Laurens' Travel Guide to Frankfurt Germany, and more!
Lauren Watson is an avid pizza aficionado, and frequent flyer.
Come join us for a brief adventure into Germany, and the Flight attendant lifestyle.
Traveling the world is a goal of many and not many people have the privilege to see what the world has to offer. As a flight attendant, I am not only blessed with a job that requires travel, I am also blessed to work for a company that allows travel benefits. As a new hire, I have many world destinations to cross off my list, but traveling around Germany has always been one of my life goals.
Germany is not only an amazing country to visit, I also have many personal ties to the country which take me all over. I can thank my Grandfather and Grandmother for meeting in Germany while my grandfather was a young soldier at Bremerhaven Air Force Base. Because of my familial history tied to Germany, I grew up around German cooking and culture. At 26, I now have loved ones stationed in Germany at Ramstein and Spangdahlem Air Force Bases, and they serve as a fantastic excuse to travel around the country.
Day 1: Flying in to Frankfurt
My airline offers direct service to Frankfurt, which is the center of travel to Germany. As my second time visiting, I have never actually *been around Frankfurt (yet) but it is where my travel originates.
First thing- definitely download the DeustchBahn App as well as Trainline because the train is the most efficient way to get around if you don’t have a car (no Autobahn for me, sadly.) The DB Navigator app gives you all of the routes, expenses, times and real time updates on your trip. You can purchase tickets as well, but I have found the Trainline app works wonderfully because Trainline allows you to purchase train tickets in any European country you visit.
After deplaning, Frankfurt’s airport is beautifully laid out as the main train station is connected to the airport. For me, I am heading to a lovely little town called Trier and it is about a 3-hour train ride with only one change. Such a long train ride might seem awful after an 8-hour overnight flight, but there is so much to take in along the way.
My train change on the way to Trier is in Mannheim, a mid-sized city just outside of Frankfurt. Train stations in Europe are sort of like airports- there are shops and restaurants and they are quite busy with travelers like myself. Of course, I have* to stop at Back Werk (translated to Baking Plant) to get a coffee and pretzel bread. Honestly, this is one of my favorite places to go when in Germany because they are EVERYWHERE (think like Dunkin Donuts but way better.) Everything at Back Werk is self-serve; you grab a little tray, pick any of bread or pastry item of your choice from the entire wall of options, go to the coffee maker and get a MilchKafee (coffee with milk) and pay. Within minutes, you have your meal and you are on your way to the next train.
After I pick up the essentials, I hop on to the 2-hour train ride to Trier. Both times that I have visited Germany, I have opted to visit Trier because it is central to both Air Force bases my loved ones are stationed at, but also because there is so much to do and see in such a beautiful town.
Arriving in Trier
As a flight attendant, I am quite picky about the hotels and Airbnb’s I stay in and Trier does not disappoint with lodging options. However, need to drop a quick plug for the best EWR crashpad of all time...The Redeye. I currently live here in between my trips, but I have to say for a Co-Living community this is bar none the greatest place for anyone looking for a community here in EWR and in search of aviation housing. Ok so most hotels in Trier have many amenities to offer, most importantly, they offer free or reduced-price breakfast buffets. These breakfasts are not your hard-boiled eggs and packaged cereal, they are quite decadent. A personal fave is warm pretzel bread with raw honey. Europeans, especially Germans, love to lounge and take their time with their meal and coffee. Meal time is not about rushing, it is about enjoying your company and being mindful of the day. So, the hotels in such a tourist area cater to this.
This trip, I opted to stay in an Airbnb across the Moselle from Trier. My host, Dietmar, had completely renovated part of an abandoned house to create 2 entire apartments overlooking the river and it was only $70 per night. Since I was sitting for nearly 12 hours, I walked from Trier Hauptbahnhof (Trier Central Station) and pick up groceries along the way.
Now, I know the States have Aldi but Aldi is completely different in Germany. If you opt to stay in an Airbnb and are trying to stick to a budget (for more shopping, like me) stopping at Aldi for groceries is a must. The essentials for 4 nights – oatmeal, eggs, avocado, chicken, vegetables and of course, Nutella filled waffels – only cost about 23 Euro. I packed all my groceries in my travel backpack because plastic bags are not a thing in Germany.
Once at the Airbnb, it is obviously time to watch German MTV and have Nutella Filled waffles for dinner.
Trier Day #1
Did you know, Trier is the oldest city in Germany? Trier dates back to the days of ancient Rome, which creates an amazing blend of history and culture. As a tourist, not only is there a ton to see in Trier City Center, there are a ton of museums and architecture to visit. A quick 30-minute walk across the Moselle and I am in Trier City Center about to start a day of exploring.
My first stop for the day is the Roman Imperial Baths. The large Roman complex was never finished, making the site Roman Ruin. For only 4 Euro, you get free roam of the grounds and tunnels as well as the museum. The Baths are located at Kaisertharmen, which is about a 10-minute walk from Trier City Center.
In Ancient Rome, the Imperial Baths were used almost as a spa, and the different areas of the grounds were used for different activities. Additionally, you can pass through the underground tunnels to different parts of the Baths and see many of the boiler rooms that gave heat to the hot baths. At the site today, you will find 3D placards that give you an idea of what the ruins looked like at the time of use as well as the potential floor plan if it had been completed in its entirety.
After leaving the Imperial Baths, as we work our way back to Trier City Center, the Palace of Trier appears. The Palace is a brilliant pink with white and gold accents, and the courtyard is a place where many go to simply relax. Built in the 1600s, the Palace is centrally located next to the Konstantin-Basilika. It is quite easy to spend an hour in the courtyard alone taking in the architecture and sculptures in the courtyard.
Once the sunbathing at the Palace of Trier courtyard is complete, it is time to head back to the City Center. Along the way, the amazing Trier Cathedral must be visited. The Trier Cathedral is actually the oldest bishop’s church in Germany as it is original to Trier’s ancient Roman roots. The Cathedral is hard to put into words, so I will have to let the photos do the talking.
After a long day of sight seeing, it is most definitely time for some Brezel (pretzel).
Day #2: Luxembourg is close, let’s go there
When in Europe, it is essential to take a look at surrounding countries and cities of interest because they can be closer than you originally thought. Luxembourg is one of those places for me as it is only a 40 minute train ride to Luxembourg City. Luxembourg is in located in the middle of Germany, France, and Belgium and the culture is a mesh of all 3 countries. One of the very first things I noticed about Luxembourg is the German and French language mesh and historically speaking, this makes sense due to the conflicts around World War II. When Googling Luxembourg, the language Luxembourgish comes up; which is essentially a mix of French and German.
Amazingly, I spent only 10 Euro in Luxembourg because all of the tourist sites I had visited were free of charge. Obviously, I spent that 10 Euro on coffee and une salade au saumon (a salad with salmon) on the Adolphe Bridge. The Adolphe Bridge is beyond amazing, and you can hike – no really, it is a hike- down to the bottom near the river. Don’t worry, you can stop to catch your breath when taking pictures.
For sight seeing, Luxembourg has a quiet yet incredibly popular area around the Notre Dame of Luxembourg. This cathedral was built in the 1600s and is actually the only cathedral in Luxembourg. Visiting this was actually a pleasant surprise because I thought I got a little turned around after my hike along the Adolphe Bridge. I was originally planning to visit the Casemates Du Bock and the Pétrusse Casements, but I had learned that all four of these historic landmarks are located almost next door to one another.
At last, I had finally made the long, slightly detoured, walk to the Casemates Du Bock and Pétrusse Casements. What is ‘Casemates??’ you might ask, and they are a series of Castles that were built in 963 and had existed through many years and uses, like military use prior to the 1930s. At the Casemates, you can start at the bottom and climb your way through the tunnels and over the bridges to the top, where you overlook the entire city of Luxembourg.
Day 3: Shopping and Dining
After two days of walking miles on miles, it is time to buy and eat all the things. For shopping and dining, Trier City Center is phenomenal. Located at the Porta Nigra, another ancient Roman architecture site, you will find several miles of stores, cafés, breweries, and shopping. On weekends, you will also find a small farmer’s market and outdoor wine bar.
Trier City Center houses traditional German buildings, cobblestone streets, and is almost always full of people dining, shopping, and enjoying a glass of Riesling. For my restaurant finds, I will do my best to list what Trier City Center has to offer. Luckily, my friends touring the city with me are just as much of foodies as I am.
Random side note, when dining out in Germany, servers are almost hard to flag down and only bring the check when asked. This is because meal time is so cherished with family and friends, servers will not impede as it is seen as rude. So, don’t be afraid to seat yourself and start looking at the menu. Also, you will be asked if you would like Still Water or Gas Water for your starter. Let’s eat:
· Weinstube Zum Domstein: If you are looking for 100% Traditional German food, this is it. They have everything from Rinderrouladen (Beef rolls) to Garnierts Saurkraut (pork and sauerkraut.) Since there is so much to choose from, you can opt to have the Roman dish- which is a small plate of 4 items of your choosing to sample all of them.
· Chibi-Ya: This Japanese restaurant has massive ramen bowls. Enough said.
· Bitburger Wirtshaus: Ok. So, when you go to Germany, you will see so many people drinking Bitburger Beer. There is even a saying in Germany, “Bitte ein Bit” which translates to “Bitburger please.” The Bitburger Wirtshaus is home to the Bitburger Brewery and they have a killer happy hour at 11pm called “Jumbo Hour” and yes, the alcoholic beverages are jumbo.
· Restaurant Walderdorffs: Amazingly decadent cocktails. I had to go back a second night and get the Moscow Mule. Also, it does not matter what time of the night you go, ask for the “cake special” and you will be surprised with a randomly chosen German cake.
· Donna Mia: Italian food. Really should be enough said, but this restaurant is mostly outside and offers authentic Italian food overlooking the town. Even when it is raining, like the night we went, it is beautiful to eat at.
· Restaurant Croatia: Just outside of the city center located on the Moselle. This is such a perfect place to get pizza and wine. Overlooking the Moselle, the plates and glasses of wine are HUGE. What is even better is that the restaurant does not necessarily have a closing time. The waiter explained that closing is whenever the company ends, or when people decide to leave.
· Gelateria Calchera: We cannot have a travel blog without gelato. The Gelateria Calchera has a few different locations in Trier, a few with tables and a few with ‘walk up and take out’ windows. For 1 Euro, you can get a scoop of Gelato with a waffle cookie and the flavors are to die for.
· A very random bar, definitely not near Trier, called The Cockpit Lounge. This was a bar I actually discovered my first trip to Germany. The Cockpit Lounge is located in Landstuhl, Germany and hosts Air Force men and women for nightly drinks after work at Ramstein Air Force Base. The bar is plane and aviation themed with plane propellers for fans and windows cut to look like the windows of a plane.
Day #4: Weishauswald: Wildlife Forrest
Almost 5-10 minutes directly behind my Airbnb in the Pallien District of Trier, there is Weishauswald. This park is home to Reindeer, goats, wild pigs, roosters, and donkeys. A short hike in, there is no fee to pet and feed the animals. If you are traveling with a small child, this is a perfect place to let your little one run around and explore nature. The goats were especially a hit, and all of them are so loving and sweet. Another amazing thing about this place is there is it overlooks the entire town of Trier.
Day #5: Saying goodbyes
The travel day back to the states began with morning coffee and a salmon bagel at Coffee Fellows, a shop that actually serves iced coffee (yay American influence!) But be mindful of your pronunciation when ordering said iced coffee because it is actually called “cold coffee.” If you say “iced coffee,” it sounds like “eis coffee” which is actually coffee with ice cream. Which is also delicious.
As I travel back to Frankfurt, I had to stop and get the usual gifts for my family back home. That meant German Haribo for my roommates, Schoko-Reis cakes for my crashpad, and an assortment of chocolate dipped dried fruits for my family back home. Germany really does have the best sweets and candies and it holds special meaning for me to give the sweet gifts I received as a child to those I care about.
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