Country #36 - Germany

The Rain

After a few days at home, I’m on the road again! I’m going back to Europe for about a week where I’ll be visiting Germany, Luxembourg, Switzerland, Liechtenstein, Monaco, and France. I flew from Birmingham to Dallas this morning and then went to eat lunch with my Aunt Donna and grandparents before my flight to Frankfurt. Everything was going great until I got to the restaurant and realized that it now looked like I might not get on my flight to Frankfurt. I was flying on a family pass again, which if you have been reading the blog you know comes with its own source of stress. I’ve decided from here on out though that I’m only going to use them to fly out and then buy my tickets flying back to the U.S. to avoid getting stranded in a foreign country again (i.e. Italy)  as much as I can. Using a pass to fly out of the U.S. is also ideal because if you are lucky enough to get business class the flight out of the country is the one you need to sleep on.

All of that aside, I panicked at lunch attempting to find any other way I could get to Europe. Flights from Dallas to every other American Airlines hub in the U.S. all looked bad, so I was stuck flying out of DFW. I finally found a flight that looked okay, from Dallas to Amsterdam where I could then take a train to Frankfurt from. The problem was it was an hour earlier than my Frankfurt flight, so I had to leave lunch right after ordering and only just saying hi to everyone.

I got to the airport and went to the Amsterdam gate, by which time the direct flight to Frankfurt started to look like I would make it again. I asked the gate agent for his advice because it was such a toss-up situation, and I decided to, after all of that, just try for the original Frankfurt flight. Which, it turned out, was the right decision. I made it on and the person in the middle seat next to me ended up being a no-show which was so nice on such a long flight that was otherwise almost completely full.

I tried to sleep as much as I could and arrived in Frankfurt to a brand new Taylor Swift song - if you know me you know that this was a really big deal. I definitely had mixed feelings upon my first listen of Look What You Made Me do after a nine-hour flight while walking through the Frankfurt airport, but after a few listens it grew on me substantially and now I know all of the words so all is right in the world. Anyways, Taylor Swift news aside, I easily went through immigration and customs and took a bus to the other terminal where I then took the train into town.

After a short train ride, I arrived at the central station, which thankfully was within a five-minute walk from my hotel, Le Meridien Frankfurt. When I arrived I was greeted by Christina, who I had communicated with via email to arrange my stay. She was so kind, and we sat and had coffee (I had OJ) while waiting for my room to finish being prepared. I really enjoyed talking with her! I then met Anouschka, who showed me to my room along with Christina, and she was so sweet as well! She gave me a great introduction to the city that was so helpful for when I explored later in the day. While we were walking to my room they let me know that there was a surprise in the room, and I had no idea what to expect! The room itself was beautiful - it was huge with a TV that swiveled to face either side of the room, a giant sitting/desk area, and a great view out at the city as well. I still didn’t know what the surprise was, but then we entered the bathroom.

I was floored! Someone who works at the hotel is an artist, and she drew a map of the world on my bathroom mirror, with the countries that I had visited so far colored in and Germany highlighted. It was so thoughtful I couldn’t believe it! After an incredible introduction to the hotel and everyone who worked there, this was the icing on top of only the beginning of my stay. It was so sweet, and I am so thankful to them for everything. Thank you so much, again, to Le Meridien Frankfurt for sponsoring this night of my trip!

After the great introduction to my room I then promptly fell asleep for a few hours. I know it’s not the best thing to do after a flight, but it was very necessary to help me get through the day. I had a great nap and then set out to explore the city! I walked to the Main river where there was a really cool festival going on all along the water! My first stop for the day, though, was the Städel Museum. It had art from the 1800s to modern, which is my favorite range. I especially loved the modern art floor. It was my first art museum in a while (not counting the Vatican which I don’t because it is a whole different situation) and I was so excited to just relax and spend time walking through.

After the museum, I walked along the river through the festival! It’s things like this that just make me fall in love with Europe - a picturesque festival set along a river that I was not expecting in the slightest. I found a bratwurst for dinner before making my way to the main bridge, Eiserner Steg. From Eiserner Steg I took tons of pictures of the town as well as the river. I could tell that it was about to start pouring rain at this point - I called my dad to load the radar because mine was not working and he gave me a few minute prediction. Literally the second I put up my camera it started to pour. I found a ledge to stand under while I got my rain jacket out of my backpack. Here’s a tip - always carry a rain jacket in Europe, because you literally never know when it will rain and it allows you to keep walking. Mine also takes up less space than an umbrella and it’s not going to fly away.

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It wasn’t just rain, though. After a few minutes of the pouring rain, it started to lightning as well. I made my way across town in spurts, stopping every few minutes to go in a store or stand under a large awning. I headed to Zeil, the main shopping street in Frankfurt. As it was almost night time shopping centers were really my only option for something dry and open. I stopped at Galeria Kaufhof Frankfurt An der Hauptwache. It was kind of like a Harrods or Saks with lots of floors and a food hall. I walked up to the panoramic top floor, but it wasn’t really an option to look out at due to the pouring rain.

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After a few minutes of walking through I made my way next door to MyZeil. It was the coolest mall ever! I honestly have no idea what stores were in the mall, but I was just amazed by the architecture. It was curved glass and really hard to describe but here is a picture to help. I never thought I would think a mall in Frankfurt would be so cool but here we are! It was awesome, especially with the rain falling on it.

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Eventually, the rain let up enough for me to walk to the idyllic old part of town, Römer. Römer is what a lot of Frankfurt looked like before World War II. It’s such a picturesque area and amazing to think what the city used to look like when it all looked like Römer. I also walked by the Frankfurt Cathedral which was obviously closed but very unique from the outside. From there I walked through the financial district of town, which Frankfurt is known for, on the way back to my hotel. I was still sopping wet from the rain, but it was definitely worth it to be able to see more of the city.

I arrived back at my hotel and after a long day and a lot of jet lag fell asleep pretty easily. I have a 7am train tomorrow to Luxembourg, but I had a great day exploring Frankfurt for the first time! I have a very mixed track record when it comes to visits to Germany, so I was very glad to have such a great trip to Frankfurt. I visited in the fifth grade on a choir trip with my mom and only remember good things about Germany, but my only other trip to the country was to Berlin with my brother last year. It was an absolute nightmare, and if you want my advice I would never visit Berlin if you have any choice in the matter. It is the only city in Europe I have truly had a horrible time in from start to finish. Not that it matters now, thankfully, because I had an incredible time in Frankfurt!

36 countries down, 161 to go.

For more information on Germany click here to read my guide.

To learn more about Le Meridien Frankfurt click here.