Frankfurt, the Rhine castle towns & Cologne...
Römerberg square in Frankfurt's Altstadt
Thursday, August 12th - Frankfurt
We arrived in
Frankfurt at 11am Central European Summer Time. CEST is 9 hours ahead of Pacific
daylight savings time. After a stop at an airport ATM for Euros, we
followed signs to the airport train station where we took the S-Bahn,
suburban railway, to Frankfurt's Hauptbahnhof
(central train station, abbreviated throughout Germany as Hbf).
Outside the Hbf front door, we caught tram 16/17 for the quick
trip to the
Frankfurt Marriott, where we checked in around noon. Tired after our overnight flight
from Chicago and with rain
threatening, we did a quick turnaround and headed out to see
the city. Having visited
Frankfurt in 2002 as well
as making a few one-day stopovers there since, I had a good sense of what
to do and see in one afternoon.
We bought passes for the S and U Bahn system and
took the S-Bahn to Alte Oper. We walked from the old opera
house along Grosse Bockenheimer strasse through "Fressgass" -
Gluttony alley, nicknamed because of its many food shops,
grabbing a bite to eat along the way (first picture below).
Walking southeast toward the river, we arrived at the
half timbered buildings of Römerberg Square
(large picture above and second picture below) in the old city. Farther east
along the river we visited the Roman ruins and the Kaiserdom (third & fourth pictures below) before heading
back to the hotel to eat dinner and retire for a night
of much needed sleep.
Pfalz & Gutenfels castles, near Kaub on the Rhine
A frankfurter in
Kaiserdom & Roman
Maria Schlaff Altar from 1434
Friday, August 13th -
The Rhine castle towns
We woke late, ate breakfast at the
hotel and walked to the Hbf where we did the initial validation of our
Eurail passes at the DB ticket office and then caught the 11:08am train to Mainz,
where we connected to Bingen, arriving at 12:30. We walked all
around Bingen, then ate lunch at a riverfront cafe, Ritter am Rhine,
before boarding the Loreley (first picture below) at 2:30 for our
cruise northward. The KD Rhine cruise is free with any Eurail pass
but the pace is very, very slow. Some
doing this cruise in 2002 and advance planning helped speed
things along. We traveled north, with the current, and limited the
trip length to the stretch with the best castle views. The second
and third pictures below and the large picture, top of page
right are from the lower river section. I still
don't find any significance to the legendary Loreley rock (fourth
picture below) beyond it just being a rocky cliff located at the narrowest
and deepest part of the Rhine.
Loreley river boat
Proceeding north from the Loreley, the
castles keep on coming, often with quaint towns located nearby
(first through third pictures below). Start to finish the
cruise took about 3 and a half hours from when we left Bingen
until we docked at Koblenz (fourth picture below) which is
where the Rhine and Mosel rivers meet. We ate an excellent
meal at Tratoria Adria near the Koblenz dock and then walked
across town to the train station where we caught the high
speed train back to Frankfurt via Mainz. We bought food
supplies at the grocery store in the Frankfurt Hbf and had
dessert in our room before retiring for the night.
St Goar & Katz
Click on the button below to
continue with us to Berlin.
Cologne - Monday, August 23rd -
Last day of our trip...
We arrived on the high speed train from
Munich around 2pm and checked into the
Cologne Marriott, which is an easy 5 minute walk from the Hbf.
With rain threatening again, we headed out to the Cologne Dom (first
picture below) located immediately behind the Hbf. After touring the
inside we went around the right side and climbed the 500+ steps to
the belfry (second picture below) where we got a good view of a
dreary day (third picture below). Leaving the tower, we bought some
souvenirs and got directions to Früh am Dom, a busy mostly outdoor
beer bar I had visited on a
prior trip to Cologne. After a couple quick drinks there, we walked east
Hohenzollern rail bridge where
we noticed thousands of locks with names on them attached to the
pedestrian walkway fence (fourth picture below). Asking at the hotel
when we returned, we learned that new lovers go to the bridge
together and attach a lock to the fence that has their names printed
or engraved on it. Then they throw the keys into the river,
symbolizing their commitment. Cute. Back in the city, we ate dinner
at the Hard Rock Cafe and then headed back across the
Hohenzollern rail bridge for some night shots
(large panorama picture below). On Tuesday morning we grabbed the
high speed morning train (~1 hour) to Frankfurt's airport for our
return to LA via Dallas.
Cologne's Dom front
Dom Bell Tower
Dom Tower top view
Hohenzollern bridge commitment locks
Night panorama shot of the Hohenzollern rail
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