Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Frankfurt on Day 1

I’m here in Frankfurt waiting for my son to arrive tomorrow so I have time to organize, check out the area and figure out how to tackle the Underground train to the airport.

I arrived in Frankfurt and, not knowing the city or its transportation and, so, had to take a taxi to my hotel. Taxi prices are steep and I paid $26+ to get from the airport to the hotel. Granted it was a 15 minute ride through city traffic but I later learned that the Underground would cost me $5+. I decided I would take the Underground the next day to meet my son at the airport and I guess I would not have taken it upon my arrival anyway as I had two suitcases and would have had to manage them through the streets of Frankfurt to my hotel.

The hotel was the Frankfurt Hilton and everything a hotel should be. A comfortable room with all the amenities; a bathrobe, slippers, shampoo, bath gel, T.V., internet service, a mini-bar in the room, a good restaurant, and a very helpful staff. I discovered that in Europe rather than using a top sheet, duvets (a comforter encased in a cotton cover) are used and are very serviceable. Every hotel since Frankfurt has followed suit with the duvet.

I checked at the front desk and was given instructions on finding and using the Underground transportation system and a bank where I could change my dollars into Euros.

I set out down Schullerstrasse and found myself in a walking area with shops on either side where vendors were selling food, fresh vegetables, sausages, cheese, flowers, etc. I went into the bank, changed my dollars to Euros and then stopped at one of the small cafes and ordered the best bowl of chili I have had in a long time.

Some of the boulevards had strange looking trees that had been pruned back in order to, I assume, cause them to fill out in a more compact shape. All over Frankfurt one sees trees, parks, flowers and various plants. It is truly a “Green City”. Bicyclists are many and you see Germans walking their dogs everywhere!

After leaving the café, I reached a largeopen circle where apparently some type of “beer festival” was in progress with several stands offering beer and the famous Apflewine (apple wine) of the region, along with German sausages and pretzels. In the midst of this was the entrance to the “U” and I descended onto the first level. I had been told at the hotel that I only had to go to the machine and buy my ticket and proceed to the second underground level. When I found the machine I was set back as all instructions were in German. I studied the machine and some maps of the “U” on a posted board and then decided to watch and see what people did. That really did not help much so I studied the machine some more. I discovered a button for what appeared to be a designation for the airport. However, after watching several more people I came to realize that the ticket would not indicate the track or train number I would have to know. Also, I did not know if I could purchase a ticket that day for the next morning when I would have to get on the train at 5:15 a.m.!

I finally stopped an individual and they kindly directed me to the “U” office. There an efficient Frau outlined what I would have to do for my ensuing trip, printed out a sheet which explained what train and track I had to use, the time of departure and arrival and the cost. Hooray – I was set.

On my way back I spotted the German Stock Market building with a huge sculpture in front of a Bull and Bear.

From my brief ride to the city, Frankfurt appears to be a medium-sized city with enough to keep one busy for a few days. There seems to be a fine balance of the old and new with clean streets and walkways and an abundance greenery all around. Tomorrow will be a holiday (May 1st) and many shops will be closed so after our City tour we will be limited to what we can see. But, I figured the beer stands would be open so we wouldn't be too bored!

1 comment:

  1. Great blog Sharon, I really enjoyed reading it and seeing the pictures. Have a great time and take LOTS of pictures