After almost two weeks in Delft, we left the Dutch city for Frankfurt, Germany, via Amsterdam. Before leaving the hostel, I cooked some fried rice and packed it for our meals. We were due to arrive in Frankfurt around dusk. Just in case we are not able to find a Muslim restaurant, I had prepared a double portion, for lunch as well as dinner.
Nik had booked a hotel within walking distance from the Hauptbahnhof (Central Station). Having checked in at the hotel, Leonardo Hotel Frankfurt City Centre, we finished off the fried rice I had cooked in Delft and took a short rest. Since it was still rather early, about 8 pm, we went out for a short walk along the street near the hotel. Just several metres from the hotel we found many Muslim restaurants serving kebabs, biryani rice and Middle Eastern food. We would have been spoilt for choice, but alas, we already had the cold fried rice dinner.
17 May 2009
Frankfurt City Tour
We left the hotel just before 9 am and made our way to the Central Station (Hauptbahnhof). The city tour on the red open top bus starts at 10.30 am. Since it was still early, we decided to walk to the Romer. It was a bright sunny morning. Less than half an hour later, we found the Romer. It was a small square with old buildings with slanted roofs and a very flat front facade. There was a small fountain at the centre of the square. The medieval building is one of the city’s important landmark. There were few tourists as it was still quite early.
We located the red open top bus and got on the upper deck. The bus took us to the old city hall building, the Romerberg, which was actually two structures linked by a bridge. Frankfurt is the financial hub of Europe and there are many banks and other financially related businesses. In this city new modern glass buildings interspersed with old classic ones. So, one will find a new high rise sprouting in the middle of a row of century-old structure. It’s a good mix of old and new, so to speak, which is seen throughout the city. With the new buildings scattered amongst the old ones, a concrete jungle look is avoided, but aesthetically it may not be so pleasant.
Amongst the few eye-catching buildings were the pencil-shaped brown building (MesseTurm) and the other one had half a crown at the top (Westendstrabe 1). World renowned architect, Norman Foster also left his mark in this city. A cylindrical, sapphire blue building stood on its own near the river.
The bus then crossed the Rhine River to Museumsufer. We had the river on the left and a row of museums on the right. This was a scenic part of the city and an excellent place to view the city skyline. There were several bridges spanning the river.
The river bank was lined by a row of trees and a grassy edge. Museum lovers would definitely be delighted to spend a couple of days covering this stretch. I, on the other hand, am tempted to go for a quiet stroll along the grassy river bank.
A visit to Palmengarten (Palm Garden)
We took the tram from Hauptbahnhof (Central station) to Bockenheimer Warte and then walked to the Palm Garden. This garden resembled a tropical garden with trees and tall shrubs such as rhododendrons. There was a lake with tortoises, and also rowing boats which were available for hire. This garden largely looked unkempt giving it a lush tropical appearance. In some ways it reminded me of my mother’s unattended backyard in the kampung. We noticed there was a lot of white, fluffy pollens or plant seeds flying around in the air throughout the city. This it turned out came from some tall trees with white flowers.
A good collection of the prickly cacti was found inside a green house as well as outside. The cacti were of the tall variety and some were really huge. There were several green houses, each displaying a different type of trees or plants. One of them had hydrangeas with blue, pink or white blooms plus some orchids.
What Palm Garden has to offer was rather too familiar, thus I find there were few new things for me to discover. The fact that everything was written in German did not help at all. It was in no way as attractive as Keukenhof, but, certainly a decent place to go for a walk. To us, it was a good reprieve from the summer-like weather.
A stroll by the Rhine river
17 May 2009
From Munchener Strasse (Str), where our hotel was, we turned to Windmuhl Str. It took us only a few minutes to reach the Holbeinsteg bridge. It is a pedestrian bridge and being a Sunday, many people took advantage of the warm, summer-like weather to go for a stroll. The suspension bridge swayed slightly in the gentle breeze. We got a good view of both sides of the river banks. We chose to walk along the grassy river bank instead of the tree-line walkway. There were many people basking away in the sun, just lying on the grass doing nothing much in particular. Some read books while others enjoy a drink with friends, and a few had their dogs out for a walk. A group of little girls in frocks skipped along as they chatted away happily. The atmosphere was almost carnival-like, but without the merriment of a circus in town.
We came to a pathway lined on either side by a row of stumpy trees. These trees had their branches cut-off leaving little stumps with green leaves. This pathway looked a bit like a boulevard. Then we crossed to road to the Deustches Architekturmuseum.
Later we continued our walk across the next bridge, Untermainbrucke Schweizer Str. This bridge is for both pedestrian and traffic. Both bridges gave a good view of the city’s skyline, a mix of old a new, but not that of a concrete jungle. This is atypical of a big city. Huge barges and boats with tourists passed by frequently. Along the way we stopped to sit and relax on benches just to enjoy the lovely afternoon.
Our leisurely walk ended at our starting point. This more or less wrapped up our brief visit to Frankfurt. It was a great afternoon walk. However, I still love Paris for its charming classic buildings besides the sentimental reasons, more than anything else. The next day we flew home.