Today was a great day, despite extreme sleep deprivation. Or maybe because of the sleep deprivation.
On my first night here I woke in the middle of the night to do a few hours of e-mail (don’t ask). In the middle of that fun I fired off a note to my beloved (Mr. H) asking him to look up things to do while in Frankfurt. I was not at all interested in spending the weekend in my hotel room. By the time I awoke Mr. H had provided a list of suggestions and relevant nuggets about things to do and places to see. On Friday, Michael (the head of European Marketing) spent about an hour telling us about things to do while in the Frankfurt area. Mr. H earned gold stars for already covering most of what the locals considered worthy of adventure. But you may already know he’s a champ at this so I’ll get on with the story.
We left the hotel at 9am, taking the shuttle to the airport. At the airport, we caught the train to downtown Frankfurt, exiting at the “S”. From there we made our way east down Zeil (a road which is very similar to the Domain in Austin – lots of shops & boutiques for the trendy urbanites).
While interesting, the appeal lasted about 30 seconds for me, non-shopper that I am. We were in search of Romer (aka Romerberg) which should have an umlaut over the “o” and is pronounced “rumor”. On our way south to Romer we stumbled upon the “St. Bartholomäus Dom” referred to by the locals as simply “the Dom”. I recognized it immediately from Mr. H’s list (this was not on the list reviewed with Michael). This building was one of the few that survived the destruction of WWII. It was remarkable in many respects and well worth the time we spent there.
After leaving the Dom, I steered my companions toward a steeple I could see over the top of other buildings. This turned out to be St. Paul’s Church (Paulskirche) – on Michael’s list, but not Mr. H’s. This was also a very worthwhile visit to a historical site. I won’t bore you with the details.
We had lunch at a quaint cafe which was effectively a selection of al fresco seating amongst a sea of al fresco seating served by a number of cafes. I had tuna on toast and enjoyed people watching. The ratio of English-speaking natives was drastically lower in this part of town. It seems that downtown Frankfurt is a very popular place for the regional locals (people of surrounding area) to visit on a beautiful Saturday afternoon. Here’s the view of Paulskirche from our table, and the view of the cafe from our table.
It was a great way to kill time while waiting for the Applewine Express Tour bus, which arrived promptly as scheduled at a few minutes past 1pm. One thing we did not expect was the mass of folks who were on the same wavelength as us. An important lesson learned was that it is probably worth waiting until the third or fourth bus to come along instead of cramming into the first bus/tram. But we’re newbies, so cram we did. We ended up standing for the duration of the ride. It might be worth noting that we were the only 3 standing.
Below I’ve included a photo of me standing by the open door of the trolley car. The door was actually closed for a while as we were drinking our apple wine (it comes in a “beer” bottle, with a plastic cup). Apparently the lady in charge of our car was concerned I was going to fall out, not because of the wine but because I didn’t have a free hand to hold onto anything, which left my perch somewhat precarious.
Of note, there were 3 regional locals from outside of Frankfurt who’d come to town for the day. Their English was quite good so we visited for a while. They’re the ones who explained why the woman-in-charge had closed our door, which compelled me to finish my wine quickly because it was sweltering (no air conditioning). Once my wine was gone I implored the woman-in-charge to open the door, which she did. Oh, and…applewine is basically like apple cider that’s been left too long in the cupboard. I was not all that impressed. I’m glad to have tried it, but will leave it for the locals.
Once we’d made our circuit of the city we returned to Romer. We took off on foot following the same route the tram had taken to check out some of the souvenir shops further away from the crowds of tourists. The prices were no better so we headed north to check out the old Opera house. Here’s a link to google maps, hopefully showing the route we took.
Once at the opera house (Alte Oper) the three of us split up, as one of our travelers was foot-weary and wanting to shop in Romer. I headed to Palmengarten (a few km north west – a 50 acre botanical garden) with the remaining adventurer. We spent about 2 hours enjoying the gardens, then headed back to Romer. If you have any doubt, you should know I took about 500 pictures today. At least a third of those are pictures of flowers.
Now, here’s the crazy part: as we were making our way from the gardens back to Romer, we passed back by the Opera House. There’s a huge shindig getting set up there because tomorrow a big bicycle race will finish there and apparently the partying will commence soon after. As we were passing through, we ran into the same 3 locals that had shared our applewine tour. Not at a distance across the courtyard – I mean literally we walked right by them. We stopped and chatted a minute then went on our way.
Once we regrouped in Romer, we had a lovely dinner at the Romerberg town center, then returned via train/shuttle to the hotel.
It’s almost midnight so I bid you well and safe adventures of your own. I can’t wait to hear how E’s travels are going.