Friday, December 23, 2011

From Redlight to restful

Frankfurt.... oh Frankfurt, such an international city. Mariko had only visited briefly during one of our tours with the language course, but seeing as we were flying out for our Christmas vacation we were happy to get to see some different aspects of the city. And let me tell you we definitely saw aspects that they don't show you on city tours. Having booked a hostel near the train station (we needed an early start the next day) we knew that it was going to be a louder neighbor.

Our hostel was next to pink hearts
But did you know that just one street away from the Frankfurt Train Station is one of the world's largest Red light districts.....we didn't until we got there. The hostel was very nice, and safe (you had to be buzzed in twice to get to the rooms and then have your key), and was quite full of people our age traveling. However the building directly next to ours had pink flourescent lights and red hearts adorning the balconies. All along the street for a few blocks in either direction were signs advertising sex inns and table dancing.... definitely not a family local. Mariko and I made sure to not walk down any dark alleys, though we still felt relatively secure just walking along the major roads to our hostel.

After a slightly louder night than we were used to (just normal street traffic- nothing worrisome) Mariko and I left for the airport. Not including our trip into Germany, it had been some time since I had last visited Frankfurt Airport.... and I had almost forgotten how busy it truly was. Since Mariko and I are from Denver I will use DIA as a reference. DIA has 3 Terminals- A,B and C (total of 136 gates)... and last year they had over 635,000 planes with over 51.9 million passengers. Now Frankfurt has 5 Terminals A,B,C,D and E (total of 62 gates and 82 stands)... last year they moved over 464,000 planes and over 53 million passengers. Frankfurt had about 3/4 the number over planes as DIA but more than 1 million passengers more..... busy busy airport.

Luckily it was fairly simple to find our gate and get through security (Mariko had to be wanded though), we were ushered onto a bus and driven out to our plane. After a quick boarding we taxied and were on our way! The flight was fairly smooth and quick (both Mariko and I took short naps the whole way there.

Next leg of the trip was Helsinki, Finland! We landed and only had to move about 3 gates over before boarding our next plane. Surprisingly enough the plane up to Kittilä was a larger plane than our trip to Helsinki. Another simple and quick trip (which is always prefered when flying) and we had landed. By this point we were nearly at our destination, just one short car ride to go. Said car ride was definitely another experience in and of itself.... and I know Mariko is PLANNING to write a blog about that, but we'll see if she actually gets around to it. But lets just say snow on the roads, narrow two lane road, posted speed 80 kph.... and average speed of 120 kph.

Our lodging
We arrived to our destination Junosuando, Sweden in one piece!! The town is very tiny, smaller than any I've seen prior (even Kiowa). But it is pleasant and quiet, so we are going to enjoy our white Northern Christmas. Our first night at our lodging was accompanied by a group of 6 (an Australian couple and their two sons and their Swedish friend with his daughter). It was nice to not be on our own, and I'm fairly certain more people will be arriving the closer we get to Christmas.

So within 24-hours we traveled from one of the busiest red light districts in the world to one of the quietest and smallest cities I've ever seen.... traveling through the furthest urban city (>1 Million people) north in the world (Helsinki, Finland).

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