After a bout of unemployment I’m again gainfully employed. I’m working as a consultant for a division of NCR and for the next six months we’re putting together a data warehousing system for DHL in Scottsdale. Nice to be working near home but they just told me to ger my passport in a hurry because they need me in Germany for at least two weeks in August. I’m having trouble finding the exact town, lungren or landgren or something and only know it’s less than an hour from Frankfurt. Most likely I’ll have two full weekends on my own to sightsee and I’m looking for interesting things to do. Sadly TheLadyLion can’t join me because she starts a new job Mondy and doesn’t have vacation time yet.
So what’s cool to see? I have a limited amount of time so want to pick a couple of good destinations worth an overnight stay. I’ve had a lifelong dream of driving the autobahn but at European gas prices I doubt if I’ll be doing much of that. I’ve considered getting to London or Paris if possible but kind of feel guilty since TLL can’t go and those trips should be with us together.
Since this past November I’ve been spending about half of my time in Frankfurt for work (just got back last Tuesday and going back again a week from Monday). Unfortunately, I’ve had very limited time to travel and sightsee but I had a few side trips. The first was a day trip to Heidelberg, which was a beautiful town worthy of a longer visit. The second was a weekend in Munich to visit several of the museums and historical sites (the Deutsches Museum is fascinating if you’re into science, technology, physics, and several related topics, and I also enjoyed the Olympic Park). The third was a road trip to Amsterdam with a coworker who was over for a visit. For this we rented a car and drove the Autobahn. While your point is VERY valid about fuel prices (our fuel bill was nearly as much as the car rental charge, not to mention the cost of parking in Amsterdam), I still recommend it since it’s such a unique experience. Frankfurt itself is fun but is not as interesting as the other places (admittedly limited) I saw (I’m told the locals call Frankfurt Am Main “Mainhattan” for it’s financial-district vibe).
As far as places I hope to see on future trips, I would include one of the river tours to see some castles, one or more of the concentration camps, Berlin (not too far away by train), as well as renting a car to take for a spin on the Nurburgring, which you can do for a fairly reasonable charge (although it will violate the hell out of your rental agreement).
As far as your comment on seeing other European cities/countries, you should do some research into some of the discount airlines. With some research, effort, and flexibility, you can get some very low airfares into and out of seconday airports in a lot of European cities. I’m hoping to take advantage of this on my next trip.
LOL, i bet you dont get any free time to play…I have a very good friend who is a network geek for Arlt and they work his behind off whenever they send him off places…Germans may be known for playing hard, but they work hard and are very process oriented!
They still don’t work on Sundays and not that frequently on Saturdays. Work is work and play is play. Rules is rules, and it’s illegal (mostly sort of) to work on Sundays in Germany for most professions. Not that it’s actually enforced, afaik.
Padeye, I lived and worked in the area for a couple of years. What do you like to do? There are a lot of interesting things to do in the area, or not to far away. Trier (sp?) is a site of Roman ruins not far away. Wiesbaden/Mainz is a nice area to spend a Saturday just walking and shopping. Wiesbaden was not bombed out during the war and has a nice city park, Mainz has lots of twisty streets and an old town sort of feel about it. One of the cathedrals there has windows done by Marc Chagall. There are a lot of nice places up in the Taunus to just have a beer or coffee and relax, which might be a good thing if you’re busting your bum all week. There are some nice places in the Alsace or even down in the Black Forest that you can get to fairly easily. You can catch a train to Munich or Amsterdam or even Paris, although I think Paris is a bit far and a bit much for a weekend, unless you leave early on Friday and even then. Berlin is also a possibility for a weekend, but you’d have to take the ICE. There are some nice little towns, some geared towards tourists, up and down the Rhine. Don’t be afraid to see some “touristy” things on other people’s money.
Lived near Frankfurt, about an hour away and near Mannheim from '81-'84. I doubt much has changed since. I suggest Heidelberg and nearby Ladenberg, where the Roman baths are in pretty good shape. A river tour to see the castles is nice but most are in ruins, and I loved Baden Baden and Strausbourg, France. The Black Forest is beautiful. Time permitting, travel to see Ludwig’s castles in Bavaria–breathtaking. The only thing I remember about Frankfurt: World class brothels. If you decide to rent a car and drive the autobahn, stay in the right lane unless you’re passing. If I were going for only a few weeks, I’d travel with someone with a car, (you’ll easily find natives that will gladly show you around), or take the train, streetcar or tour bus.
Bad Homburg is a resortish, upscale town north of Frankfurt that has some nice spa’s that have ( or had) day rates that were very user friendly. Bad in German refers to spa or bath. Its pronounced Baahd.
One of our favorite night before we fly home hotels is a very small one called
Hotel Adler in Homburg. Clean, clean, clean ( as only the germans can) affordable and neat as a pin. I think it has 8 rooms.
You might want to consider buying your train tickets in advance rather than buying them over there, if you don’t have a rental car at your disposal. It is cheaper to buy before you fly.
You really don’t need to fly to most major cities in Europe. Between lead time for the airport security, waiting for the plane, flight time and landing/debarking/clearing the airport, you will spend several hours.
Paris is a six-hour drive from FKT, Brussels is about four hours. But you can’t beat the trains for efficient transportation. Since EVERY city of consequence has a superb public transit system, moving around once you get there is a piece of cake.
LOL, they run servers for businesses, and as he put it, each hour the servers is down costs the companies E20k, so they call him in when they go down sunday or not…though he got me some great stuff when he was stuck in hong kong 3 weekends running=)
I caught a fascinating cable program on the Autobahn a few months back. There’s actually more and more restricted-speed zones and heavy traffic near the cities, so you might have to do a bit of driving before you reach the unrestricted stretches.
A friend of mine just got back from a business trip in Munich. He said he drove 140 m.p.h. (which was just keeping up with the flow of traffic) and that it was an absolute blast. He didn’t feel it was particularly dangerous, either.
All I know is every time we go I wish we had more mula to get something with ooomphf. Driving an Opal or other semi-quasi compact on the autobahn while Beemers and Audi’s fly by at mach 98 is a bit of a humbling experience. It makes you want to open your car door as they fly past to slow them down.
We are getting a VW Toureg or Touran or something like that this next trip in august. So maybe we will not look like tourists so much.
Sixt has some good cars. When we rented they offered an upgrade from the base VW to, in their words “a BMW or Mercedes” for an extra 10 Euro for the weekend. Unfortunately they showed up at the hotel with a Volvo diesel and it was too late to protest. We were still able to cruise at the equivalent of about 110 mph and edged up to about 125 mph a couple of times before the engine started protesting (while still getting passed). If you actually go to the rental location you can have a little more control over what you get, and one of the guys there with our advisory firm was able to get a BMW 5 series for not too much.
I will strongly second E72521’s advice on lane discipline. They are rightly very serious about this. While staying to the right except to pass is simply good manners most places, closing speeds on the autobahn can be in triple digits (car A going 60, car B going 160).
I frequent Heidelberg a bit, and would definitely recommend a day trip there to see the Castle and the University/Zentrum.
Someone also mentioned Baden Baden, too. HIGHLY recommend a visit to that city, which is about 50 minutes further south of Heidelberg. I would say that Baden Baden is like Aspen, CO, in the sense that it is a resort town with lots of money. Also, when in Baden Baden, visit the Friedrichsbad Spa. It is a no clothing allowed spa, with about 15 different shower/bath/sauna stations. Some days it’s mixed bathing, others days there is no meeting the oppisite sex in the middle baths. You will never feel so clean and relaxed after a visit there. The best part is the price–for a four hour spa treatment, it’s only 29 Euros. Try finding that in the States…
Frankfurt is kind of an industrial town, but if you do go into it, walk along the river, and duck into a couple museums. I also recommend you try some Apfelwein (Apple-wine), by the pitcher or three. It’s verry good. And make sure, since you’re in Germany, you buy some Riesling from Mosel. Top notch.
If you go to the alps and see Mad King Ludwig’s castle, bring some sturdy shoes and go for a hike up the alps. You can only spend 30 minutes in the castle itself, and the trip from Munich is long enough, let alone just outside Frankfurt, so you don’t really want to waste the day wandering around Fussen. Go hike up the mountain high enough that you can see the hang-gliders and paragliders, and get a real view of the countryside.
Landenberg is a small picturesque town between Mannheim and Heidelberg, a few kilometers outside of Viernheim, just off the autobahn between Mannheim and Weinheim. The fact that I can remember that after all of these years amazes me.
I think Langen makes the most sense, it is the location of the German DHL headquarters.
Padeye, can you tell us a little about your interests?
Frankfurt is pretty much in the center of Germany and if you are willing to travel a little (apparently you are) there are countless different things within range.
I’d recommend you check out Rotenburg (sp?) – small midaeval town a couple hours (by train) south of Frankfurt. Really beautiful. Also the Rhine Valley (drink the wine!) and the Mosell Valley are well worth it – an hour or two west by train.