We are once again on the road, and I am once again writing. This time, we’re heading to Amsterdam after two full days in Frankfurt. Despite that relatively short stay in Frankfurt, it seems like we covered a lot – maybe because a lot really has happened.
First of all, the major railroad company in Germany is on strike. Our journey to Frankfurt was unaffected, but the trip to Amsterdam via overnight train was cancelled. We were very blessed to have a warning about this in advance; otherwise, we would have likely gone to the station at 11 PM last night and find this news as a surprise. We were able to change our ticket to catch another train that departs at 6 AM, but that meant we also wouldn’t get to experience travelling via overnight train during this trip. (And it also cost us an extra night at the hotel, but that’s relatively less important).
Anyway, when we arrived at the Frankfurt main train station on Thursday, I was already very impressed. It was definitely the largest train station I’ve stepped foot into so far! You can immediately tell that this city is much busier compared to others before.
We spent the day on the outskirts of Frankfurt. First, we toured a castle in Aschaffenburg called the Schloss Johannisburg. Aschaffenburg is a good hour or so outside of Frankfurt, but it still sits on the same Main River flowing through Frankfurt. The castle itself looks very nice, but there’s nothing much in the building. The real attraction is the huge park next to the castle. We were also blessed with good weather that day, and everything seemed to glow a bit. I just couldn’t get enough of the perfect reflection of the clouds along the Main River.
We also visited the park about 5 km away from the castle and took a nice walk. From what I heard, there is a secret underground tunnel that connects the castle to one of the buildings in this park. We saw people jogging, picnicking, walking, eating… just enjoying the greenery under the beautiful weather.
For dinner, we had Greek food in a small village called Dieburg. It’s a small and quiet area, but there are nice buildings that are kept well and a few shops to look around… if you’re there before 6 PM. Again, everything is closed quite early in these parts of town.
The second day was spent in the actual city of Frankfurt, completely on foot. We walked along the Main River until we found this Jewish Museum, and spend a good two hours there looking through the exhibit. It talks about the history of the Jews in this city, and what kind of life they had to face.
After that, we just wandered around. We just happened to be in town for some sort of festival, so everywhere we went, we saw stalls of food and drink. Pretzels, fresh produce, sausages, and beer were the most common, but we also saw deli, cheeses, flowers, crepes, and a bunch of other stalls.
Frankfurt really made an impression on me. So far, out of all the places we’ve been to, it’s the only city with a skyline. There’s the very modern side to it, and yet a bit of an old side to it. Frankfurt is also a lot more spacious, making it a very comfortable city to walk through. You have all these huge plazas that have the space to contain such markets and festivals! And of course, not to mention the fact that German beer is cheaper than soda or water.
In front of the Romer, there was another huge square where we stumbled upon a stage and a few people making music and generating a great atmosphere for the crowd. I think we stayed there for probably a good half an hour or so, just clapping, dancing, and enjoying ourselves as well!
The farthest point we reached from our hotel is the Kleinmarkthalle. This place is an indoor market; something like the Granville Island Public Market, but a bit smaller. Again, we lots of stalls of food and spices. One of the more unique products of Frankfurt is the white asparagus that you can find here – this type of asparagus is grown underground, and comes out white because it has no chlorophyll. It seems to be in season right now, because we saw it in the markets everywhere we went! Unfortunately, we never came across a dish to actually try it.
After that, we found a great viewing deck on the top floor of the Zeil Galerie building. There is a Samsung showroom/store, and also a small café and skydeck both sponsored by Samsung. We ended up sitting there for quite some time, just slowly watching as we approached sunset. The thing is, sunset is so late these days that we never actually stay out late enough to see the sunset.
On the way back to the hotel, we went past the one of the markets we had already gone by earlier in the day, and tried a very interesting dish of green sauce, potatoes, and an egg. After going back to the hotel and looking this up, I then found out that the festival is actually called the ‘green sauce festival’ (Grüne Soße Festival), and that this green sauce is the main dish!
I love the liveliness of this city. It’s a bit unfair to compare because there’s currently a bunch of festivals and events going on, but they don’t seem to be all that uncommon around here. I’d imagine the markets to be even nicer at Christmastime! And not to mention that this notion of drinking in public is just a common thing. We’re used to sneaking around alcohol when we go to the beach in Canada, while in Germany, it’s completely accepted.
I’ve only been here for two days, so it’s hard to fully examine the culture and lifestyle of this place. But from what I’ve seen so far, this city definitely seems like a place where see myself living in. Paris is nice, but I wouldn’t want to fight for space with the crazy influx of tourists on the streets that are already too narrow. Belgium is same but different – the streets are still narrow, and there’s just not enough of the urban city for me. Frankfurt, on the other hand, seems very liveable. There’s skyscrapers that make up the skyline, meaning that there’s offices and jobs and also give this place its modern feel. The Main River looks like a lovely route for a jog. Even the fact that there are more traffic lights make me feel a bit more comfortable. And, if you want some quiet time away from the city, you don’t have to go far. Just drive half an hour out of the city, and you’ll already be faced with these precious small towns. Of course I’m not planning to move anytime soon, but I really love what I saw in Frankfurt.
I’m even more excited to see the Netherlands. Everybody has told me that I will absolutely love Amsterdam. I’ll let you know soon!