Tuesday, June 20th and our fourth day in Frankfurt. We slept in more so than usual, the previous day on the Mainz river had worn us out. We decided to take it a little easier, and spent the afternoon walking around the Romer looking through all the touristy shops for souvenirs to bring home. For Staci’s mom, we found a red and white Polska hat that would be perfect as a beach hat, along with an assortment of t-shirts, and a puzzle. But the most interesting find, was a German cookbook featuring footballers one from each team in the World Cup. Of course, for convenience, they chose Steve Cherundolo, who plays in Germany. He shared the secrets of making Ceasar’s Salad. Delicious!
Since Germany was playing Ecuador that afternoon, the riverside was packed with German fans watching the game, along with small clusters of Ecuador supporters. The game was fairly one-sided in Germany’s favors, and at this point both teams had already qualified for the knock out phase. Still, the stands, both sides of the river, and even the bridges, were crowded with people trying to get a good vantage point of the screen setup in the Mainz. As the match went on, Swedish fans dressed as vikings began to stake out the area to get a good spot for the night game against England.
The most excitement we noticed occurred to our left in the fan fest area. I noticed a young German guy sit down by the side of the bleacher supports, and I thought to myself he was a little drunk and just sitting down to catch his bearing. My attention returned to the game briefly but then out of nowhere, there were 3 police officers in olive green uniforms surrounding him. Staci and I couldn’t help but watch, to try to figure out what was going on. One officer was questioning him, and the guy – around 25 years of age at the most – was answering in a very polite and friendly manner. At one point, he offered the policeman his backpack to inspect. Meanwhile, the other cops were searching ground around the bleacher and after a moment, one of them returned with a clear plastic bag holding what looked like pot (what else could it be?). Before long the police escorted him away and everyone’s eyes returned to the football game on the screen. I can only imagine that the rest of his stay in Frankfurt was less than ideal, although why bring that out in such a public area. Its not like we were in Amsterdam, but he could have been confused.
Between matches, we circled back towards the train station. The day before, we had seen a restaurant bearing my name on the way back to our hotel. Clearly, we were meant to dine their. This wasn’t any old bar and cafe, it was attached to a very swanky hotel, with lots of seemingly important people about. Did I mention that the whole concept of hostesses and waiting to be seated by such a person is completely alien to the Germans? So when you enter a restaurant, you end up looking around confused and helpless. As if you’d just stepped out and had to come back in to the place because you forgot your keys or wallet. Undeterred, we sat down for dinner. Staci had a potato soup, claiming that she wasn’t very hungry, with wine. I had a very good roast chicken with, of course, a beer.
By now, it was dusk. We began walking back to our hotel, planning to stop at a nominal ‘biergarten’ a block away to see the England-Sweden game. The game itself was exciting, and there was a whole table of English "lads" cheering on their team. Since I’d decided to cheer for Sweden, I made sure to cheer extra loud when Larsoon equalized for Sweden at the 90th minute. Again, both teams had already advanced and the most content fans were some Germans relieved that they wouldn’t have to face England next.
We got back to our hotel room early that night. We had to wake up early the next morning to catch our bus for Neuschwanstein.