A September 2002 trip
to Frankfurt by Irene
Quote: Frankfurt is a vibrant metropolis of shimmering skyscrapers, a charming old world town center, and is awash with lavish shopping. Fun, fabulous, and famous Frankfurt!
Follow up all the shopping with lunch in the shadow of St. Paul's Kirke in the platz of the same name, amid clusters of bright tables and umbrellas from the nearby restuarants. Finally, a stroll along the river Mainz Promenade, topped of with a sampling of the regions own Apfelwine.
When looking for directions in the station remember to look up near the train schedule display. I did not and wandered around in a few circles until I gazed upward and there sprang the Big I with a nice arrow pointing the way.
Facilities in the station are all underground and not free. It costs .60 euros. Correct change please!
My best tip - find a nice suburb hotel on the outskirts of the city and ride the train right into all the action. The information center will be happy to help.
The best way there is from the train station, where we got the reservation from the tourist office. Take the local train (1.30?) to the Frankfurt airport and catch the shuttle to the hotel. However, it does help if you catch the right shuttle. Our driver wanted to know why we did not get out when he arrived at the Holiday Express. "We want to go to the Hotel Post," we responded. Wrong answer! He grumpily drove us back to the airport and we discovered the hotel had a phone posted on the wall at the shuttle station. Just push the button.
At first glance the hotel was not impressive, but around the corner and we plunged into the garden driveway. A huge swinging brass and glass door led to a comfy dark-paneled and glass lobby with access to the welcoming bar and café on the right and the entrance to the elevator and stairs straight ahead. Pleasant English-speaking staff greeted us and were quick with paper work. I later realized the stairs went down as well as up and discovered the indoor pool and workout room.
Our spacious room on the third floor with phone, TV, fridge, full bath, wardrobe, and closet with shelves, was down the hall from the breakfast room. What a breakfast! An international spread--from USA bacon and eggs, to herring in sour cream along with the usual European fare of cold cuts, cheese, and wonderful crunchy rolls with lots of butter. A waiter poured all the coffee, tea, hot chocolate, and juice we could drink in a sunny bright room. On departure day, the hotel prepared breakfast at 6am for us and the shuttle was prompt for our 10:30am flight. We did, however, need to request the shuttle at least 12 hours in advance. Local buses frequently stopped within feet of the entrance and the train to downtown was a pleasant walk through tiny restuarants, bakeries, churches and a quaint park, about .5km.
Our room was not colorful, but comfortable and spacious with a European double bed, a huge picture window flanked by a nice sitting area and a scattering of lamps including bedside tables and lights. Lots of hot water; however, the valve was a bit tempermental, so best not to bump it. Large fluffy towels hung next to the little bottles of shampoo, etc.
Downstairs, the busy bar and café with outdoor terrace was an appreciated surprise. Quick service and full menu with helpful staff made a great place to meet fellow travelers from anywhere. Hotel Post accepts credit cards and has a website.
Member Rating 4 out of 5 on February 17, 2003
Sindling Bahnstrasse 12-16
Frankfurt, Germany 65931
Needing a gentle place to rest our tired tootsies, we selected a table with a deep blue tablecloth and settled for a small respite. Admiring the lofty peak of St. Paul's Kirke, we were slightly startled by an eager young waiter called Marco who asked if we would like to see the menu. After flusters of "We were just resting!" and a few "maybes" from Robert, we decided we needed a beer to decide. Marco served us monster brews in fist-sized mugs. Konig Pils at 3.10? is not bad for downtown Frankfurt.
As we mumbled over the menu, Marco slipped across the walkway to the restaurant (which was over 15 feet away) and we realized with a little blush we were sitting in the outside area of the Ristorante Raffaello. A look around revealed that more than one restaurant was represented in the bustling square and each had their own color of umbrellas and table cloths.
Taking his time, Marco eventually returned with a leisurely stride and inquired as to what we would like. Robert promptly replied, "Risotto mit Paprika." Marco deftly took Robert''s order and gazed at me. With a little regret, I passed up my mid-afternoon munchies. Robert let me sample his steaming bowl of al dente rice loaded with sautéed peppers, onions, tomatoes, celery, zucchini, and pine nuts, spiced liberally with Robert''s favorite spice, paprika! A stuffed basket of bread helped him scoop up all the rice and he washed it down with another Pils. The risotto was priced at 8?. Ristorante Raffaello offers maybe two dozen different styles of risotto, along with a selection of fresh salads and two-person pizzas.
Please do not be in a hurry when you stop here -- the service time is not bad, but remember Marco had to walk all the way into the square to take the order, go get the beers, place the order, and then deliver the food from across the square. It makes for an unhurried lunch, but then this square is the best place for an unhurried stop. Tables and visitors pepper the square, guarded by the spire of St. Paul's and shops lining the further side. Just across the main drag is the pull of the old town. Buses whoosh along Braubach Strasse while people loll in their chairs humming and sipping.
Member Rating 4 out of 5 on April 15, 2003
Neue Krame 14
Dim and folksy, the Bierstube and café, just through the main entrance past the cloakroom, is inviting and chummy. High-backed stools grace the wooden laminated u-shaped bar where fresh Henniger draft beer is drawn. Cushion-backed booths and graceful wooden tables sprinkle the interior, while a huge aquarium hangs on a half wall throwing warm light on the booths.
Mushroom soup was Robert's favorite right after the Lacksteak (salmon), and would you believe only 12 Euros and the soup only 3,40 Euros. My pick of the two nights we ate there was the Schnitzel Paprikasause, lightly battered, and fried pork tenderloin smothered in a spicy dark red robust sauce, which I complemented with the German staple of SalzKartoffeln (heavenly potatoes), crisp without any grease and tangy with onion and parsley.
Of the waiters and waitresses ask for Heiko, a speedy young man with a beer or wine refill as well as an Apfelstrudel (5 Euros) smothered in creamy vanilla ice cream. He will gladly handle anything from the menu from the al a carte salads to the succulent steak (13,50 Euros) Robert had another night. We washed it down with the local red Geisenheiner Monchspfad served in small .21 liter pitcher (3,40 Euros).
The main Salon of the restaurant, elegant with starched mint table cloths and crystal vases of fall flowers and the non-smoking section, is in the front of the hotel and opens on to the terrace lined with wrought iron chairs and tables guarded by shady elms for the relaxing beer in the garden in the afternoon. Downstairs we discovered bowling and pool tables for entertainment.
A man from Poland breezes through for a beer, and a couple from Canada kindly share their vacation experiences and dinner with us on Sunday night. We bid goodbye the next morning over a lavish and long breakfast. A palace to meet other travelers, and who would travelers like to talk with more than other travelers. We love to share and then share some more, the good, bad, and the funny. This is the place.
Restaurant honors almost all credit cards and as the Germans say, the kitchen is warm until 10pm. Cafe/bar is open at 10am; however, dinner is not served until 5pm.
Member Rating 4 out of 5 on March 13, 2003
Restaurant im Hotel Post
Sindling Bahnstrasse 12-16
After a chatty 15 minute train ride from our hotel in Sindling ,on this bright blue morning we poked our heads out the main entrance to the Hauptbahnhof with our city map in hand. We stepped onto the Kaiserstrasse which led us to the glorious strip of park next to the Frankfurt Opera and Ballet. Hanging right we strolled the Untermainanlange, until it became the Main River promenade, Untermainkia. This river park splashed with chestnut trees, perky roses and loads of grass for lounging offers an inspiring view of the wide blue river and a peek at the southern bank of the river, Alt Sachsenhausen, home of the apfelweinstuben (apple wine taverns). It lies to the right just across any of the huge iron brides spanning the river, ours was the Eiserner Steg Bridge. Choosing left instead of right we entered the southern edge of the Romerberg, Frankfurt's Old City center.
Our first surprise was a huge black car sitting in the middle of the pedestrian cobblestone platz and the second was a delightful bouquet of flowers snugly tied to the hood of the car, right in the middle. Ah! Enter the bride and her groom and the photographer. No sooner was this bride whisked away than another bound down the steps of the Frankfurt Town Hall, three gothic buildings hung together and collectively called The Romer. As we stared at the bride and groom they casually strolled into the square with their family clustered around as yet another bride and groom rushed down the stairs, this time to cheers and encouragement. They were waylaid by mischievous friends, handed a pair of scissors each, when magically a sheet appeared upon which had been drawn an outline of a heart in red. They were dutifully instructed to cut out the outline. Laughter bounced off the walls of the Romer and they steadfastly set to work. Spurred on by their friends, they finally produced a ragged hole in the sheet and while conspirators held the sheet aloft, the groom lifted his bride and with her grasped closely in his arms he wobbled and stepped through the hole in the sheet. Cheers and more cheers and the bride and groom beamed with accomplishment. Well they should, they had an enormous audience and me taking pictures.
Parking ourselves at a near picnic table covered with a brilliant red cloth next to a rustic tavern, we admired the ritual and laughed with the wedding party. They speed away in a waiting limo and we ordered a brew. In Frankfurt it is what you do, unless your are across the river then you order local apple wine. The coupe next to us on their anniversary trip ordered it and we asked. Well they said," It is an acquired taste, somewhere between cider and vinegar. Some say you need three steins before you can appreciate it. But by then who cares."
Before skipping across the Braubachstrasse on the north side of the platz, we drifted in to the Tourist Information store on the corner of the platz and the strasse and got all the walking maps we could need. .50 Euro. On the other side of the strasse is Paulsplatz named for the 18th century church of the first German parliament, which hovers over the bustling platz. This is great place to relax and visit or get something to eat, as we did. Refreshed we ambled north on the pedestrian Neue Kramer strasse crammed with specialty shops, restaurants, pretzel wagons, and markets until we reached the Zeil.
The Zeil, Frankfurt?s premier boulevard shopping district. It runs along what looked like to me a seven-block promenade with a row of bushy vigorous trees growing down the middle and the lane sprinkled with park benches and vendors hawking fruits and vegetables. Lining this colorful display is wall after wall of shinning windows of shops, shops and more shops. What ever you want you can buy it here and if not above the ground then below. This shopping extravaganza extends three floors below the cobbled lane, swimming in gigantic department stores, cozy coffeehouses, elegant gift shops and dark taverns.
At the western end of the Zeil promenade is the Hauptwache, actually an 18th century guard house that also has the designation of the second best shopping district in Frankfurt. Here the square serves as the hub of the U-bahn public transportation for the city. So the extensive shopping district associated with the subway station located above and below the ground has become known as the Hauptwache in association with the square on which the guardhouse sits. Are you a little confused?? Well I was at first especially when I kept seeing all these signs about that said the Hauptwache this way. What is a Haptwache? It is the name of a historic jail that happens to signify the beginning of the one of the finest shopping areas in Europe. We strolled the shady cobbled above ground district admiring flowers, purchased some more film and even entertained the idea of one of those monstrous pretzels if I had not already had lunch. Oh well, what the heck !!!! It was surely delicious with the grainy pungent German mustard.
After a leisurely stroll down the main drag of Sindlinger, our Frankfurt airport suburb, we paused in a small square opposite the front of the Hotel Post and browsed the posters taped on what is a monster concrete cylinder. They are common in Germany or Europe. Whenever there is an event, colorful posters appear everywhere there is an empty wall. To reduce clutter and provide a place to hang the information, the powers that be built public display forums, but not always out of concrete.
Eyeing a sunny yellow poster curled around the grey concrete announcing a concert, I was immediately sad that we were leaving the next day, Monday, but remarked to Robert that the printer had put the wrong date on the poster. Today was Sunday, September 30th not the 29th, as the poster said. Because tomorrow we leave to go home and that is the 1st, my ticket says so. Oh noooo! Our tickets must be wrong or this poster is wrong. Call Delta and verify the reservations. I think we are suppose to do that any way and it will all be OK! But I told Tom to meet us at the Jackson Airport on Monday the 1st. Oh dear! Noowww what!! No internet, no e-mail. We made a mad dash for the telephone at the hotel and found the Delta number in Germany is very expensive, says the lady at the hotel desk. Ok!!! Think!!! Let's take the hotel shuttle to the airport, here it sits, and we can fix it and be back in the sunshine long before happy hour on the terrace of the Hotel Post Restaurant.
Just remember said the hotel lady, "We will not send a shuttle to bring just you back to the hotel." "Well, we will just take our chances," we quipped, as we stuffed ourselves in the shuttle with eight other people and were deposited outside the Frankfurt Airport departing terminal 10 minutes later. Now to the Delta desk, I thought. We are in the departure terminal, but the terminals are not all in the same building?? No! You need to catch the shuttle bus that runs between Terminal 1 and Terminal 2, number 1 being the arrival terminal and also the location of the main desk for Delta. Out to the front curb we go and board the bus with Terminal 1 on the destination board. For those passengers who have a small problem even if your are departing you need to go to the arrival terminal to find a fix-it desk. Delta here we come right in the middle of the ground floor of the arrival terminal. Picking a sympathetic face, "Sir, I think our tickets are wrong," I pleaded, "we are suppose to leave tomorrow and the ticket says on the first and that is Monday, tomorrow." " Madam your ticket is correct and you are booked on the first but it just happens to be on Tuesday and you are going to Huntsville, Alabama, correct?" our calm little attendant explained. " WHAT! Of course I am not going to Alabama, I am going to Mississippi," I exploded. "Okey dokey," he smiled, "we can fix that!"
Well here we are now all checked in and surely there has to be a way to e-mail Tom to pick us up at the airport on Tuesday the 1st. Ah!!! Samsung free internet on the promenade level above the Delta desk. Only there seems to be 200 kids waiting in line to go online and they seem to have a lot more computer savvy than I. It just takes a few minutes they say, but why has this computer got funny controls; I just want a mouse, not a rolling ball. Ah! Hotmail at last, but what, I cannot send mail because my box is full and my account has been suspended. Wonderful!!! Well maybe I can empty the box and I can send mail"? Hello Tom, we are arriving on Tuesday, October the 1st." How many junk mails do I have . . . 300???? Drained from computer frustration we slog our way back to outside curb for the waiting shuttle. Amazingly there are new customers for the Hotel Post waiting and we get a free ride home.
Alas in Sindlinger, the sun still shines and the local brewmeister and his pub do call us. A German version of a pizza place across the street from the Hotel Post beconed us and we gladly slid our rushed bodies into a small table in earshot of the rowdy group clustered around the bar. Everyone seemed in a jolly mood as the barkeep rushed up to us and said only 10 minutes. We sighed and said sure that was ok we could wait. He hurriedly brought our drinks and said, "Please pay we close for the afternoon in 10 minutes, drink!." We drank and drank and were pushed out the door with the noisy group from the bar.
Oh well, how about a stroll down the east lane of this Sunday quiet village. Closed department stores, closed everything except the terrace at the Hotel Post. I plunked myself down in a comfortable wrought iron chair in the shade of the elms trees, gathered my pen and journal and begin to scribble, because no one is going to believe all this, but we still have one more day to see Frankfurt.