My final day in Germany began by being woken to the sound of Worms Cathedral’s bells tolling. After taking a shower in the freezing bathroom of my hotel room (it was more of a B&B) I carefully packed my suitcase and carry-on backpack for one final day of adventure and then the long journey back to Sydney.
Once I had finished breakfast I rugged up as it was a very cold morning and walked through the pedestrian mall of Worms back to the Worms’ Hauptbahnhof to catch a train to Frankfurt. As I walked I discovered a plaque noting the place where Luther had lived during the Diet of Worms.
To get to Frankfurt I had to catch a local service from Worms back to Mainz and then switch to a S-Bahn service. Although the local trains are “relatively” slow I had a good view of the vineyards that make the Rhine area so famous. I switched trains at Mainz’s Römisches Theater station, unfortunately the transfer time between the two trains was around 2 minutes so I did not have time to take a photo of the ruins of the Roman Theatre that the station is built beside.
I arrived in Frankfurt just after 11am and once I had put my bags into storage I walked into the central area of the city. The day was so cold that once I got to the main shopping area on the Zeil, I went into the Galleria Kaufhof Department Store just to warm up. Inside I discovered they had a large sale on winter gear and I picked up new ski goggles and a neck warmer.
After an hour I went back outside to continue exploring and to get something for lunch. I discovered markets had been setup near the Frankfurter Börse (stock exchange) so I purchased a wurst and ate like a local. I kept walking north to the Eschenheimer Turm (which I now learn is the oldest building in the city) and then deciding that it was still too cold headed back to the various malls and department stores of the Zeil.
30 minutes later and I ventured out again this time down to the Main river. After watching a few large transport boats come down the river I crossed the Eiserner Steg (Iron Bridge).
At the time I didn’t notice the Greek inscription above the bridge, but now looking at my photos and with the help of google I discover it has a quote from Homer’s Odyssey. The inscription reads:
ΠΛΕΩΝ ΕΠΙ ΟΙΝΟΠΑ ΠΟΝΤΟΝ ΕΠ ΑΛΛΟΘΡΟΟΥΣ ΑΝΘΡΩΠΟΥΣ
which translates to “while sailing over the wine-dark sea to men of strange speech”.
The internet also tells me:
“The inscription is believed to have been chosen for the bridge as Frankfurt’s population is made up of many different nationalities and languages; it is meant to symbolise the desire of humanity to cross waters and meet with people of multitude of languages”. https://followinghadrian.com/2013/04/24/a-quote-from-homer-for-a-romer-city/
I then headed into the old city and the cathedral but by this time I was freezing again, so I returned to the Zeil one more time and had a hot chocolate. While there I ended up chatting to one of the workers who told me her daughter was living in New Zealand. Warm once again I started a slow walk back towards the Hauptbahnhof to head to the airport. I took a detour via the Alte Oper (Old Opera House) where I was asked to take a photo for two strangers. After briefly chatting to them I discovered one was Dutch and one was a local who had met each other while visiting New Zealand. The world is a really small place sometimes!
At the Hauptbahnhof I collected my bags and caught a train out to the airport. It only took 15 minutes to get to the airport but then another 30 navigating the airport to find the check-in counters for my flight. This involved catching a skytrain between terminals. Once I made it to the check-in counters I was greeted by an extremely friendly (and unusually funny) German, he offered to swap my passport with his so I could stay in Germany and he could travel to Sydney! I then used my remaining Euros to buy my final meal in Germany – a pretzel and a can of beer.
Once I had passed through passport control I purchased a duty free bottle of wine. I wasn’t sure if I was going to be able to get it transferred through Abu Dhabi but fortunately and thankfully the fantastic Etihad staff supplied a box and transferred the wine to the hold for me and it arrived safely back in Sydney.
My month in Europe was now over but I’m already planning the next trip.