Usually layovers are a troublesome part of traveling. They increase your chances of being delayed or having your baggage sent off on an adventure without you. That being said, sometimes you can get lucky.
My dad and I were flying home from Ukraine and our stopover was in Frankfurt, giving us a couple hours to kill. We had flown through Germany before, never actually leaving the confines of the airport, but this time we decided to explore the city a little. The airport itself isn’t bad, provided you don’t pass through security, beyond which there is very little in the way of good shopping or food. However, there’s a nice place to eat called Goethe Bar, which serves the classic German fare of sausages, hot sauerkraut, potato salad and beer. You can enjoy good German cooking while watching the airport employees whiz through the airport on bicycles (a sight I have yet to see anywhere else).
This wasn’t enough for us though so we decided to venture out. The airport is linked to the rest of the city through a complex but convenient metro system. It’s great for getting around – if you can figure it out. It took us a solid 15 minutes of struggling to understand the intricate web of multi-coloured routes before we could set off for downtown.
Unfortunately, the day we were in Frankfurt it rained. So with little desire to waste our time wandering about in the drizzle under a shoddy umbrella we decided to take a bus tour of the city.
Frankfurt has existed as a settlement on the river Main from the times of the Romans and today it is one of Europe’s most important financial centers. There is a unique mix of old historic buildings and modern skyscrapers that you don’t find in most older European cities. Frankfurt also boasts a reputation as an artistic and cultural hub with many museums, galleries and theaters. Even in the rain it was easy to be taken in by the city’s charm.
Stepping off the tour bus we took the opportunity to peek inside the Kaiserdom, a famous Frankfurt landmark not too far from the historic Romer Square. This old Cathedral is dedicated to Saint Bartholomew and was constructed some time between the 14th and 15th century. The tall stained glass windows and red-bricked arches give the main hall a sense of airiness at odds with the dark Gothic exterior. Outside the cathedral are Roman ruins and the remaining foundation of a Carolingian chapel.
After our whirlwind tour of Frankfurt my dad and I decided to have some authentic German cooking at a restaurant whose name I can’t even try to pronounce. I always enjoying trying out local flavour when I travel so I chose to give German cider a chance, which they call Apfelwein. It tastes like a sour mix between cider and dry white wine, but it does go well with a hearty plate of sausages and potatoes. This cozy eatery was a relaxing ending to our day and having lost track of time it was only by the grace of Frankfurt’s very efficient metro system that we were able to make it back to the airport in time for our flight home.