Luggage, customs, and a lot of walking

Frankfurt am Main Travel Blog

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When we landed we had three main goals. One, was to find a way to contact my family and let them know that everything is ok and that we have reached dry land safely. Two, to find somehwere to store our luggage in the airport while we explore. And lastly find someone that speaks good enough English to direct us out of the airport to the train and to the correct stop where we can see Old Town Frankfurt.

Aside from the pay phones that I've used in the US, I have never used any other payphone. The European payphones proved to be rather confusing and expensive. Also, I've never called from Europe to the US before, and the codes confused me. After a couple of tries I was able to speak with my family for about 30 seconds and let them know that everything is ok and that we have arrived.

We probably should have changed some money into Euros prior to finding a phone, as with just a couple of coins we didnt really get much done.

After finding an exchange beureu we were off to find the luggage storage. This proves to be a very efficient and rather cheap way to get rid of excess weight if you have a long wait in an airport. Its 4 euros per hour per piece of luggage, and you know its safe and dont have to kill your shoulders.

As I am still on the subject of luggage, I do have to say that I was very disappointed with the misinformed personel of Lufthansa airlines. As I am moving back to Bulgaria, I needed to pack everything I can anywhere I can. I called numerous times trying to confirm what I can and cannot take with me on board.

outside the train station
I called the airline and was assisted by a woman that knew close to nothing, barely spoke English (she wasnt German), and could barely understand me. I got the following information - Laptops - you can take a laptop bag with you on board, in it you can carry anything you can connect to your I asked in that case can I stick a printer in the bag....she didnt find it funny...neither did I....I was serious. Then, I asked about my purse. She said along with the laptop and the carryon I can take a purse. I asked the approximate size of this purse and she said that a regular purse is allowed. I explained to her that currently in Miami its very modern and regular to have those giant shopping bag looking purses....she didnt find that amusing either.
Needless to say, when I reached the airport with my laptop bag, purse, and carryon, I went to get my tickets taken care of and they told me it was fine to have all three pieces. Later as I was in line.....I had to find a way to stuff my purse into my carryon luggage as all the sudden in a matter of 5 minutes all the rules were changed and I wasnt allowed to have both a purse and a laptop bag. I was ready to explode, not because I had to stuff everthing, but because of the misinformed and misleading staff. On a good note, they never checked the weight of my carryon luggage, which was defenately a good thing as it was over 35 pounds. Now...moving on from my little side note rant, and onto better things.

We found that the staff at the Frankfurt Airport all spoke at least a little bit of English, and were more than happy to help with any questions and confusion we may have.

After the gentleman helped us with our luggage and put it away (this is located between gate B and C on the ground floor) he directed us toward the subway/train. As we walked around in confusion looking at unbeleivebly long names that meant absolutely nothing to us, we found a booth for assistance. All I asked was where was the local train, not the long distance one, and the gentleman gave us a map, drew out the stops which would be of interest, told us how to buy tickets, and explained where exactly we get on. This we found extremely helpful until we reached the machine to buy the tickets, which proved to be far more confusing. There was a police officer that just stood next to the machine and helped foreigner after foreigner out. He punched in two tickets for us, and we were off.
Got on the correct train and started counting stops.

I now regret leaving so soon, and think that we should have spend a couple of hours at the airport sleeping, and then go exploring. It was bitter cold and everything was closed. We were in the Frankfurt downtown center at around 7 am, which meant very very few people and nothing opened. Though that was rather unerving, it was also very peaceful and we were able to see everything from a different point of view. I was able to take pictures without having a million tourists in them, and we were able to freely and quietly explore. We tried asking one of the few people that was sitting near us as we smoked a cigarette as to where we can find the road to the old town, and he just lifted his hand and turned away.

But we didnt give up. Finally we found a woman, that even though she didnt speak any English, once we showed her the map she just waved to us to follow her, and she walked us all the way down to the road and pointed us in the right direction. We kindly thanked her, and she headed back up the way she took us.

How picturesque! The beautiful buildinds, the colors, and the details. The center had an elegant fountain surrounded by flowers, the streets were clean and of stone, and since there werent that many people you almost felt like you were pulled back in time. No traffic, no people, nothing modern that can take your attention from the beautiful center. We walked around aimlessly and explored all the little streets. There was a beautiful cathedral which was in renovation, though there were still sides that were uncovered and we were able to see its incredible details.

After exploring the area we headed towards the canal and began to cross it. Right in the center there were roma musicians which played old classic ballads on a trumpet and accordion. Being right in the middle of that bridge, with Frankfurt all around, boats below, and with that beautiful music, it felt like a dream. Such an incredible experience. After giving them whatever coins we had left in our pockets we continued on. At the end of the bridge there was a restaurant along the water whihc was not opened yet, and we sat for a while to rest on the benches. Our feet tired and our bodies freezing. Though all around us it was gray with old buildings, the flower on the trees were blooming and a wave of bright color hit us. I couldnt resist a classic "Boriana" picture in front of them.

After a short break, I insisted we get up as my boyfriend was falling asleep. We walked back accross the bridge and the Roma musicians had attracted another group of Chinese tourists which were wildly taking pictures and giving coins. The Roma were happy.

Accross the bridge back into the old town the Historic Museum was opened and we decided to go in and get warm and learn a little bit about this beautiful city. When we went in we were completely ignored by the two people at the desk. We walked around the desk a little looking at books and facts, and when no one even looked up to greet us or ask us if we wanted to go in, we just started walking. Thats when all the sudden we became interesting and they asked us to pay.

Once inside we walked around and found only religeous artifacts, beautiful sculptures and paintings from nearby churches.

Though it was very interesting it wasnt exactly what we were looking for. When we started walking out of the museum somewhat disappointed a gentleman which had been watching us got our attention and told us we had missed a part of the museum. The historic part of Germany and the city of Frankfurt. We walked around various booths filled with antiques from various times in Germany. All which looked very interesting and must have had a big influence in various times, however, none of the panels had translation in English, and we werent able to understand a thing. One thing we did find very interesting were three models of Frankfurts old town. One, the way it looked before the big fire, the second the way it looked after the destruction, and lastly the way it is now.
Beautiful big models.

After our exciting walk through the museum we decided we would find somewhere to eat and walk down the business street where all the shops are. We sat down in a small coffee shop and ate a bagle and a sandwich with a soda and headed out. By the time we were at the center, where we initially got off the train, it was mayham! So many people, traffic of people. You couldnt cross from one side to the other without being trampled on. In comparison to just 3 hours prior to that, it was incredible how many people were on the pedestrian street. We walked into a couple of stores and just enjoyed the craziness around us, sat down to smoke a cigarette, listened to more Roma musicians (my boyfriend fought through traffic to drop a couple of coins in their hat) and we headed to the trainstop.

Once back at the airport we picked up our luggage and slept for another couple of hours until it was time to head to our gate. One thing I did find very interesting is that as you pass from one gate to another you go through customs. I think that by the time we were finaly at our gate my belt broke. I could probably take everything out of my bag and take all metal objects off in my sleep. We were near our gate abut two hours prior to departure, ony to find out that we had to wait until one hour prior to departure, as the gate was far too small.

One thing I do want to point out which was absolutely great in the Frankfurt airport is that there are smoking booths. Now, not only are they rather uncomfortable (nowhere to sit) but you can barely finish your cigarette as the smoke makes  your eyes runny and you cannot breath.

However, lets be thankful that there are booths such as these, as I think I would have lost my mind without them.

We spent our last hour eating again, and having a Corona...when the time came we headed into our gate and patiently waited our turn.

I defenatly want to come back to Germany, less tired, with more money, and more time. I want to explore the cathedral, I want to spend the evening in a pub, and I want to take a boat ride down the canal, and I am sure, that there are plenty of other things I want which I dont even know yet.

boriana84 says:
its great! the train ride is ony 15 minutes and there are plenty of things to see. And if not interested in doing the typical tourist things, you can just be happy you are out of the airport....sit in a coffee shop or look at stores.
Posted on: May 12, 2009
cneoridium says:
Thanks! I always fly through Frankfurt, but I never know if my 4-5 hour layover is enough to go into town, and I end up just staying in the airport (one of the more boring in the world). Sounds pretty good, maybe I'll take a longer stopover next time!
Posted on: May 12, 2009
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outside the train station
outside the train station
blueprints for the cathedral
blueprints for the cathedral
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