Every once in a while, I actually do get a chance to travel. Last November, on my way back from New York, I stopped by in Frankfurt to stretch my legs. I stayed at the Metropole Hotel, which was located next to the train station. Unfortunately, I did not read the signs properly and had to walk the long way before I managed to find it. The hotel itself wasn’t too bad but it was listed as a 4-star hotel. I keep forgetting that the classification of hotels in Europe are very different from that of the US (or Singapore for that matter). In my opinion, it was a 3-star at best. That said, I can see that it probably used to be quite a grand hotel. The rooms were quite sparse but sufficiently big. And the room, most importantly, was clean. Which is more than I can ask for. The bathroom left quite a lot to be desired but it was functional at least. The walls and doors were thick so I wasn’t too bothered by noise from my neighbors.
When I first announced that I was going to Frankfurt, my friends thought I was crazy. When they foudn out that I was going to stay near the train station, everyone told me to be careful. In truth, I really can’t see why they were so concerned. It wasn’t as bad as I was led to believe. Everyone thought I was going to be mugged or propositioned. Perhaps it is because I dress like a slob or something, but I was neither propositioned nor mugged.
As for Frankfurt itself, I really liked it. For a city that is the center of the Euro, its really quite a small city. Having been to Berlin in the past, I was not expecting that there would be very many places of historic interests left in Frankfurt so I was quite pleasantly surprised at what I saw. There were many structures that survived the war. The juxtaposition of old and new was interesting. I didn’t think that the cuisine was anything to shout about. I tried their famed apfelwein. It tasted a bit like apple soda but with alcohol content. Their chapels were very sparse but the guide from the walking tour said that many of the churches were bombed and many of the relics were destroyed.
One of the best things about Frankfurt (and perhaps also its most lamentable) is its position as heart of train transport in Germany. In the four days that I was there, I basically woke up, walked over to the train station and hoped on the first train out to well, wherever that particular train happened to be going and then looked it up on wikitravel! It was quite the adventure and I thoroughly enjoyed myself. Due to my adventures with the trains and my unlucky brush with the train strike, I did not have much time to really explore Frankfurt itself. Certainly I only brushed the surface but I had a thoroughly good walk around the city and explored its markets. I wish I had more time (and euros) so that I could have explored the museums too…but I think maybe another time!