Day 3: Frankfurt (Thursday, March 21, 2013)



I took a train into Frankfurt this morning, a 30-45 minute ride from Mainz, depending on whether or not you’re on a high-speed train (I was). I had plans to do several museums but decided after the first one I was done with museums for awhile. I wanted to see more of the city, and with so little in English I was missing a lot anyway.

Here’s what I did do:

  1. Got lost on my way to the first stop. I knew I wouldn’t have GPS so had made notes last night about how to get where I was going. I realized as the area was getting dicey I had missed something and changed course. I ended up in this cool neighborhood with fun shops and eateries, very non-touristy. Although enjoyable, I still had no idea where I was. With no Starbucks in sight (their free Wi-Fi comes in very handy) I caved when I found a T-Mobile hotspot and paid the €5 for 24-hour unlimited access. That made the rest of the day go much smoother. Dan will be with me the rest of the trip and his company phone has full access here so it won’t be an issue anymore.
  2. Naturmuseum Senckenberg – museuum of natural science. If you’ve seen one…you know. But two things stood out:
  • Children’s gleeful squeals in the presence of dinosaurs sound the same in any language
  • There was an exhibit detailing the development of the human embryo, including a diagram of sperm delivery and a graphic photo of baby delivery, the mother spread-eagled and smiling with just the head of the baby out. Any 5 year old passing by would never  have to ask where babies come from. I had always heard Europe was less stuffy about sex in general but the American in me was still jarred by the public display. Still, it was oddly refreshing.

 

3. Just walked around the rest of the day. My approach reminded me of how I used to explore San Francisco when I first moved to California: let’s turn here and see what happens! Frankfurt is the banking capital in Germany, downtown was a wide mix of skyscrapers, residential and shopping areas, with lots of old stuff mixed in.

This is a nice park downtown amidst the skyscrapers.

 

My second quaint town square!

 

I discovered a huge shopping district that was fun. The people are very diverse, this city has a very nice international feel to it. 600 year old St. Bartholomew’s cathedral was soo gothic. A trip up to the observation deck on the 55th floor of Main Tower was cool. It was outside and though gloomy, I still got some cool shots. The first one below shows the train station, the second the shopping district mentioned above. It’s everything you see in the picture where there aren’t cars.

 

 

OH – how could I forget: the area just outside the train station is seedy, red light stuff. On the way back, I get stopped by this couple who want to “show me something.” He was my age or a little older, she was 40ish, very blond, very coiffed. When I said “no thanks” they got on either side of me, each looped an arm through mine, turned me around and said “no, we really want you to see this” and tried to walk me into their venue. I yanked my arms away and said NO, turned around and just kept walking in my original direction and they were very disappointed! It wasn’t scary, just weird 🙂

General tidbits from today:

  • Waiters will not bring your check until you ask for it. Took me longer than it should have to figure that out.
  • I’ve been on 5 trains now and have only been asked for a ticket once. Dan says it’s pretty much the honor system but a heavy fine if you get caught without one.
  • It costs €1 to use the restrooms in the train stations. They are immaculate.
  • For Marianne: yes, the paper denominations are different sizes
The cathedral and a bridge over the Main (“Mine”) River from Main Tower, and downtown in the next pic.

 

 

I love the trains and the train stations!

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