TG: It was beautiful to watch the sun rise over Frankfurt, & our first day of exploring, as we flew in this morning. We arrived at our Hotel by taxi (Hotel Excelsior is conveniently located across the road from the city’s main train station – Hauptbahnhof – built in 1888) bright & early, way too early to check in, so we stored our bags & went in search of coffee (for Graeme) & breakfast.
We eventually found both in Pauls Platz – awful coffee apparently but a place to sit, get our bearings, set our agenda for the day, access wifi & get a sugar hit. It was amazing how quiet the city was at that hour. Pauls Platz is named for St Pauls Church (Paulskirche) built between 1789 & 1833, a simple building but impressive none the less.
We took advantage of the lack of crowds to wander around the Römerberg – Frankfurt’s Old Town Center – it is such a pretty area with beautiful old half timbered buildings & a town hall that dates back to 1405!
We decided to get tickets for the Hop On – Hop off bus to get a sense of where everything was & to get us back to our hotel to check in & have a much needed shower.
GW: So, here we are in Frankfurt. We were thinking that it was a ghost town, nothing was open (except for the pretzel place) but then the clock struck 7.30am and all these bloody tourists invaded the square. Soon enough it turned into a thriving metropolis full of cars, buses, trams, oh and bloody tourists! It’s now been about 36 hours of awakenupedness and that sucks. But we’re not game to sleep just in case we over sleep! I heard about some localish dude who did that, his name was Rip Van Winkle! I think I will settle for shower, shave and get back on the Blue hop on / off bus. Time for some true German Fare and a beer! I hear they have beirbitch here!
TG: After a much needed shower & change of clothes we hopped back on the bus. Our first stop was The Old Opera House (Alte Oper) constructed in 1880 in the style of the Italian High Renaissance. I do love old architecture, it’s so impressive.
It was a lovely area to have lunch, so we did. We found a great cafe that had vegan food up one end & food for the carnivores (GW) at the other – we were allowed to sit together to eat. From there we wandered up to the Hauptwache (named after the old baroque Guard House. Built in 1730 it once housed the city’s militia, a prison, a police station & now a cafe). We loved looking at all the wonderful foods on offer as we wandered from one land mark to another.
From there we headed to the Eschenheimer Tower built in the early 1400’s it is apparently the finest relic from Frankfurt’s old town walls and now houses a cafe. If you need to use the bathroom in the cafe you must climb 44 stairs up into the tower to get to them.
More wandering & meandering & exploring & discovering & we arrived at St Bartholomew’s Cathedral which is just behind the Römerberg. A very impressive Catholic cathedral built of red sandstone in Gothic style between 1413 & 1514.
By this stage of the day we were a bit like the walking dead so it was time to take one last look around the beautiful Römerberg then catch the last blue bus back our hotel, grab a quick bite to eat & collapse into bed so that we may have more energy tomorrow to continue to explore Frankfurt further.
P.S. I feel fortunate that the sun shone so gloriously on our first day of exploring, it certainly made for a great first impression of Frankfurt. My other impressions of this city are that it is wonderfully green – trees everywhere. Bicycles everywhere too, well done people! And so much room. The pedestrian areas & many Platz make it feel so spacious. There is a sadness about too, however, when you think about how amazingly old so many of these buildings are & how many of them were badly damaged in the war. Such a wonderful effort to rebuild them, impressive lobbying & fundraising by the people on many occasions.