Brief foray into Germany
Frankfurt Travel Blog› entry 1 of 1 › view all entries
I arrived at the Frankfurt airport a day later than I was supposed to. Not a good omen for my trip :(
Why did this occur? Well, I was supposed to fly out on Jan. 7th from Palm Beach International Airport to Newark Liberty International, and then from there to Frankfurt. But the plane in Palm Beach had a mechanical error that derailed my flight, and there was no way for me to get up to Newark until the next day. A rather unfortunate circumstance, especially since I officially lost a day of time in my ultimate destination of Cape Town. But I give Continental Airlines some credit: They did rearrange all my flights at no financial cost to me (of course), and they offered me a $150 credit toward my next flight with them for my trouble.
I was surprised that once the plane landed, I actually to walk outside to take a bus to the terminal. This was the first time that I've ever had to do this on my travels. Very interesting lol...once at the terminal, I made a beeline to the first bathroom I saw so that I could wash up as best I could with some sanitizing wipes. I ended my clean up with a rinse of Listerine, and then I headed for customs...which was surprisingly desolate. I thought I was in the wrong place at first, but sure enough, I walked up to the officer and, after a few cursory questions, he stamped my passport and sent me on my way. Wow!
I thought that was a bit too easy, and I was right, in a way -- I asked a customs official how to get to the airport's train station, and he responded me by taking my passport and basically asking me the same questions that the last guy did.
Some of you might read this and wonder why I wanted to visit such a place. For one, I love to visit historical places, and for two, it gave me a chance to understand how the Nazis rose to power, leading to one of the largest wars in the history of the world.
First, though, I needed some money. It took me a while to locate an ATM, and by the time I did, I was dismayed to find out that it didn't accept my bank card.
Now I needed to buy a train ticket. I saw the self-service stations, but I didn't trust myself on those (in hindsight, I should've given it a try), so I went over to the ICE customer service area and bought a ticket there. The train ride from Frankfurt to Nuremberg would be about 2.5 hours, and the second class ticket cost, if my memory serves me correctly, 108 euro. Scheisse! I wonder now, in retrospect, if I should've taken one of the older trains rather than the ICE. Oh well. I paid the money, got my ticket and headed down to the station to wait.
The train arrived momentarily, and it was nice! Probably the most luxurious train I've ever been on.
By the way, if you ever ride the ICE, remember to keep your ticket on you for the conductor to verify. If you're caught without a ticket, you face a major fine.
Anyway, about 2 and a half hours later, we arrived at the Nuremberg Hauptbahnhof (main train station). The building houses lot of places to shop and eat, but of course, I did neither lol. I immediately sought out the place where I need to buy the tram ticket to take me to the Nazi museum. This turned out to be a bit more difficult than I thought. I also wanted to find a locker at the station where I could leave my bag during my brief visit.
I ended up at the information desk, and they told me where I could do both. I found a locker down stairs, stowed my bag, and then it was off to buy my tram ticket. I wound up in a room that was similar to what Americans go through when we visit the DMV. You take a number, and you wait and watch on the screens for your number to be called to go to a window. The wait took a while, but I finally got my ticket and went outside to catch the tram.
It was cold and drizzling, a rather nasty day. Still, it felt good to be outside for a while. :) The tram arrived and off I went to the museum.
I got off the tram about 20 minutes later, right outside the documentation center. It was about 3:15 p.m. at this point, so I needed to hustle if I was gonna get through this place, which was pretty big.
Sadly, because my time was limited, I had to really rush through the museum and didn't have the chance to fully appreciate it :( I needed to catch the train from the hauptbahnhof back to Frankfurt airport at 5:20 p.m. So I only had about an hour to go through everything before I had to be back outside to catch the tram. I did the best I could, and I did have a picture taken of my by a fellow American while at the museum.
As I left, the tram arrived and I ran up to it to catch it, even though I didn't have to, because it sat there for a while lol. I got on and sat down, and outside, a little girl waiting for a bus turned around to stare at me.
This older woman on the tram began to talk to me, but as I know hardly any German at all, the conversation didn't go far. Fortunately, another woman got involved in the conversation, so I just sat and listened to them speak in German to each other, trying to see if I could understand anything they said. Of course, I didn't lol :P
So we got back to the station, where I got my bag from my locker and caught the train going back to Frankfurt. I ended up falling asleep for a bit on the journey back, but I woke up in time hear the Frankfurt station announced. I got off, somewhat groggy and began looking for the signs to direct me to the airport.
Indeed, the next stop was for the airport, and finally I decided to get something to eat. I bought a bratwurst and a Fanta, my first meal of the day, and then I went to my gate and waited for my flight to Cape Town. Time to go to Africa!