Amanda's Adventures

{May 26, 2010}   Day 1 recap: Frankfurt

Here’s me in my flying outfit getting ready to go to the airport:

And here is my helpful and beautiful mommy assisting me in making the final decisions on what to bring.

Not included in these pictures  are the horribly uncomfortable, hot pink, high-heel shoes. I had to have a nice pair of shoes in order to be in agreement with the stand-by dress code. I’ll dedicate a post to those shoes later. The flights were uneventful. I got on both flights that I intended to. On the second flight I watched the movie “It’s Complicated.” Not terrible but not great either. I then slept for a couple of hours, then I watched “Monsters Inc.” One of my favorite kids movies. Always makes me tear up at the end. They served us dinner on the flight which I didn’t expect. They gave us this fake indian dish with chicken. It didn’t make me puke, but it was far from good. They gave us breakfast too and I was really happy to have the strawberry yogurt.

So I arrived in Frankfurt airport around 7:15 am (for all of you on the West Coast, that’s about 10:15 pm your time).  I was immediately struck by the fact that the world didn’t turn up-side-down. People didn’t take off their pants and put them on their head. The sky didn’t turn green and the grass was not blue. After I realized that Germany was a place just like any other, I took a breath and said, “Here we go.” I proceeded to baggage claim only stopping to exchange my money and go through customs. I had never gone through Customs before. They just asked me where I was going and how long I was staying. Stupidly, I got flustered and stuttered and stammered around my intent. The guy was nice enough though. He chuckled and said, “Have a good trip!” I went down to baggage claim and my bag was one of the first on the belt. I was overcome by a big sigh of relief. I had been a bit uncomfortable being separated from my backpack. I mean, it had all of my clothing and my non-horribly-painful shoes. So I took my stuff and myself, the whole package together in Europe for the first time, to the bathroom to change. Cut to me in the smallest bathroom stall ever trying to fish out my jeans and a shirt from my backpack while trying to stay organized. I was in that stall for about 20 minutes. It was such a crazy process. Anyway, I was successful in getting dressed and getting all my stuff together in a semi-organized fashion and I was off to find the train.

After walking for only a couple minutes I found the train stop. My next challenge was to buy a ticket from the machine. The machine that was all in German. I read the buttons and labels and figured out the code for my stop, Frankfurt am Main. The challenge was to figure out what ticket to buy. There were no clues as to what each button meant. There was absolutely no way I could figure it out on my own. After asking a couple people if they spoke English (“Spreken zee English?”), I found a lovely British woman who was happy to help me.

The train ride from the airport to the train station was beautiful. I was left breathless for a moment from looking at the beautiful forest that surrounded us. I mean, I’m used to being in the forest and camping, but the shades of green and the shapes of the trees were unlike anything I’d ever seen before. As the train continued, I noticed little houses that were surrounded by gardens. They were so small that it was difficult for me to decide if they were houses or little garden sheds. After talking to the staff at my hostel, I concluded that they were probably a slum, but the most beautiful slum I’d ever seen.

I finally arrived at the train station which had high ceilings and gorgeous pillars throughout. It reminded me of the beauty that is Grand Central Terminal. I followed the directions that the hostel e-mailed to me and exited through the main entrance. I noticed the buildings were a mix between old traditional buildings and huge skyscrapers, much like the Upper West Side. I crossed the street and walked down Kaiserstr. There were people setting up for what looked like a street fair (later I found out that these food stands are there everyday). The street looked perfectly normal, with clothing boutiques and coffee shops (including Starbucks). I turned left, as the directions told me, and this was the first thing I saw:

I could tell you that the name of this Inn means “The Six Inn,” but I’d be lying. That’s right, the street that my hostel is on is made up of mostly sex stops, strip bars, and hotels that are rented by the hour (if you know what I mean). That being said, living in NYC prepared me for a lot. I found my hostel, The 5 Elements Hostel, and checked in. I wasn’t allowed to fully check in until 4 pm (it was about 8:30 am at this point), but they said that I was welcome to put my stuff in a locker and hang out in the lobby or go explore the city. I did all three of those things. I put my stuff in the locker (which looked like an animal cage), hung out for a while (orienting myself, going on Facebook of course, and figuring out where I wanted to go), and left for my first day of exploring.

Using lonely planet’s Europe on a shoestring book, I figured out what the must-see places were. I took the underground transit, the U, to Romer/Dom. I exited the underground train at Dom. Dom is a huge cathedral that was supposedly the coronation site of the Holy Roman emperors from 1562 until 1792. It’s one of the few structures left after the raids in 1944.

I loved all of the iron work. The clock also came in handy all afternoon. Romer is the old central area of Frankfurt where there are now reconstructed buildings that were modeled after the 14th and 15th centuries.

It’s funny that my only experience with this architecture is from the “It’s a Small World” ride at Disneyland.

Though this area was beautiful, there wasn’t really much to do or see beyond this little area. I decided to wander around a bit and I found the river.

I wandered around the other side of the river for a while. I passed by a little church that had a cute statue.

After roaming, I realized that I hadn’t had anything to eat since I was on the plane. I walked to this place called Fichte Kranzi (a place that lonely planet recommends). It said that it didn’t open until 5 pm. So I wandered around a bit and found this cute little place. Thank goodness they had an English menu in addition to their German one, but I just asked the waitress what she thought I should have. I told her that I wanted traditional German cuisine, and she recommended the Schnitzel with mushroom sauce and potatoes. It came with a salad that mostly tasted like coleslaw. The carrot part was yummy too, but the white stuff on top was not that great. I don’t know what it is, but I gave it the 2-bite try.

The Schnitzel was awesome. Soooo yummy.

I wandered around some more. Went back to the other side of the river and decided to go back to the hostel. On the way, near Dom, I found this store that sold cat stuff only. It was crazy. I loved it. Everything was kind of expensive, but it was fun looking.

Cool statues were in the subway.

I finally got back to the hostel and caught up on my TV shows (Nurse Jackie and United States of Tara) since I still wasn’t allowed to go to my room (at this point it was 2 pm). After doing some work figuring out hostels for my future places, they told me that I could go to my room. I immediate went up and took a nap. The beds were comfy and they provided me with a pillow. When I woke up, some of my roommates were hanging out. I started talking to one of them in particular. Her name was Kat and she was also going to school in NYC, but at the School for Visual Arts. We kept talking and decided to go out. I told her about Fichte Kranzi and she was totally on board for going. So we walked there and decided to have their specialties. We each had a glass of Apfelwein (apple wine). It didn’t taste great, but it was alright.


We both had the local specialty: Handkase mit Musick which literally means “hand-cheese with music”. Basically, the dish was cheese with chopped onions on top with some sort of sauce. It came with bread and butter, too. It was super delicious. I forgot to take a picture until I had already eaten it. Oops! 🙂

Take my word for it. It was awesome. I also decided to get a sausage, for protein sake. The sausage arrived on a bed of sauerkraut. The sausage was good, I ate it with mustard. But the real surprise was the sauerkraut. Kat and I had never had sauerkraut before and we had been scared to eat it, but we bit the bullet and took our first bite. IT WAS HEAVEN. So flavorful, but not overwhelming.

After our meal, we walked back to the hostel and saw this really cool car.

Anyway, we got back to the hostel, realized the beer at the hostel was too expensive, went down the street, bought it for cheaper, drank it, and went to bed. The shower there was kinda strange, but it worked.

Today, I slept in like crazy because I hadn’t had a good night’s sleep in forever. It felt so good. Today is rainy anyway so it was a good day to stay in. Tonight I’m going to go out, though. I’ll probably go to a dance club or a jazz bar.


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