Now that you had a glimpse into my German language learning class experience, let us forge ahead into some of my traveling escapades.
One of the things that I found easiest to adjust to was the public transport in Frankfurt; which I also believe is across Germany. Keeping in character with the legendary German discipline, the public transport works as punctual as springtime. So if you are new to Germany, just go to the city’s central station (typically they are called “Hauptbahnof”) and pick up a city transport map, and as long as you are literate, you are set!Advertisement
As a general rule you would commonly find three main modes of public transportation – Trains (over ground ones are known as S-Bahn and underground ones are known as U-Bahn), buses and trams. Yes, before you ask, trams are very much still operational in Germany (and across most cities in Europe) and, no they are not slower than pedestrians, nor do they obstruct any road traffic! The transport network is not only super efficient but is also very dense; so that, unless you are living in a forest, you should be able to find yourself in close proximity of at least some form of public transport.
But in case you really want to orient yourself to the city, I would highly recommend traveling in the trams. Not only they are more scenic since they run on the roads, but they are also slightly slower than trains so one can really enjoy the city around. Continuing on this, Frankfurt has a unique sightseeing tram – the Ebbelwei Express (or more commonly known as the Apple-Wine Express). It is not a hop-on-hop-off kind of tram, but there are multiple stops across the city where you can board or alight. You are welcomed with a bottle of apple wine and a small packet of snack, which you can then enjoy while looking at the city’s major tourist attractions. It really is a very pleasurable experience; especially if you don’t want to get aboard the very “touristy” sightseeing buses.
My second recommendation for getting to know Frankfurt is to just walk around. Compared to many European cities, it is a relatively smaller city, so it is really easy to walk from one place to another. As is true with most of Europe, walking or even cycling is the most common mode of transportation or traveling. You not only enjoy the experience of seeing the “real” city but you are also burning off the calories that you will most definitely consume in the form of the most delectable desserts! In case you are not too interested in visiting the numerous museums and cathedrals in the city, just a long walk along the Main River itself will prove extremely relaxing and therapeutic!
In case walking is not your thing (!), you can easily rent a cycle by the hour. You can find a range of rental cycle stands across the city, all that is needed is to download an app, input a numerical code and the cycle is yours. You also have a choice to return the bike at any of the designated cycle stands, so you need not come back from where you started!
And last but not the least; do not forget to try the multiple cafes and bakeries in the city. I would refrain from recommending any; mainly because there are so many around that you could be anywhere in the city and all you have to do is maybe crane your neck a bit and you should be able to sight one! And believe me; almost all of them are equally good!
And in case you are here in summer, you are in luck, because then you can enjoy your cup of coffee and a slice of “Schwarzwald torte” (black forest pastry) in the lovely outdoor cafes! Just a note of caution, in case you are used to Indian or American versions of coffee, be aware that coffee in Germany is generally served black and without sugar – so you might need to order accordingly, or else add milk and sugar according to your taste.
So grab a city road and transport map, put on your walking shoes, pick up a strong hot coffee at your nearest cafe (maybe with a butter pretzel) and you are all set to become a “non-tourist” in Germany!
In case you don’t want to limit yourself to the city confines, await my next and concluding part of the series where I will be writing about a few of the places that I visited outside Frankfurt but which are still ideal for a day trip. Happy reading!