Everything “ran according to Hoyle” with the Lufthansa flight out of Seattle thru Frankfort to Nürnberg. My baggage plan was: check the disassembled Pacerpoles, carry on the pack (Osprey Exos 46) and use the collapsible daypack from SeatoSummit as my “purse” for water bottles, snack sack, reading material, Kindle, noise cancelling earphones. The Pacerpoles fit ok in a flat 24-inch FedEx box. But the flight was completely full, and I was concerned there would be an issue with my not-quite regulation pack (wouldn’t quite fit the try-it frame and was a pound over the weight limit of 18lbs. So I gate-checked the pack. Maybe it was the gambling hangover from the Kentucky Derby party last week! Anyway baggage claim is often the most anxious part of my trips – so I was greatly relieved when both the pack and the pole-box popped out onto the conveyor.
From the airport it is easy to get into downtown on the U-Bahn. Having passed through the Hauptbahnhof both going and coming last year, I knew my way around. Today is Ascension (Himmelfahrt) observed as a major holiday here in very Catholic Bavaria. As it happens, it is also Fathers Day. So Happy Vaterstag, Dad!
I had not planned to hit Germany over the Pentecost (Pfingsten) major holiday; these were just the dates that popped up as flyer-mile opportunities, and I forgot to check the calendar. People must be enjoying the holiday, because the airports, trains, and city streets are all very quiet.
As I mentioned, today is Ascension (Himmelfahrt). As I was walking to dinner, I heard church bells and followed the call. It’s a wonderful way to begin a pilgrimage, actually. Even though I stop into (almost) every open church along the way, I think there is a special grace that comes from properly grounding one’s journey at the outset.
I didn’t catch a lot of the homily, but one bit was quite clear. Himmel ist kein wo. Heaven is not a place. Especially Heaven is not some other place.
Dining. Fortunately the wonderful sandwich shops in the main train station were open despite the holiday, so lunch was a small but sturdy sandwich, and I resisted the cookies’ siren song. I have to walk some kilometers (other than across air terminals) to earn those. Alas, my favored Bohm’s was closed for the holiday, so no Franconian pork roast for me tonight. Heaven is indeed some other place! So I made do with an excellent burger, topped with red bell pepper purée and local cheese, with a side salad and Weißbier to drink.
Lodging. A&O Hostel, two blocks from the train station in a very convenient location. Nice private room, friendly young staff, a fair number of people coming and going. Recommended!
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