A flying visit to Frankfurt

Now that I’m living back in Ireland, one of the things I’m really excited about is getting to travel more in Europe. I’ll admit that Frankfurt is not the first destination to spring to mind when I think “European getaway”, but a friend was there on business and that was a good enough excuse for me to book a ticket.

Since I’ve been spoilt over the last few years on luxurious Middle Eastern airlines, my first shock was to find that Ryanair had not dropped me to Frankfurt at all, but Frankfurt Hanh, a mere 104km away. I should have seen it coming, and it was a shame because adding almost two hours to the journey on either side really did cut in to my two-night stay. It did give me the opportunity to see some of Germany’s gorgeous countryside though, to look on the bright side.

I stayed at the Bristol Hotel on Niddastraube, a quirky, modern place located close to central Frankfurt, just a couple of minutes walk from Frankfurt’s main train and subway station.

The first evening was a relaxed affair after a long day, dinner and a drink at a quiet, homely bar. On my only full day in the city, the weather was surprisingly good, and I actually ended up whipping out my sunglasses to cope with the strong winter sun. The temperature was around 7-8 degrees and the sky was a clear blue – it seemed a shame to spend the day inside, so we spent most of the day walking around the city soaking up the Christmas atmosphere.

I spent the morning strolling around the city center in the Hauptwache area, popping into the upmarket Galeria store for a few sneaky purchases before stopping off for a well-deserved hot chocolate. I met up with my friend in the afternoon and we walked for miles along the bank of the Main River (pronounced Mein), past the state museum and back to Hauptwache.

The place takes on a more festive atmosphere in the evening when the Christmas lights turn on, hundreds gather for ghluwein and delicious German treats and the Christmas Market is in full swing. There are a huge variety of edible delights on offer, along with all kinds of cute souvenirs and gifts, as well as entertainment for kids in the form of train rides and a carousel. It’s definitely worth wrapping up warm and heading there for an hour or so to soak up the Christmas Spirit.

We followed that with dinner at Meyer’s, a fancy restaurant nearby serving a wide variety of fish, pasta and steak dishes, as well as veal and goose for the more adventurous. I went for the Argentinian steak, and although it was cooked medium rather than medium well as requested, the meat was very high quality and the bearnaise sauce hit the spot! A very elegant place with great staff – highly recommended.

Fun fact: My friend thought the kinder museum was where we could go to find out how they get the toys into kinder eggs. Kinder is the German word for children. It’s a children’s museum. We didn’t go.

Although the Bristol Hotel had a small, fun bar with a hipster vibe, a decent buffet breakfast, good facilities and friendly staff, the bedroom was a teensy single room, so €85/night felt like a lot. It seemed like a budget hotel for the price of a mid-ranged one. I caught a glimpse of the double rooms and they looked like a decent size and definitely better value – so this place may just be better suited to couples than solo travellers.

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