A Layover in Germany
Frankfurt am Main Travel Blog› entry 1 of 10 › view all entries
Time: 11:38, 4:38 am home time
Similar to what I remembered. 15 years hasn't changed that much about Frankfurt!
Kind of drab (of course).
Smiling, and laughter, and confusion - at least on my part.
The airport in Frankfurt sucks! Worst one I've ever been to in terms of directions, helpfullness, ease of use. Loooong ways to walk everywhere and no idea where you are actually going. Signs point to wrong directions and although many people speak English, they are very brusque and aren't helpful.
Wow! Everyone thought I was German. I had several people ask me if I spoke English (mainly on the train), but mostly people spoke to me in German. A very cute boy spoke to me in German for a minute and I could not understand at all what he was saying. But I understood the sentiment at frustration in the airport!
I made my way into Frankfurt after sitting in the airport from 7:30 am (German time) to 9:30 am. Actually I didn't leave the airport til after 10 am. I thought I was already at the exit, but it took me more than 30 minutes to find out how to get to the train station and buy the correct ticket. After I locked up my carryons and grabbed $20 worth of Euros, I headed into the city via train. That part was easy once I got my ticket. Got off in the middle of the shopping district (zeil? street) and proceeded to look for Zeilgalerie, the shopping mall where the store I crave - Lush - was waiting for me!
After about 15 minutes of wondering around, I finally found it. It was right in front of me the whole time, lol. It was a very cool mall that was around 10 stories. The middle was just filled with these up and down escalators that zig-zagged back and forth. The floors were angled all around. so you could just follow the 'ramp' up and pass every store without riding the escalators or elevators, or touching stairs. At the very top of Zeilgalerie is a rooftop deck. You can eat on it or go a bit higher to where they have observation telescopes. Just standing up there and looking around, the view of Frankfurt was very nice. I cannot say beautiful because Frankfurt is not a beautiful place. It has its moments, its buildings. But there is no New York skyline, no Atlanta parks, no Venice canals, no Roman ruins, nothing like that. It is a seemingly industrial city with many buildings that I was unable to tell the purpose of.
But the view. I could see about 6 churches, one of which was one of those rare beautiful buildings. I considered walking to it, but it appeared to be about 10 blocks away. I didn't want to get lost or walk too much more, because I already knew how much walking I would still have to do. So I decided to head into Lush. I spent about 20 minutes picking out my few favorite things (very expensive! much more than London), and the girls kept speaking to me in German. :) However I was very very upset when I went to pay ($22 euro for 3 things! eek) and realized I had left my credit card in my carry on bag and only had 4 euro with me! I calculated out the cost of going to get it and coming back. It would have taken an hour and about $15 to get more train tickets, take out my luggage, then re-store it. So I sadly put my soaps, butter bars, and bath bombs away, then wandered around the center of the city for an hour or so. I found a grocery store where they had Kinder eggs, possibly my favorite candy of all time. Unfortunately later I found out that I had bought a weird version of them. They were small plastic eggs. Inside one half of the egg is a toy, and the other half has a layer of creamy milk chocolate, a layer of creamy white chocolate, and then nestled there are two small choclate truffle balls. The kind I'm used to are simply the toy (in a plastic egg) surrounded by hard layers of white and milk chocolate.
Found my way back to the airport. It took me 30 minutes to get on the right train. It did make me angry that they charged you 3.35 euro each way, and then you never used your tickets and they are never asked for. A wasted $10. It was quite upsetting trying to find the right train. There was not a single word in English and no one I asked could help me. Eventually I made it back, and it took another 30 minutes to get to where I had stored my luggage. Then another 20 to walk to the gate! What a hassle Frankfurt is.
When I got to Finland, I was able to get my luggage and get in the car within 5 minutes. Now that is awesome. Drove to the flat we would be staying in (5 of us). It's very cute, right in the center of Helsinki. Has a little elevator that fits a max of 4 or 5 people stuffed to the gils. The room I am staying in is small. It is the size of my old walk in closet. However it is the only private room here and it has a bathroom as well. The bathrooms here are strange. The shower fixture is just on the wall, with a drain in the floor. No shower stall, in fact you have to aim the shower head or you will get everything in the bathroom soaking wet! Our host was very nice and left us some tea, milk, cereal, and things like that.