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I have a ticket, but there’s no boat!

Day Eight: I’ve Been Lost, and Found

December 15th, 2008 at 10:45 pm

When I last wrote, I had been in a Starbucks bu the Hauptbahnhof, thinking of what to do next. I had checked my bags at a locker in the station and gone on for the day in the city.

Since it was about lunch time, I decided to find food, and proximity to the Hauptbahnhof should provide a multitude of options. So I just began walking in some non-particular direction. I should have a GPS log to look at later.

The search quickly made me realize how different Frankfurt is than other towns I’ve seen on this trip and in past trips.

For one, it’s an understatement that this is a commuter town. The population nearly doubles by day, from what I hear. This also, unfortunately, means it has one of the most complex public transportation systems imaginable. They have Regional and Regional Express trains, S-Bahn and S-Bahn Express trains, U-Bahn subway trains, tram cars on the street, buses, and even public taxis! The network map looked like a bowl of spaghetti, dropped carelessly on the floor.

And that is exactly what I found for lunch - Spaghetti alla Matriciana - but not dropped on the floor. It seemed to be a reasonably authentic Italian restaurant (who’s name I cannot remember). I believe it was just north west of the train station. It was delicious, but even better was the beer. A private label, I gathered, called Pfugstäder.

After eating, I decided to tackle the transit system and go find the Christkindlmarkt - Frankfurt is supposed to have one of the biggest and best.

This long exposure of the market in Frankfurt pleases me

This long exposure of the market in Frankfurt pleases me

The market was (predictably) in the squares in and around Römer Platz - or just Dom. I walked through it a bit and was disappointed at how small it was, and filled only with food and drinks, which I did not want. I ventured down to the river and over the bridge to take some photos.

On my way back through the market, I realized my error. I should have gone left at Albuquerque. To the other side of the street was an incredibly expansive street market weaving in and down every side street for blocks! Wow! I had previously found only a small tributary of this enormous market. It was a kind of bendy, twisty, shopping mall, with tastes, smells, and sights everywhere. A man could spend hours visiting all the carts and examining all the wares for sale.

So that’s exactly what I did. But unfortunately, by this time, my phone was beginning to run low on power, so I couldn’t leave it on to track my whereabouts. Although I literally walked around the same three-block market for over three hours and almost never saw anything twice!

Beautiful sunset

Beautiful sunset

As the sun began to set, the beautifully restored medieval architecture glowed with a bright orange light, caused by the city’s pollution - not entirely unlike suburban Atlanta. I helped myself to a few “artsy” photos.

Not long after the sun had set, I made back for the train station. It was time to meet up with Philipp, who would be offering me his floor for a free stay tonight. I took the S-Bahn train to Niederrad Bahnhof, where Philipp picked me up in his black Ford Focus “Caravan”, as he called it. I guess that’s the fancy German term for hatchback.

After reaching his place and dropping my bags, it was dinner time. Philipp suggested the Paulaner Haus am Dom, and I couldn’t refuse. This place was essentially the Hofbrauhaus, but for Paulaner. So that is where we went. I ordered a round of tall Paulaner Hefeweizen for the two of us and for myself the Wienerschnitzel. God it was tasty! Maybe it was all the walking around… Philipp ordered something resembling the entire hind leg of a pig - Schweinsaxen I think.

After dinner, it was time to retire. I made up my spot on the floor and settled in for a cold night - the heat had been off in Philipp’s apartment all weekend!

KML log of my walk around Frankfurt

Written by jarrod.carlson

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