I’d planned to spend my last night in Germany in Wiesbaden, rather than in Frankfurt, because my tour book made Frankfurt sound kind of dangerous and dull. But instead, I was surprised how awful Wiesbaden seemed to be on my brief trip into it.
It was almost like Fate was steering me away from it. First of all, getting the kind of accommodation I wanted was surprisingly difficult. As a single female traveller, the idea of booking a room in a private house appealed to me: it would be inexpensive, and I think a family would take notice and care about a suddenly-missing lodger quicker than a hotel would. But getting public internet access in Bacharach was hard, and I couldn’t get through to Peter on the phone at what was to him the middle of the night. The day I was going to Wiesbaden, I got him to book what I thought was a private room in central Wiesbaden, but he didn’t quite understand the response, so I called the owner directly. It turned out the room was actually an apartment the owner let out to visitors, and he couldn’t make it available on such short notice.
I went to Wiesbaden anyway, and I was just appalled by the enormous amount of graffiti on the walls as the train pulled into the station. I know, I know, German graffiti is not the same as American graffiti, but it still makes me uncomfortable. The train station itself was creepily quiet, and some of the ticket machines were broken. Not seeing internet access immediately, I just called a hotel listed in my book. They were booked up. After asking a few questions, I was directed to an internet cafe/casino just around the corner of the train station.
Now Wiesbaden is known for its casinos, but I have no idea why people gamble there. If I wanted to gamble in Germany, I would go to only one place, Baden-Baden, where I could gamble in a palace in style. Wiesbaden just seemed to me like Chinatown gambling, or Las Vegas suburbs gambling. Anyway, this particular casino was an internet casino, where you could gamble sitting in front of computers while the staff brought you drinks and paid you your winnings. There were two coin-operated internet stations which looked like the chair Number Two sat in in The Prisoner. Wiesbaden was thoroughly stressing me out by now, so I splurged on time.
In the end, I found what became my favorite hotel ever (comfortable, safe, friendly staff, cable TV, free internet stations, and a completely free minibar) in Frankfurt, and decided I’d forego Wiesbaden for the big, international city nearby.