Our flight from Prague would connect at Frankfurt for our flight home to Kuala Lumpur. It has been raining all morning in Prague and continued so while we waited for our plane to arrive at Vaclav Havel airport. The gloomy weather apparently covered a large part of eastern Europe and has disrupted flights all around. Our Lufthansa plane finally arrived on what was supposedly been the departure time. By the time we departed, it was already a little more than an hour late. The 2 hours transit time we would have in Frankfurt for a change of plane, would now turn to be an amazing race as we would effectively have less than an hour to do so.
While the weather has sort of calmed down when we departed Prague, it wasn’t so for flights across Austria and Germany. Our plane had to circle Frankfurt for a good 2 hours for a break of clear weather or probably had to wait long for it’s turn to land. By the time we got to the departure gate for our connecting flight, the gate has been closed and our plane departed on time. Presumably, it would have taken a different route to avoid the bad weather or the weather had improved.
OMG, we are now stuck in Frankfurt! We were instructed to go to Lufthansa counters to make arrangement for the next flight out. The line to these counters were long as Lufthansa had to make arrangement for hundreds or possibly thousands of stranded passengers. Two thoughts played in my mind. It wasn’t the airline’s fault … so, do we have to purchase new tickets AND where are we going to put up for the night? Airport chairs aren’t actually comfy.
While lining up to be attended, trolleys of mineral water, fruit juice, energy bars and breads were made available and promptly replenished. Such were German efficiency. When I got up to the counter, I was told that Lufthansa will be making alternative flight arrangement for the next day at NO additional cost and we will be put up at Maritim Hotel at Lufthansa expense. To top it up, taxi and hotel meal vouchers were also handed out. This is SUPERB service.
Arriving at Maritim Hotel, a long line of passengers were already waiting to be attended. This stretched from the reception till outside the entrance door. The registration was smooth and by the time we got into our room, its past mid night. More passengers affected by the delays were still coming in.
The room assigned to us was decently large. The amenities in the room was good, the room was quiet and the drapes kept the lights out. Naturally we had no extra clothes with us, but the bathrobes was good enough for the night. By the time I finished texting my office about the delay, had my bath, it was almost 1am. This hotel with 542 rooms also caters for a number of airline crews.
At 07:30 the next morning, Frankfurt was still raining that doesn’t seem to be fading anytime soon. We had a late breakfast at 09:00 and then went up to our room to prepare for check-out at 12:00. Our flight home will be at 21:35 and upon check-out, we left our backpacks at the hotel and took advantage of the remaining time to explore Frankfurt. We had no idea where to go as we had not visited Frankfurt nor made any research of the attractions it has. Staff at the hotel reception suggested taking the underground metro nearby for a visit to Romerberg.
As if the weather knew of our intentions, the rain turned into drizzle and later stopped. From the hotel, we walked a little bit to the Festhalle/Messe underground metro (U-banh). Along the way, we came across a 21-metre-tall contraption of a ‘Hammering Man‘, a reflection of the new Frankfurt reborn after WWII. The motor driven right arm hammers rhythmically on an imaginary anvil.
After a couple of stops on the metro, we reached Romerberg, a public square. It is located in front of the Romer building complex, the seat of the Frankfurt city hall since 1405 to this day. The Romer are medieval buildings in the old town of Frankfurt am Main and one of the city’s important landmarks. Historic timber-framed buildings also fronts this square.
From Romerberg, we walked along the boulevard that leads to Galeria, a department store. This walking route will pass Haagen-Dazs and besides it, is a small square with a tall obelisk like reddish stone Liebfrauenberg fountain. Most people would just walk past it not knowing the structure dates back to 1770. There is no info board on the significance of this fountain, although there is a small bronze plaque in German.
Galeria is a huge department store a further 5 minutes walk from Haagen-Dasz. Outside the building, you’ll find a contemporary sculpture of David And Goliath which is a little difficult to comprehend. Having limited time, we did not venture inside the department store.
At one end of the Galeria towards our right, in the distance we noticed a structure that looks like a castle tower right in the middle of an intersection. This is Eschenheimer Turm (tower) with a height of 47m located in-front of Fleming’s Hotel. It used to serve as a city gate during the late medieval fortifications of Frankfurt am Main. The tower was erected at the beginning of the 15th century and was completed around 1428. Currently a restaurant and a bar operates there. Yet another landmark of the city with a metro stop near the base of the tower.
From the Galeria, walking the opposite direction (left) will take you to St Catherine church. It is the largest Protestant church in Frankfurt am Main, It was completed in 1681, damaged in 1944 during WWII and rebuilt in the 50s.
Across St Catherine church you’ll find Cafe Hauptbache built in 1729 originally as a guard house and prison. In late 1860s, the building became a police station and in 1904 became a cafe. Located in a busy plaza, this is the place to watch people go by and to ponder about the criminal history that took place right under your feet. It is one of Frankfurt’s most beautiful buildings albeit dwarfed by surrounding skyscrapers.
Our next destination before returning to our hotel is to head to Munchener Str for lunch. This street is near Frankfurt (Main) Hauptbahnhof and is where one should go to look for Halal food. A number of Halal Food outlet can be found here ranging from Turkish to Indian food. Prices are about standard across Europe ranging from €7 – €10 for a decent meal.
After lunch we returned to Miritim Hotel to collect our backpacks and after a short rest, headed to the airport. We weren’t able to get a direct flight as it was fully booked, thus we will transit at Changi, Singapore before heading home to Kuala Lumpur. From Changi, we will be flying Singapore Airlines. All this has been pre arranged by Lufthansa. Kudos to Lufthansa for their brilliant service.