Saturday, March 26, 2011

Six hours in Frankfurt.

Saturday 12th March, I set off for Bodrum, taking the scenic route. Instead of my normal flight from Dublin to Istanbul, I was flying Dublin to Istanbul via Frankfurt am Main. The budget cuts in my pay check are beginning to bite and now I look for the cheapest route rather than the most convenient!

I have not been able to post here for a while as Blogger has been blocked in Turkey. There was a complaint form Digiturk, a major satellite TV provider that some members of Blogger were illegally broadcasting football matches. Hence the shutdown there! 

My journey began at 07.50 when I caught the bus to Dublin airport. I promptly fell asleep, awakening almost two hours later as we approached Dublin Airport
I checked in with no difficulty (my bag was not overweight.....for  a change) and had enough time to spare to have a cup of coffee and a danish.  I found an unsecured wireless signal and checked my emails.
Once we had boarded, it was off to sleep like a baby. At the moment I have a mild dose of sinusitis, a real pain in the face, so I’m taking Actifed, to try and unblock them. It makes me very drowsy, a blessing in disguise when I’m travelling.

I arrived in Frankfurt at 15.30, with a 6 our wait to board my flight to Istanbul. Thanks to the miracle of Google I had found that there was an organised city tour leaving from the hotel desk in the arrivals hall at 16.00. I had emailed them to enquire about the tour and it seemed they were expecting me. I hadn’t booked but they had contacted the company to come and collect me!

Our tour guide was also my pick up driver. The bus tour began in the city and he had come to the airport to collect me. Well, he started on a diatribe on the drive into the city! When he discovered I was en route to Turkey he immediately launched into a spiel about the Turks in Germany and how they, along with the Albanians, Bulgarians and people from the former Republic of Yugoslavia were responsible for most of the crime in Turkey. The EU was responsible for opening the floodgates for the dregs of Europe to come to Germany. They should have stayed out of the EU and the Euro.........

Our tour bus
We then picked up a guy from Kuwait who was also going on the tour. He was also a problem for our guide. He was saying 200m from the tour office but we had to drive 4km to collect him, due to the one way system. Of course this took us through the red light area, needless to say you would not find a single German in this area, only the Albanians, Bulgarians and Turks. 

 We were brought to an open topped double decker bus and told to take our seat. He hoped we wouldn’t have difficulty finding a seat, as there were only 85 seats and there were two of us.

We then set off on what you could really say was a private tour of Frankfurt. Our guide gave us an excellent commentary on the city-surprising considering his earlier rant - full of humour and jokes. Interestingly, many museums were pointed out to us but the Jewish museum, he neglected to mention.

Debit and Credit!
We  sat in the open air. Today was the warmest day they have had so far, it was 16°.  Yesterday , early morning, it was -5.  People were sitting out for the first time, enjoying their coffee or beer.

Frankfurt is a city of contrasts. 85% of the city had to be rebuilt after World War 2. It is a very modern city, sometimes nicknamed “Bankfurt” as it has a huge commercial centre. The city is the 5th city of Germany but it is the largest financial centre and has one of the busiest airports  in Europe. It is not a tourist centre, people fly in and out of here without ever leaving the airport. The twin towers of the Deutsche Bank are fondly known locally as Debit and Credit. Frankfurt is the headquarters of the European Bank, no mean feat for a city of just over 640.000 people.

 Building in Romer Platz
Frankfurt is the third largest trade fair centre in the world and holds the worlds largest  motor exposition every year at which all the new cars are launched. In addition it also host the worlds largest book fair. Hotel rooms for these exhibitions are often booked two years in advance and room prices soar.
In normal times a single room in a  3 star hotel costs approximately 59 euro. In Jan – Feb when there are no tourists the same room costs 29 euro and the hotel is still empty. During a trade fair, you would be lucky to get the room for 240 euro.   

We had a free half hour to wander round the Romer Platz and take photos. The old buildings are beautiful but sadly few and far between. They are juxtaposed beside modern skyscrapers.
After we got back on the bus we had amazingly picked up another four people.
It may be a business rather than a tourist town but it is a place that is worth a stopover or adding a couple of days .to your business trip to explore

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