Wednesday, July 22, 2009


The train ride from Amsterdam to Frankfurt was about 4.5 hours long on a fairly nice train. We ended up next to a few Americans at one point, and an older Dutch gentleman with his adorably beautiful, 15 month old, half Dominican little girl talked with us as well. When Chuck smiled at her she would get a big smile and hide shyly behind her hand. Cute little girl. Once we arrived in Frankfurt we walked 1.5 miles to our hotel and rested for a bit. It's definitely a lot hotter in Frankfurt than in was in Amsterdam! After cooling off we headed out to Römer Square - it's an old square that was mostly destroyed in WWII but has since been rebuilt. It's very traditional looking and has a bunch of little cafes and ice cream shops in it. We ended up getting a pizza from an Italian cafe. It was okay, but the service was once again not so great. Oh well.

On the 16th we got out of the hotel room by about noon and headed down to the south side of the river to find the "food district." It was a hot day and all the walking wasn't very exciting, especially when we didn't really find any street that could respectably be called a "food district." We did get a nice view of Frankfurt's skyline though. And we found a cherry tree, full of plump, red cherries! So after finding nothing on the south side we crossed back over the river on a bridge called the Eiserner Steg. It's a nice pedestrian bridge that is mentioned in Frankfurt's wikitravel page. I don't know if it's really anything special, but hey, it's a bridge. The bridge takes you right to the south side of that Römer Square place, so that's where we ended up. We were starving by now and zeroed in on this simple sausage stand as our lunch choice. It turned out to be great! They have various types of sausages that they serve with mustard, a bread roll, and a potato salad. Not American potato salad either - I don't know what the ingredients are but I think perhaps some vinegar and mustard. It was good stuff! We went back to the hotel and picked up a quarter of a watermelon from the supermarket next to where we were staying. We had fun eating that while standing over the bathtub. We weren't able to slice it up so we just took turns biting out big chunks. It was a messy process, with a whole lot of seeds, but well worth it! After a rest we headed out again, this time to Zeil Street on the northish side of town. It's lined with big brand named stores and tons of people. At the end it turns into a bunch of cafes and restaurants which is where we headed. After a lto of debate we ended up getting schweine schnitzel, pork on the bone, and some potato salad at a delicious smelling little place. We fed crumbs to the cute, tiny birds that seem to live alongside the pigeons in Frankfurt. And on the way back to the hotel after our wanderings we saw a ton of bunnies just munching grass in a park we cut through. They're so cute.

The next day I dragged Chuck to yet another botanic garden. This place was called Palmengarten. We had to walk two miles to get there which was rough. We ran into a rampaging T-rex along the way and narrowly avoided getting eaten! Or maybe it was just that we passed by the Natural History Museum and they had a big T-rex on their front lawn... And we got these big sandwiches along the way that were bursting with prosciutto, tomatoes, lettuce, and cheese. The Palmentgarten was a pretty good set of gardens. I was very happy that they had water lilies in bloom! I've been looking for them at each botanic place we've gone and finally found them at this place! In fact, there are water lilies in ponds around the city. They must be kind of common in Frankfurt. We also saw a greenhouse filled with cactus-y plants and another with tropical plants. They had a few large terrariums, one of which was filled with carnivorous plants and another with the kinds of plants that grow on other trees - maybe they're called air plants? Not sure of their name. They had a nice square with a fountain in the middle full of water lilies and at each corner of the square was a patch of different colored flowers. One corner was yellow and included Sunflowers of course, one corner was blue, one red, and the last white. It was nicely landscaped and designed! We also found a kiwi tree covered in unripe kiwis, a few pretty orchids, an outside cactus garden, and a bunch of other stuff that I don't know the names of. There was even a small lake with a waterfall, turtles, ducks, and big catfish. For a small fee you could take a rowboat out on the lake! By the time we were done and walked the two miles back to the hotel we were pretty exhausted and had hurting feet.

The 18th was my Birthday! Yay! So we decided to do a double-movie and dinner to celebrate. There's a theatre in Frankfurt that shows movies in the original language which was lucky for us. It's a crappy little place that costs way too much - €8, or $11 a person. But we forked out the cash and saw Bruno. I didn't think it was as witty or revealing of peoples true colors as Borat was, but I laughed a few times. Oh! I forgot about our walk to the theatre! On the way we came across a large crowd lining the road and wondered what was going on. It turned out to be a parade. In fact, it was a gay pride parade! There were a lot of men dressed up in heels and big Mardi-Gras-like dresses, and trucks full of people dancing and cheering for whatever organization they're with, and a group of people in these crazy balloon outfits, and loud music from each group. It was very cool! In fact I almost made us late for the movie hanging around taking pictures of the parade. But we made it to Bruno just in time and after the movie headed out to a place called Adolf Wagners. It was recommended to us by the guy at the front desk of our hotel as a good, traditional German place to go. We sat outside under the awning as it rained, and little bitty raindrops would slowly drip down in a bit of a mist on you. It was actually nice. We got the local drink: Apfelwein, or Applewine and I got Tafelspitz while Chuck got the Pork Knuckle. My Tafelspitz was good, but not as filling as Chuck's Pork Knuckle. In fact, a German family sat next to us (there are long wooden tables and people who aren't together will end up sitting next to each other at the table) all got the same thing Chuck did and they were laughing with us, commenting on how much food it was! Man it was good though! A big chuck of pork, still on the bone, cooked until the skin (which still had some visible hairs in it) was crunchy and crackly. And the fried potatoes that came with our meals were so good! And we didn't forget dessert: Apfelstreudel. Can you guess what that is? Yeah, apple streduel. It was a very good Birthday dinner. And after dinner we headed back to the movie theatre to see Harry Potter. The theatre room they were showing it in was that smallest I have ever seen... It was about the size of a large living room perhaps. I would say less than 100 people could fit in there. And there was even a faded silver curtain that opened up to reveal a 10 foot screen when the movie started. But, hey we got to see Harry Potter, that's all that matters! And on the walk back to the hotel we passed the continuing celebrations of whatever event had sponsored the earlier parade. There were lots of people having lots of fun. I have to wonder if Frankfurt is so happening every weekend.

The next day was very lazy. We managed to get out to eat some more of those sausages in Römer Square and then tried to find a shop to get food. Since it was Sunday just about everything was closed. However, the sex district was still going. That's where we ended up finding a convenience store and food. That was about it for the day...

The 20th was just as lazy. We even got those sausages in Römer Square again. They're good!

Frankfurt didn't have as much to do and see as we thought. When we first arrived it was very hot. By the second day a storm system had moved in and was dumping rain here and there, cooling it down a lot which was nice. Sometimes it can be very windy when walking through the tall city buildings. People tend to only cross the road when the green "walk" signal lights up. Chuck and I frequently found ourselves crossing alone while others just waited for the signal to change. Maybe they have hefty fines for crossing when the signal says "don't walk." Beer is cheap! It's about €1.60 a bottle, as opposed to €3.00 in most other places we've been so far. Traffic tends to stop for you when you're at a crosswalk with no signal. Chuck swears people look at you more. As in they have no problem meeting your gaze and continuing to look at you as you pass by them on the street. Just a curious gaze, not menacing. I haven't noticed this myself, but then again I tend to keep my head down and avoid eye contact. So there ya go! Those are some of my impressions of Frankfurt.

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