Germany wasn’t a country we planned to visit.
It’s not that we didn’t want to go there, we just hadn’t thought about it. But when a cheap flight to Frankfurt popped up, we looked at each other and said: “Why not?”
We love the unexpected. And this trip to Germany was a surprise addition to our travel plans that we were keen to explore.
When we arrived in Frankfurt tired after a long flight from Thailand, we planned to catch the train from the airport to our hotel. But it wasn’t as easy as we thought as train tickets are bought from a machine and not from a nice English speaking attendant.
So eyes drooping and brain fuzzed we tackled the machine.
Step one – press for English.
Step two – scratch head and press again.
Looking around bewildered we caught the eye of a passer-by who stopped to help. Unable to understand us he called someone else over, and once we explained our problem they checked out the machine. But after pounding on the buttons without any success they declared it to be broken. So off we all marched to another one so we could buy our tickets.
These kind-hearted souls must have had trains to catch but they went out of their way to help us.
The help we received at the train station was typical of our stay in Germany. We had people stop to offer help when we were looking lost in the street, and some even walked part of the way with us to check we were going the right way.
Helping a person will not necessarily change the world, but it will change the world for that person.
Mmmm what’s the name of this street?
Frankfurt am Main
As a finance and business city, we were expecting Frankfurt to be a high rise metropolis. And for the most part, it is, but it’s offset by the flowing Main river and quaint medieval old city.
We stayed at the Easy Hotel which was not far from the river and good value at A$60 a night. The rooms are basic but it’s clean and has a comfy bed.
Not that we got to sleep much, Jet lag had us in its clutches and we were wide awake at 5 a.m. Andrew went for a workout and was surprised by the number of Saturday night revellers he saw still out partying.
We would soon learn that German people will drink beer at any time and in huge glasses!
Preferring to discover a city on foot we walked along the river to the old town known as the Altstadt. There’s an excellent walking path that passes lovely green gardens and parks that’s perfect for a stroll.
River cruises are popular and you can read more about them here.
The Altstadt is the historical centre of Frankfurt and has been around since the city’s very beginnings. It contains most of the important sights but only a few sections were rebuilt after World War 2.
Frankfurt’s old centre square features gabled half-timbered buildings that show how breathtaking it once must have been. Sadly the whole area was destroyed by bombing in 1944.
The Gerechtigkeitsbrunnen or Fountain of Justice sits facing the Romer in the centre of the square and is famous for having once ran with wine. It was under repair when we were there so we didn’t bother with photos.
Half-timbered buildings – Romerberg
The Romer is Frankfurts 15th century old town hall and is made up of three, step-gabled houses. This is where celebrations were held during the election and coronation of emperors.
The Bridge of Sighs
This cute covered bridge was built to connect a new wing from across the street to the town hall. Known as the Seufzerbrucke or Bridge of Sighs it’s named after the famous bridge in Venice. Have you been there?
The cute Bridge of Sighs
Since it’s never been the seat of a bishop, the red brick sandstone cathedral, called the Kaiserdom isn’t really a cathedral at all. But it was declared one in the eighteenth century because kings and emperors were crowned there.
It has a 95-metre tall gothic tower and if you climb the 324 steps you’ll be rewarded with spectacular views of the city.
The view from the tower
Alte Nikolaikirche is a small early gothic church that was promoted to a court chapel for the emperors in 1290.
A delightful chorus of bells rings out three times a day at 0905, 1205 and 1705.
I have no idea why it’s at five past the hour.
We weren’t able to go into the churches as it was Sunday and services were on. But this was fine by us as we were weary after our flight and were happy to call it a day.
While Frankfurt isn’t a city we’ll be rushing back to, we’ll never forget walking into the Romerberg and thinking – Wow. This is what we came to Europe to see.
Have you ever been to Frankfurt? Have any questions? Comment below and tell us about it we’d love to hear from you.
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