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Published: January 10th 2016
Frankfurt Christmas Market
Located in Romerberg, this market is rated one of Europe's best
Being considered a "Top 10 Most Disappointing Destination in the World" by Smarttravel.com is no claim to be proud of, but it wasn't by choice that Frankfurt earned this title. It's dubbed as "sterile and boring"--a description Kristina and I can vouch for--and if it hadn't been for a 2-hour delay on our connecting flight from Dublin, we and our friends would've never visited this town. Our trip up to this point had consisted of 5 flights, 2 shuttles, 1 bus, and countless excursions on public transit, which all ran without a hitch. But now on the journey's last leg, Kristina joked about how our luck might finally expire, which fulfilled the prophecy and landed us at the Frankfurt airport for 6 hours thanks to a strike by air-traffic controllers. We sighed of relief when our group was compensated with a 1-night stay at the Sheraton connected to the terminal, food vouchers, and a flight home the next afternoon. Since the grass is greener where you water it, we took advantage of the situation and used this surprise layover to explore the city.
Frankfurt won't be compared to Paris anytime soon, but its role as the hub for Germany's flagship
Fried potato pancakes with an apple, garlic, or herb sauce
carrier, Lufthansa, adds insult to injury by forcing travelers passing through Europe to stop here; it's as if the Germans played a cruel joke by coercing tourists to visit its worst city, despite having a horde of beautiful destinations like Berlin, Munich, and Cologne. However, this town does hold weight by hosting the world's biggest book fair and motor show, is the largest financial center and geographic center of mainland Europe, and was the birthplace of techno music in the early 90s.
But none of this would've mattered had one of Europe's best Christmas markets not been here. We bought a group ticket (valid up to 5 people) for Є14 and took the S8 or S9 train to Hauptwache station in Alstadt, the old city center. After a 15-minute ride, we strolled east along Zeil and turned south onto Neue Krame, then meandered towards the Main River where lies Frankfurt's most prominent (and only) attraction, the Römerberg. Surrounding this plaza is the Römer (medieval City Hall for the last 600 years), Golden Swan (adjacent building to the Römer sold to the city in 1405), Haus Römer, and Old St.Nicholas Church. These "gingerbread houses" flanking the square were the perfect
Souvenir mug for the bitter and sour German beverage, apple wine
setting for the holiday festivities that ensued. We tried the quintessential German beverage, apfelwein (apple wine), somewhat of an acquired taste with its bitter and sour flavor. We also sampled some kartoffelpuffer--fried potato pancakes you dip in an apple, garlic, or herb sauce--and 2 varieties of sausages--bratwurst and currywurst. Our friends decided to get a schnitzel sandwich with sauerkraut and kept the apfelwein cup as a souvenir, but we opted not to, having already tried both in Vienna last year.
After a solid hour enjoying the market, our group headed back to the hotel to gather our luggage and walk next door to the airport. While our time in Frankfurt was pleasant, we were all excited to go home, especially following an entire day unexpectedly spent at the airport. 5 cities in 8 days is no easy feat, but we wouldn't have done it any other way. This trip was a first in many aspects, but the purpose of traveling is to push your limits, so any journey that doesn't leave you tired, dirty, and uncomfortable isn't one worth taking. We certainly did all these things this time around, but look forward to slowing down in the future. Until
Schnitzel Sandwich with Sauerkraut
The quintessential German dish of flattened pork and pickled cabbage
next time, happy travels!
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