Saturday, December 4, 2004

Frankfurt: Financial Capital but Small Town Feel

In spite of my lack of fondness for the Frankfurt Airport, I thoroughly enjoyed the city.  It seemed to have a small town feel...perhaps it was because I am here during Christmas Market season and stayed around the market but regardless, I like this place.  After spending most of yesterday traveling from Cairo to Frankfurt (and tipping my taxi driver way too much...going from Egyptian Pound to Euro definitely worked to his advantage), I spent last night relaxing in my hotel and washing the sand out of my clothes.  

Today I headed into town to enjoy the first day of my first solo trip.  I really excited about this new adventure as all my previous trips have been with friends so I'm looking forward to what the next week will bring.  My cousin told me about the Grayline tour of Frankfurt so that was my first stop to get an overview of the city.  The first thing I learned about being a solo traveler is that if you want to talk with someone (after awhile you get tired of talking to yourself don't ya know) so I struck up a conversation with another solo female.  Turns out she had a 12 hour layover on her way to South Africa.  She works for Chevron in San Francisco and heading down there for work so rather than sitting in the airport for 12 hours she headed into town.  We hit it off and hung out after the tour before she had to head back to the airport.  

December is a great time to be in Germany in spite of very cold weather because it is Christmas Market time.  Every city (really every section in each city) and town has their own Christmas Market.  Today I had some Apfelwein (hot apple wine) and have a feeling it is going to become my drink of choice this week as it is ever so good and warm.  Each Christmas Market has a commemorative cute pay a little extra for the first drink as a deposit and if you return the mug, you get the deposit back otherwise you just keep it.

This part of Frankfurt has lots of terrific Apfelwein taverns. The perfect drink in the cold Germany winter. 

After Jeannie and I said our good-byes, I headed to the U-bahn (subway) to go back to my hotel.  I was staying about 20 minutes outside of town (gotta love the Marriott Friends & Family discount!) so I quickly learned to navigate the subways.  As in typical German fashion, everything is precisely on schedule and very orderly.  My hotel is attached to a shopping mall so headed over to check out the grocery store...just love strolling through local grocery aisles.  This grocery store was HUGE...3 I picked up a few snacks for the week and headed back to the hotel.

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