As we were travelling with the dog on this inter-rail adventure we broke up the journey from The Hague to Nuremberg with a few hours in Frankfurt, Germany. This was an obvious stopping point as we needed to change here and the trains continuing on to Nuremberg were pretty frequent so our stay length could be flexible.
The top priority for the stopover was to give the puppy a walk, relive himself as well as to see some of the city. Knowing this was a time-limited stay a loop had been planned beforehand to ensure that our schedule was kept, we get refreshed and got so see some of the architecture of this German city.
Frankfurt is a central German city on the banks of the River Main. The city is a major financial hub that’s home to the European Central Bank and has a unique skyline for European cities with many high-rise buildings. Most of the city was damaged during World War II and later rebuilt. The reconstructed Altstadt (Old Town) is the site of Römerberg, a square that hosts an annual Christmas market.
How We Spent Our 3 Hours
We arrived in Frankfurt Central train station after lunch after a pleasant journey on the super-fast ICE train. Our first job was to locate the lockers where we could leave both rucksacks, this cost 5 euros and was good value for us to enable a quick tour. The train station was pleasant and seemed very busy with some very long fast looking trains.
As we had planned the circular walk we headed towards the cities Christmas Market of the same name as the one we had visited earlier in the month in Birmingham. On the way we passed some green space for puppy to have a run, a sniff and to turn around, job done. This was a fantastic spot to admire the Frankfurt skyline and its many tower blocks including the famous Main Tower. The towers were impressive and unique for a European city as skyscrapers were avoided in most cities in Europe.
We then passed through a shopping district, great if we needed anything but shopping was not on the agenda today. However, we were drawn to a gun shop and had to do some window browsing, not a sight we see often so naturally were inquisitive. So far we had seen gun shops and skyscrapers, you could have fooled us at this point that we were in the USA.
Waypoint 1 was shortly upon us, this being the Frankfurt Christmas market in the old town area of the city and not far from the station in the grand scheme of things. The market was fantastic to look at and no doubt the lights would have looked better at night. The smells coming from the area were delightful with a combination of Christmassy food smells. After walking through and admiring the local architecture of the old town and the atmosphere of the market we settled on lunch of German Bratwurst sausages served with sauerkraut and mustard. These were delicious and had seconds, it would have been a shame not to wash lunch down with some good old German beer so 1st pint of the day was enjoyed sitting in the market, a nice light coloured German lager.
Time was flying by so we got our bearings and headed towards Eschenheimer Tor as planned. Eschenheimer Turm AKA Eschenheim Tower was originally a city gate and part of the late-medieval fortifications of the city. The tower now a landmark was constructed at the beginning of the fifteenth century. Eschenheim Tower is one of the oldest and most unaltered buildings in Frankfurter Neustadt.
From here we headed through Bockenheimer Anlage, a park in the city with a lake and great for the dog to do his business and have some freedom to burn some energy. It was a shame the fountains on the lake were not on but the open space provided another great view to admire the city’s towering skyline.
After exiting the park we arrived at the magnificent Alte Oper the original Opera house for the city. The Alte Oper meaning Old Opera is a concert hall and former opera house in Frankfurt. Alte Oper was inaugurated in 1880 but destroyed by bombs in 1944 during WW2. The building was rebuilt, slowly, in the ’70s and finally reopened in 1981.
Many important operas were performed for the first time in Frankfurt, including Carl Orff’s Carmina Burana in 1937 which happens to be my favourite. For those that don’t know the opera, it was very famous for use on the Old Spice advert.
Outside the main entrance of the building is a square known as Opernplatz or Opera Square. This was a place also with great views, some nice looking eateries and a fountain that was popular with selfie-takers.
Back To Central Station
From here we were nearly done with our preplanned loop of part of the city and just required to get some train supplies from a shop and then head back to the lockers that were looking after our stuff. The puppy was invited into the shop where we were getting refreshments and got quite the fuss from the owner, a common theme on our travels so far.
The sun was going down and the station was nicely lit up at dusk, we entered and had the option of running with a dog and rucksacks to catch the train or have a beer and catch the next train in an hour unrushed. Option 2 won hands down so headed for a bar at the3 station, this again was a dog-friendly venue to our delight. They also had Wi-Fi so we could do a spot of work including a Team Viewer remote IT support session for a client of mine while enjoying a big glass of Erdinger.
Nicely relaxed we left Frankfurt on a quiet train, next stop Nuremberg.
What We Missed?
Due to the very short time we spent in the city our visit was very limited, however, if the opportunity arises I would love to return. I would love to visit or experience the following.
- A walk along the river main as I have an affinity for rivers or maybe if possible a boat tour.
- Climbing the main tower to the viewing platform.
- Try more local beers.
- Eat a Frankfurter Sausage in Frankfurt, I could not find one on our rounds.