To Stay //
After waiting for Bailie, my friend and fellow Southeast student, at the airport we set off to find our hostel. Our first stay was at the Meininger Hostel/ Main Messe; overall it was a great hostel (really clean, inexpensive, breakfast not included) where we met even better people.
The night before we departed for Schmalkalden, we stayed at hotel Europa Life. I believe it was a bit more expensive than the last hostel, but it was worth it. We had a private room with two beds, and they had the most amazing German breakfast in the morning, which consisted of deli meats, cheeses, bread, different marmalades, cooked to order eggs, coffee, tea, and juice. Europa Life was right near the train station and easy to locate by following the signs on the street. I highly recommend staying at this hostel when you visit. At the very end of my summer travels, I stayed at Frankfurt Hostel, it was a great experience. I definitely recommend this hostel if you're backpacking. They had free breakfast and also a free pasta dinner at night. Such a great deal and also a great opportunity to meet other travelers if you're flying solo.
We got really lucky and happened to arrive on Ascension Day, which meant that almost all of the businesses in Frankfurt were closed but there was a street festival in the Altstade (old town) to celebrate Jesus’s ascension into heaven. The festival had all kinds of food from traditional German to Indian, there was even a burrito truck. This is where I had my first Frankfurter with mustard, of course. I had been a vegetarian for about two years before this trip but I started eating meat so that I could sample traditional German food and I haven’t gone back to my old ways yet because… steak. We walked around, listened to music, and sampled some of the German beers. This is also where I first tried apfelwein is basically what it sounds like, apple wine, and it tasted like a tart version of the ciders that are sold in The States. I loved it. I think the most interesting thing about the apfelwein was that they gave you a Bembel (a traditional apfelwein pitcher) of pure apple wine and then some sparkling water to mix it with. The apple wine by itself was extremely sour and if you added too much sparkling water it seemed too watery, but they left it up to you to find the right mixture to fit your tastebuds. It was all trial and error of course, and we did our fair share of research in Römerburg.
To Do //
Frankfurt is very different than the other cities that I visited in Germany. When walking in the financial district, which is apparently the largest in Europe, I barely felt like I had left the states. A large part of the city was destroyed in World War II and was rebuilt in a modern style, so the city scape doesn't resemble a typical European city. Check out the financial district, the redlight district, and Old town. When you're tired of walking, take an apfelwein train for a free taste and an entertaining ride. We also visited the Old Jewish Cemetery, but it was closed so we just poked around outside.
To Eat //
My favorite part of Frankfurt was dining at Atshel. They have a beautiful apfelwein garten and the food was delicious. If you go, you should try the sauße grüne. It's a traditional sauce, unique to Frankfurt, made from sour cream, hard boiled eggs, and a blend of herbs such as dill, tarragon, spinach, basil, and chives. The atmosphere is traditional garten style with long picnic tables where guest dine in close quarters to other parties or in big groups. The married couple we were seated next to was very kind and taught us a little more about the city and language. For instance, I learned that ß is shorthand for "ss". Don't be afraid to ask questions and talk to locals when traveling, you'll be surprised how much it adds to your experience.
Have you been to Frankfurt? What are your thoughts on the city? Let me know in the comments below!