coffee when we got back but we were later than he had planned on being open so didn’t.
A hectic day, a great dinner, a lovely opera and a good night’s sleep. Tomorrow we head to Baden-Baden. And here is the slide show!
Visit to Frankfurt