After Whit left Kazan, the best way to return to Thailand was to transit through Frankfurt with an overnight due to the length of the flight from Frankfurt to Bangkok.  Never one to miss a travel opportunity, I used some points and met her in Germany for a long weekend.  It was kind of a long flight for a weekend, but I think we planned the trip well.  I left at about midnight on Wednesday night/Thursday morning, arrived in Frankfurt about 6am, met Whit about half hour later, and then returned to Bangkok on a Sunday afternoon flight, arriving Monday morning.

On the first day, we had some time to kill before we could check into the hotel, so we went for breakfast and ran into some sort of street fair.  Pastries, pretzels, sausage, and homemade apfelvein.  Yes, please.  We then toured the historic parts of Frankfurt and walked down to the river.  While wandering around, we stumbled across the Eiserner Steg (Iron Bridge).  This bridge, built in 1868, spans the Main River and is notable because it is covered in thousands of padlocks.  Each lock has a couple's names and their anniversary date.

Most importantly, I had my first beer in Germany in the historic square at probably 10:30am.  Apparently, Frankfurt claims that their "official" beer is brewed by Binding.   

There it is, my first German beer.
On day two, we booked a tour to get out of the city.  This guided tour took us down the Audubon, across the Rhine River, and into Strasbourg, France.  Strasbourg is a small little border town with strong German and French influences.  We took a boat cruise around the city, and explored the main square and church.  It was a scenic city, and I had to try a crepe.  It didn't disappoint.  

On the way back to Frankfurt, we stopped in a town called Baden Baden in the middle of the Black Forest, which is so named because the Romans said the trees were so dense that you couldn't see light through them. We visited a huge lake and stocked up on schnapps and black currant liquor. This area of Germany is also really famous for their cuckoo clocks. 

Moving on.  Day 3 started with a trip to the zoo because that's what we do in ever city we visit.  The zoo was kind of small, but had a few fun exhibits, including the apes and the 3 very close-up tigers.  

I always knew she was at least part monkey.

After the zoo, we had another half day tour.  This time, we went north to a small town called Mainz for a Rhine River cruise, dinner, and German wine tasting.  The river was dotted with ancient castles dating back to the 12th century.  We also learned that Germans don't export their best wine.  This was right before we learned that Germany's best wine isn't very good but is very expensive.  I swear that one of the glasses we tried was actually Manischevitz.  

That basically ended our trip.  In between, we ate plenty of sausage and pretzels, sampled a variety of German beers, drank some more apfelvein, and walked around the city.  We also had a chance to figure out the extensive subway system and visited a few museums.  It was nice to walk around in 60 degree weather for a change and to get back to the Western world for a weekend.  However, unlike Kathmandu, I'm glad we got out of the major city on this trip.  I


  1. Its really a great experience to go on a trip whether it is locally or out of the country and after reading your blog i memorized my days of last trip which i spent in Singapore. Its a nice recommendation for a tourist. Romania Tours

  2. Hi Whitney,

    I randomly found your blog this evening. I'm currently pursuing a M.A. Economics, focusing my on international economic development. The USAID DLI Program Economist-Junior Officer sounds like a path I'd be interested in pursuing.

    Would you mind telling me about your background prior to taking that position? What academics had you completed? What prior work experience did you have? Do you have any suggestions for what might prepare someone not only to be an attractive candidate, but also what might prepare someone for what it's like 'on the job' ?



  3. Jon,

    My apologies. I didn't see this until now. I hope you check back. Prior to working at USAID I got a masters in Economic Policy at Boston University with a focus on international development. From there I worked for 3 years at a USAID contractor. I would suggest looking into this after Grad school. Its better to have a little work under your belt before coming into USAID Foreign Sercice. I think working for a USAID contractor gave me the best perspective of what USAID was like and how to operate in DC. Not the best about 'on the job.' If you really want to get 'on the job' field, maybe Peace Corps. But for me mud huts and squat toilets weren't my...cup of tea. Check out contractors, check out NGOs. Get some experience and then apply to the next round of DLI. Also keep in mind DLI is closed now. But should reopen in 2-3 years to hire for attrition.

  4. Looks like a fun trip! I visited Germany in 1987, it's a neat place.


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