No trip is perfect. There’s always that one incident that makes things bad for a time, and once it has passed, you go and tell everyone and their dog about it. And the dog’s fleas just for the hell of it.
Our incident was the Ritter Hotel.
We made the return trip from Rothenberg to Frankfurt by train, towing a total of seven suitcases between five of us. It was a bit of a struggle to get around without stuff skittering about and we constantly feared things breaking. When we arrived in Frankfurt, we had to get two cabs, because all of our luggage wouldn’t fit into one.
Now the Ritter, according to Booking.com, was a lovely historical inn at a great location in Frankfurt. A nice area. Positive reviews front and center with an overall opinion of four stars. We expected something akin to the hotel back in Rothenberg.
I don’t know what fucking hotel these people stayed at, but it wasn’t this one.
As we rounded into the neighbourhood, we were greeted by the sight of various establishments, all of which were closed. This was because said establishments were mostly bars and probably a few strip joints. The hotel’s front door—unseen in any promotional pictures—was made of thick metal and tagged with graffiti. The guy at the front desk actually unlocked and locked the door as you came and went, even if you were only stepping outside briefly.
We entered this narrow lobby and had to lug our heavy, cumbersome suitcases up a set of narrow steps. My sisters and I were in room 105. As we stood on the first floor, we could not find the room. The hall seemed to end at 104. We’re asking ourselves, “Where’s 105? Where is it?”
Then we noticed the unmarked metal door to what should have been a utility/ boiler room. We open it up to a hallway as narrow as the steps between seated sections at the theatre. This is because half the space is occupied by a metal spiral staircase, with only a plastic chain to deter people from heading downwards.
At the end of this dingy hall is another metal door, labeled room 105. As we entered, Steph declared, “Oh god, it’s the rapey-axe murderer room.”
What had been presented as a small, but clean room was, in fact, dirty and falling apart. The bathrooms were grimy, the carpet looked like it hadn’t ever been cleaned, there were holes in the walls and ceiling…
Actually, just look at the pictures I took while my parents went to investigate their room and, eventually, went to see if they couldn’t find us a better place to spend the next two nights.
Needless to say, we did not stay.
But this is not where this adventure ends, oh no. You see, it was at this point that we realized one of our giant suitcases was missing.
In the hour we had spent waiting on a new hotel—my dad got us two rooms at the Holiday Inn Express near the train station almost instantly—it had begun to rain. It was as we gathered all of our luggage into the cab (too small of one, but our cabbie was amazing and got us a large van, stayed with us, and then drove us himself) that my mom noticed the missing suitcase was hers. As we’re trying to retrace what could have happened to it, my dad is arguing with the hotel employee about a refund.
(Ah yes, that guy. Weasel of a guy who tried to charge my dad for breakfast before we’d even eaten and was super helpful and smiley until we told him—politely—that were would not be staying and asked if we could be refunded for the one night. Then he got rude, and eventually ended up fighting with my dad. He was lucky my dad didn’t clock him in the face.)
Between the incident with the hotel and the missing suitcase, we we’re pretty upset. My stomach was doing backflips as I tried to stay calm. I reasoned that since no one saw the suitcase loaded into the cab, it might very well be at the train station, probably in some lost and found type of area.
My mom reasoned it might be sitting in the very place we left it, seeing how everyone around us all seemed to be absorbed in their own schedule.
Once we reached the Holiday Inn and got ourselves set up, my parents and I ventured to the train station to seek out the missing suitcase. The station was only a few blocks from our new hotel and visible as soon as we were a few streets up. As we approached, we decided to check the last place we remembered absolutely seeing the bag before: the taxi lot.
And sitting there, untouched a good hour and half later, was my mom’s red suitcase.
I don’t think my victory shout could have gotten any louder.
We brought the suitcase back to the hotel and inspected it. Finding it untouched was a huge stroke of luck for us, and it relieved some of the tension we’d been feeling over the past couple of hours. From there we took to the Christmas Market and were able to enjoy our last two nights in Germany.
Next week comes the conclusion of my recollection of my Germany trip. We say farewell to Frankfurt and finding out there are things that are slightly worse than a crying baby on a plane.