Not Cleared for Landing
Normally I wouldn’t have been so excited to visit Germany: Nothing against Germany, I love Germany…but it’s usually an easy place to travel to and a very common destination for tourists – a big departure from the rare-slash-risky places that get my adrenaline pumping. But this time was different: You see, I wasn’t supposed to be in Germany.
The date was July 2, 2020 and the EU–including Germany–was shut down for Americans…off limits, locked up, no puedes entrar, do not pass go, do not collect $200. But thanks to a special invite/exemption from my friends in Hungary, I’d made it into the EU and for all intents and purposes, I was pretty much free to bop around.
This time I was en-route to Kyiv, Ukraine from Budapest, with an almost 5.5 hour layover in Frankfurt. I’d never seen the city, so I couldn’t pass up an opportunity to dash into town for some food before my connecting flight left. I’d have to make it quick, but with trains running directly in and out of the airport terminal, I felt I’d regret not seeing Frankfurt if I’d stayed inside the airport. So let’s go!
Rollin’ on the River
With no time to waste, I headed from the plane straight to the tracks. One thing I love about so many European airports: the fact that you can can jump on a train downtown, right there from the terminal. In minutes I was rolling towards the central station, on my way to explore the streets. I had no real plan, so I headed to the river for a morning stroll along the water.
This Little Piggie Went to Market
I was about to jump on a Bird scooter and take a ride along the river, when two police officers wagged their finger at me and explained I wasn’t allowed to ride scooters on this path. I used the opportunity to chat them up and ask them where I could find a good ol’ fashioned German bakery. They directed me to a place called “Klein Market,” (Kleinmarkthalle) but warned me that it was over a mile away. That was no problem for me and I thanked them and continued on foot. Part of me was a little nervous they’d find out I was American and haul me off to jail, but they were nothing but friendly and helpful. I passed through a beautiful old square called Römerberg Plaza before arriving at the indoor market. I’d been eating really healthy so far, in preparation for my stop at a bakery in Germany – I’d earned this treat and I was so ready. As expected, Klein Market was phenomenal…it was everything I wanted and more. Time to treat myself…I was about to get bakery-drunk!
I didn’t have time for much more during my 5.5-hour layover, but I did want to see the subway car that had been derailed and managed to crash through the sidewalk above. Well maybe that’s not what really happened, but the Bockenheimer Warte metro entrance is a piece of art designed to look like some freak metro accident, with a train car busting through the concrete. I had to see it! And since it was right there along the metro line, it was convenient for me to ride over to it quickly for some pictures and still be able to make it back to the airport on time.
Leaving on a Full Stomach
My Extreme Layover in Frankfurt was fantastic! A pleasant riverside stroll, a bounty of sugar and carbs at a locals’ market and a cool photo opp of one of the world’s most unique subway entrances – I’d say this venture into the city was certainly eventful. It always pays to get out of the airport!