Tuesday, June 7, 2016

Germany – Day 5 - Frankfurt

I was done with conference activity, so I hopped on a train to go hang out in Frankfurt. I had no plans and nothing I HAD to do, so I just thought I’d check it out at my own pace. I got off the train and quickly found my hotel. Much to my happy surprise, I found out this hotel did NOT have a beer vending machine, but DID have a Pringles machine!!!

I hopped on the Hotel’s wifi and found out the top 12 things to do in Frankfurt. I plotted out a couple of cathedrals to check out. I went over to St. Paul’s Church – very cool and has these creepy little manicured trees in front of it. Cool church.

Then I went over to St. Bartholomew’s Cathedral, constructed around 1356. It’s a really ornate church that lets you go up a super long spiral staircase (324 steps to the observation deck). I climbed and climbed and climbed and eventually got to the top, where a guy got mad at me for not having a cigarette lighter for him. But at least there’s a wonderful view from the top.

Then I went to the Römerberg – the old town square. It’s a pretty cool city square that houses the old and new town halls and is a pretty touristy place to hang out and buy tchotchkes and snacks. 

I didn’t actually go into the Goethe House and Museum, but it was worth heading over there and seeing what the neighborhood was like. Quaint little place.

I love zoos. So sometimes, when I’ve got time to burn, I go to the zoo in whatever city I’m in. The Frankfurt Zoo is kind of unique because it’s in the middle of the city. Which kind of creeps me out when you think about it. There’s your apartment, and then 50 feet away are lions with a fence that I would NOT consider high enough if I lived there.  I saw some cool stuff here at this zoo, though. Some of my most favorites were the Aye Aye, the Lori, the Golden Lion Tamarin, the Pygmy Marmoset, and the Klipspringer (which I keep thinking of as the Rumspringa). I also watched a chimpanzee finger his own ass in various acrobatic positions for far too long, along with a small crowd of horrified people. Hilarious.

But my all-time favorite story from the zoo is when I walked past the Vultures and Condors. Cool creatures, with a bad reputation for being creepy. Well, I happened to walk by their cage at feeding time. How does one feed an Egyptian Condor? You simply take a FIVE GALLON BUCKET FULL OF LIVE FLUFFY YELLOW BABY CHICKENS and dump it out in its cage. Then with one stab each, the condor systematically and efficiently spears/kills each scrambling chick and when that’s done, they begin stripping all the flesh off the tiny bones.  

I was fascinated by this, but the children who walked up at the wrong time and witness this massacre dropped to the ground screaming. Such a hilarious thing to witness. All of it.

After the zoo, I walked over to the Eschenheimer Tower, but I didn’t eat in the fancy restaurant at the bottom of it.

Since it was close (and on the list) I walked through the Hauptwache and had a nice Dönner Kebob and a beer out on the pedestrian part of the street and watched people go buy. The Hauptwache is one of the most fun shopping and food areas of the city and I was right in the heart of it.

On the way back to my hotel, I popped by the Old Opera House for a nice photo. It’s a really pretty area.

As it turned out, I ended up doing 8 of the 12 things on the “must see” list. Hahaha. I’m very efficient when I don’t have any plans, as it turns out. Tomorrow, I saw it was going to rain, so it seemed like it was going to be the perfect time to hit the Museum district to crank out some more “must see” things in Frankfurt.

But, I still had to eat dinner! I have no idea how, but amazingly, this entire trip, I didn’t have a single bite of schnitzel. I popped online and found out where I needed to eat schnitzel in Frankfurt. I found a place that known for its schnitzel with some magical Grüne Soße (green sauce), and also for its Apfelwein (apple wine/hard cider) in the south part of the city. I headed over to Apfelwein-Wirtschaft Fichtkränzi for some delicious dinner.

They were confused that I would be eating in this giant beer hall alone, but they shoved me between a couple of people and the server who spoke very good English made sure I was taken care of. I, of course, ordered some Apfelwein, which was delicious and wonderfully sour, and also found what I was looking for on the menu: Frankfurter Schnitzel mit grüner Sauce & Bratkartoffeln. The green sauce is a mixture of sour cream, boiled eggs, some spices and NO LESS THAN seven kinds of herbs (apparently, they’re pretty serious about the minimum number of green colored herbs you put in this sauce. Well, they nailed it, because this stuff is insanely good. Not just on the schnitzel, but also the potatoes. I was so full when I left. I wanted to also try a regional favorite, Handkäse (hand cheese), but I couldn’t fit it in my belly at that point. I’m only human. I would recommend getting green sauce everywhere you go in Frankfurt, but I would also absolutely recommend Apfelwein-Wirtschaft Fichtkränzi for a great dinner.

I lied, I had room for gelato.

And then I went back to the old opera house to see it all lit up at night.

Time for bed.

Friday, June 3, 2016

Germany – Day 4 – Bad Nauheim

The next day, conference, conference, conference…

I said good-byes and headed back to the hotel for a nap. It was a long day. I slept later than I wanted, and sprung into action to try to get dinner before places closed. The bar I ended up at first had just stopped serving food, but they sent me to a nice pizza place down the street. 

Adria Ristorante was just what I needed. My German is bad enough that the person got confused at what I was asking. But my Italian is slightly better and the woman working was amused that I was able to converse in Italian with her much better than I was in German. Hahaha.

I ordered a Solo Mio pizza (yes a whole one) and a beer. They brought out a small bruschetta appetizer for me which was a really good representation of how good the food was going to be.

The pizza came out a short while later and smelled wonderful. Spinach, salami, and garlic (and cheese, obviously). I had to eat the first few bites with a fork until it cooled off enough to pick up like a normal person. This was a great pizza. I ate the entire thing and impressed the Italian lady working there. She pressured me pretty good to get some grappa, but I declined. I still had to make it home from a part of town I was very unfamiliar with. Although, after eating that entire pizza, I needed to walk as far as possible. It ended up being a few miles in the dark, late at night. Hey, I’m still alive, so it worked out well, right?