Sunday, May 24, 2015

Frankfurt, Germany

I have stayed in the city of Frankfurt for the past two days and have finally gotten over the jet-lag. I flew through the night and got to the airport around noon, German time. Although the rest of my first day here was rough because of how tired I was, we made the best of it!
When my family and I checked into our hotel, we realized that we were a little farther outside the city center than we thought we were, but we ended up finding dinner at a great authentic German restaurant called Sachsenhauser Warte, pictured below. 
I think it looks like Rapunzel's tower. It is also a guest house. 
Inside, there were beautiful flowers and places to sit for dinner or drinks. We tried a local cider-like drink called apfelwein (like "apple wine"). When the waitress brought it to us, she brought a pitcher for us to share as well as a huge glass bottle of seltzer water. She had to explain to us that we fill our glasses for the most part with the apfelwein in the pitcher, and then dilute it a bit with the seltzer. Although it was not very sweet (like other ciders I have had), I enjoyed it and I really liked trying something local. 
During our second day in the city, we decided to visit the Botanical Gardens, which were about a 15 minute bus ride away from center city. Although it cost about 7 euros per person to go into the Conservatory, the outdoor gardens were free. 
They were mostly made up of wildflowers, and there was also a huge pond with loud frogs. 
I have no idea what this sign says.
We traveled by subway back into the center city and explored on foot. The Cathedral was super tall and towered over the entire city.
We stopped for lunch along the Main, which is one of two rivers that run through Frankfurt. The other is the Rhine. People have started putting love locks on the bridge that we crossed, and I have found that this now happens with just about any old bridge in Europe. The original love lock bridge is in Paris and it is a complete tourist trap. 
Anyways, this bridge had a lot of locks and even more pigeons, and it also offered a great view of the river, which was very active. We saw all kinds of boats and barges along the river and there are also many museums nearby.   
My experience in Germany so far has been very different from other trips to Europe, especially because of the langauge barrier. I speak both English and Spanish, and although English is very widely spoken in just about any country, I have noticed that I have had a harder time here than in places like Spain, Portugal, France and Italy. The languages in these countries at least have similar roots and sounds as Spanish, which always make getting around easier. 
Having absolutely no background in the language makes even ordering at a restaurant a lot more difficult. 
At least we have the basics down: Hallo, Nein, Bitte, and Danka.
Tomorrow we will be making our way to Berlin! 

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