Nice, Monte Carlo, Frankfurt
Jun 01, 2008
Aug 03, 2008
The last time I was in Frankfurt, I didn't care too much for it. I likened it to an industrial city, much like those of the "far west." I guess I was looking for someplace a little more European. However, I must not have ventured far enough away from the city center, because this new encounter was amazing. The city reminded me very much of Vienna, with a quaint historic district filled with restaurants and local shops. It also, straddled a river, the Main. The most excited part of the trip to Frankfurt was meeting up with Sasha. Sasha is a Ride for World Health brother, who I haven't seen since I rode my bike across the US last summer for several weeks. I thought our encounter would revolve around reminiscing about our time on the ride and catching up, but instead it took on altogether different theme. Sasha was studying Buddhism at a local Pagoda and would serve as my reintroduction to a wonderful life philosophy. I was able to sit in on a lecture. This particular lecture was on attaining hightened states of concentration through meditation, a state which I could immensely benefit from (as could we all). After several hours of Dharma building, I realized how much I admired the freedom, wholeness, and empathy the monks (and laypeople) shared with one another and the world. There gentleness and concern for humanity really opened my heart. I left very inspired and ready to learn more about meditation and Buddhist philosophy. I wasn't quite ready to delve into whole heartedly, but I saw the potential Buddhism had to bring peace to my mind and compassion to my heart. When I got home, I downloaded a meditation training mp3, listened to it, and took to the streets of Frankfurt, more in tune then I have been in quite a while. Quite an amazing experience I must admit.
So... Ask me if I thought I would ever return to Frankfurt again. Nope, but here I am. Ask me if I thought I would be visiting a friend there who is contemplating becoming a Monk there. Nein (I think that means no in German). Well, I am. Before that though, I promised I would tell you guys about Nice and Monaco. Brilliant!! Nice was everything I thought it would be. Ironically enough I found the best Bruscetta in Nice. I also found the largest pint (actually a LITER), there as well. So as I sat there with my fork and stein, I grooved to some great Jazz. It seems like most European cities host concerts all summer long, at least all across southern europe they do. The jazz was AMAZING. The square was packed all night with people, their families, and pets; all groovin to some of the best Jazz I have ever heard. Next, I headed down to the beach for a midnight dip. I though for sure it would be pretty empty. Nope, in fact there were almost as many people as during the day. Apparently I am not the only one with a good idea these days. The deep was great. After the swim, I noticed a dance party just up the beach. At first it was odd, everyone was decked out in white linen and I thought for sure it was some sort of private event. The electronic music was great and even though I was wearing a red shirt and jeans, I just had to hit it. It was great. The next day it was on to Monaco. Monte Carlo, was.... well.... Monte Carlo. It just so happened that I got to see the "best of the best." That particular week there was a yacht expo if you will. I have never seen boats so large in my life. They were far larger than any I have seen in the states. They had several well over 300 feet (even a couple over 400), they must have been 10 stories high. Amazing. Most were British, and all were absolutely beautiful. I hadn't seen any with heliports though, maybe I wasn't looking hard enough. So, after walking around and grabbing lunch, I headed back to the station, which so happened to be the nicest station I have ever been in. I imagine it is like some being built in Dubai.