Achtung Baby!

Trip Start Dec 15, 2009
Trip End Aug 27, 2010

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Flag of Germany  , Hesse,
Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Although we didn't have a great connection, our Paris hotel had good enough internet access for us to find out the most important news of the weekend – in the official opening of the new English football season Manchester United had beaten Chelsea 3-1 in the Charity Shield thus hopefully setting them up for a great season.

Leaving Paris was a little harder than expected and after becoming thoroughly frustrated with the road system in a little fake town near to CDG airport, we finally headed out of Paris, only for Sarah to navigate us in the general direction of Belgium (!) so we subsequently ended up taking the "scenic route" for a while before getting back on track towards the German border. Before leaving France, we stopped at a small service station for a spot of lunch and to let the kids run around a little. Granny even joined in to kick a ball around. In these situations it’s always quite the question as to who’s the biggest kid and it was the largest of our three that ended up kicking the soccer ball into a muddy creek and then having to delicately retrieve it without falling into the muck!

It came as a bit of a surprise to us that these days the European borders are completely open and other than the change of language on the road signs and a small country name sign, you might not even realize that you’ve crossed the border. It wasn’t too long before we arrived in Frankfurt and succeeded in finding our hotel without a hitch, the only place on our ten day road trip that we would spend two nights – yea!

The following day was a beautiful sunny one spent exploring Frankfurt via a “hop-on, hop-off” city tour bus and a boat trip on the river. Many of Frankfurt’s buildings are relatively new as most of the city was destroyed during the Second World War, however the older parts that remain have beautiful period buildings and plazas. Aboard the boat, to help with the heat, Granny treated us all to refreshments; ice-creams for the kids, cold German beer for Derek and the local specialty, effelwein (apple wine) for Granny & Sarah. The effelwein is a very pleasant dry cider (it’s unusual for Sarah to not only drink, but enjoy a glass of cider), and has many traditions associated with it such as the glasses that it is served in and recommended food accompaniments. After the boat trip, Granny did a spot of shopping and we then all walked back along the river bank where the kids burned off some energy in the numerous playgrounds along the way.

Derek wasn’t the only Irishman in town and certainly not the most popular one; it will come as no surprise to many of you that we had timed our visit to Frankfurt to coincide with U2 and had managed to secure tickets for the concert. Anticipation was high, hoping that Bono would be back to his best in only his second performance since the back injury that caused the cancellation of the entire North American tour this summer. U2 started their European tour in Turin last Friday night.

With Granny and the kids having a room-party for the evening (card games, movies & snacks), Derek and Sarah made their way to the Commerzbank Arena. En route on the uberbahn, we got chatting to a really nice couple from Koln and chatted with them all the way to the stadium where we parted company to find our seats and enjoy the show. Unfortunately we were later getting to the stadium than we’d hoped and Kasabian (the support act) had just finished playing :-(

Despite buying our tickets just a few weeks ago, we had great seats – not close, but the angle was perfect and since we had our good camera with us we were able to get some great shots! U2 were, as always, fantastic! The set list was great, Bono was in fine voice and his back seemed to be as good as new! He thanked the German doctors who had fixed his back and now claims to be built and running like a Mercedes, while Edge is an Audi, Larry a BMW and Adam a Trebant :-p

As we were leaving the stadium, we stopped at a merchandise stall where, purely by chance, we bumped into the same German couple that we met on the way there, and subsequently chatted with them all the way back to our hotel :-)
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