Frankfurt was the place that surprised me the most.
I had never visited Frankfurt before, but I had been through it several times on the way to Munich so I had already caught a glimpse of the glass buildings and the river. I imagined that Frankfurt was kind of like a huge canary wharf. Upmarket, glassy, rich and a little soulless.
I was wrong.
The coach journey from Vienna to Frankfurt was really beautiful. It’s true that most of the countryside scenery you see from the coach window looks the same whether you’re in England, Germany, France or anywhere else, but I never stop appreciating it.
I stayed in the A&O Frankfurt Galluswarte hostel. This place refers to itself as a 2* hotel, and that is pretty much what you get. The room was actually pretty amazing with a TV, a desk, an ensuite and a beautiful view from the window, but it had a similar vibe to the hostel in Austria.
It felt more like a Travelodge than a hostel which is fine, but it’s not ideal if you’re traveling on your own and you want to meet people.
The Free Walking Tour
I had never been on a free walking tour before traveling to Berlin in the autumn of 2016, but I swear by them now. I cannot think of a better way to learn about a city, see as many of the main attractions as possible in a short space of time, and venture into areas that you just wouldn’t know about otherwise.
I went with the Frankfurt Alternative Walking Tour, and it was great because they took you to see everything. The main sights, the historical parts, the dodgy parts, the red light district … we saw it all.
The walking tour started just a few minutes away from Frankfurt Central Station, and the first places they take you are in the dodgy part of town. The first stop was outside one of Frankfurt’s shooting rooms, and the guide explained that in Frankfurt they have safe spaces where drug users can go, sleep, eat cheap food and even shoot up.
The part of the tour was an ‘alternative perspective of the central station area’, which is essentially the dodgy part of town. The first place we visited was the area outside a shooting room, and the guide explained that in Frankfurt they have safe spaces where drug users can go, sleep, eat cheap food and even shoot up. They don’t provide them with the drugs (I believe selling drugs isn’t legal in itself), but they don’t criminalize the users for it either.
This part of Frankfurt does feel a little dangerous. You see people with huge, dilated pupils stumbling around the streets, and they have a lot of homeless people too, but the question is what do you think will help?
Do you want to condemn users to the streets, or do you want to give them a safe place with a bed and medical attention if they need it? I’m a big believer in drug legalization, and this tour confirmed quite a few things I already assumed to be true.
The next place we visited was the red light district, which is a fairly unassuming area frequented by wealthy businessmen. It isn’t uncommon for men to be propositioned on the streets of Frankfurt, but you’re normally advised to go to an establishment as the girls on the streets are not subject to the same regulations.
There is currently no brothel for straight women. Where’s the equality?!
The tour takes you to the Eiserner Steg bridge, and along the way you come across the Old Opera, Paul’s Church, Cathedral of St. Bartholomew, the stock exchange, and the Town Hall.
We passed by Goethe’s house, which was interesting for me as I read ‘The Sorrows Of Young Werther’ years ago, and we also saw a part of the Berlin Wall.
We also went Spiderman spotting.
I really liked Frankfurt, but it was quite expensive compared to Eastern Europe (although pretty much on par with London) and I couldn’t really afford to stay for longer than two days. So on the 30th day of my trip, I boarded a Megabus bound for London. My first solo Europe by Bus trip was at an end.
This trip may be at an end, but there is a lot more to come. The trip you have been reading about took place from October the 24th to November the 22nd 2016, and after that, I went on another semi-solo trip to Toulouse, Barcelona, Valencia, Cordoba, Seville, Lagos, Lisbon, and Porto, so you can expect to see lots of photos in the near future!
I have some other news as well: on the 17th of August 2017 I will be going to America for a month! This is another solo trip, but it is not by bus and it is not in Europe. I may create another blog for plane-based adventures, so I will let you know if./when that happens.
For now, I would like to thank you for reading, please subscribe, comment, favourite and share, and I’ll be back soon with details of my trip to Toulouse!