With more and more countries opening up borders and especially with the news on Japan easing travel restrictions, travellers are seen flocking to make travel bookings to Japan, resulting in surging demand for travel tickets. Needless to say, prices are being pushed skyrocketing high, too. 🤣
There aren’t many choice destinations when traveling during Chinese New Year period and Japan is definitely one of those country that I loved to visit during Chinese Year period. So I immediately thought of Japan with the news announcement just like anyone else would do.
Sadly, prices are a big deterrent in this decision making. Thus, I have decided to make a short trip to Germany instead. I have never been to Europe and this being my maiden trip. I do not have a specific agenda for this trip except with an open mind to experience and enjoy the culture, the people and the place.
Yes, you can imagine the excitement and anxiety that I am having. 😲 This is definitely another checklist off my bucket list. 😉
I have decided to base myself in Frankfurt City for this trip and see how things unfold from there.
Frankfurt is the fifth largest city in Germany with an urban population of about 2.3M people and is the largest financial centre in continental Europe. It is home to the European Central Bank, Deutsche Bundesbank, Frankfurt Stock Exchange and several large commercial banks.
At long last, I can now be on track to travel out during Chinese New Year period just like pre-Covid days, a tradition that I am trying to uphold dearly. 😊
The adventure and excitement happen only after passing through the departure gate.
Yay! Here comes the start of my long-awaited and highly anticipated trip. 😀
As usual, always looking forward to a great meal at SilverKris Lounge prior to departure.
Here I go. Time to board for my long flight to Frankfurt. Woohoo……
Cheers to good health and wealth! Here’s wishing one and all a Happy Lunar Chinese New Year. May the year of the Rabbit bring you abundance of joy, happiness, wealth, and health.
Served with onion and spicy peanut sauce. A great appetiser to begin the journey while on air.
Chinese New Year salad of sliced lightly smoked salmon, shredded & pickled vegetables, cracker, peanut, sesame seeds, sweet and sour plum sauce. Yu Sheng is traditionally tossed to usher in a year of abundance, wealth, and longevity. Huat Ah!
Braised Fish Maw, Sea Cucumber, Dried Oyster, Dried Scallop & Roast Pork Served with Vegetables & Steamed Rice.
An abundance of seafood to symbolize good fortune and prosperity for the New Year.
Symbolise wealth and good luck.
Tete de Moine, Brie and Morbido Rosso with accompaniments and crackers.
A popular Singapore delicacy, bakkwa is traditionally eaten during the Chinese New Year.
Last but not least, ending with a cup of double shot espresso. It’s definitely a great sky dining meal experience, for sure. ☺️
OMG, it’s time for dinner now again before I know it. Loves this endless feasting, really symbolizes prosperity, and definitely a good start to the Lunar New Year. 😲
Starting with an assortment of gourmet breads.
Legume salad with yuzu, soy, and sesame dressing for appetizer.
Lobster Thermidor, a classic French dish where the Lobster meat is cooked in a rich cream sauce, enhanced with Cognac and Dijon mustard, with the addition of button mushrooms and herbs fine, the Lobster is returned to the shell, topped off with grated cheddar cheese and finished off to create an oven-brown cheese crust.
Egg white dome served with almonds and vanilla sauce.
Finishing touch – Moroccan Mint Tea, a blend of delicate green tea and strong Sahara mint.
Safe arrival in Frankfurt Airport after a good 13 hours flight.
After clearing immigration, headed straight to the train station to take the autobahn (S8 or S9) bound for Frankfurt (Main) Hauptbahnhof Station.
Buying a train ticket for the first time via the ticketing machine can prove to be a real challenge. 😔
As there is no ticket check (all about integrity) in place to gain access to the train platform, I realise you can even board the train without tickets. 😲
It will take about 15 mins to reach Frankfurt Main Station, which is about 4 stations away from Frankfurt Airport Station.
Upon reaching, I was greeted with a nice welcome of -1 degree. It was cold but not overly cold (bearable) without the breeze.
My humble abode (Mercure Hotel Kaiserhof City Center) for the next 3 nights. This hotel is conveniently located about 200m right across the Frankfurt Main Station.
The room is clean, good, and spacious at 20 square metres. The only feedback is that they do not provide for amenities like toothbrush and toothpaste, or else it will be perfect.
After checking in to the hotel, took a leisure stroll to the Frankfurt Main Station to check out the shops there.
There happens to have a mini bazaar right at the main entrance selling cheeses, cured meats, breads and pastries.
Couldn’t resist the temptation and bought the nutella chocolate & pistachio filling pastries to try. Sweet tooth lovers will enjoy this sweet treat.
OMG! Look at the size of the bread!
Came across WurstHelden and decided to try out the frankfurter. You may choose between beef or pork, and the recommended option will be the beef frankfurter. It’s nice but a little on the salty side. In Frankfurt, it is a must to eat their Frankfurter, as I have been told. Well, so here I am to mark off the checklist. 😀😀😀
Overall feel for today, I love the cold weather as it has been a long while since I last had the cold weather. The streets are really dirty with litter everywhere. That’s the dampener.
Food wise, there are a lot of different countries cuisines ranging from Chinese, Indian, Japanese, Vietnamese, Thai, Middle Eastern, etc. You name it, you have it. There is no lack of options if you are willing to pay for it.
With this, it brings me to the end of the day.
Day 2, waking up to a gloomy but nice morning cold weather at 2 degrees.
A typical street scene in Frankfurt City. Quiet and serene (probably on a Sunday I suppose). Great for relaxation trip.
Enjoying my first German breakfast meal at Rewe To Go.
You can find a good selection of breads, pastries, salads, hot foods, and fruits for your quick meals.
After a good breakfast, I took a leisure stroll around the city centre for some sightseeing activities as today being a Sunday, all shops are mostly closed, so it is extremely quiet. Guess this is the culture here where people rest on Sundays. Thankfully, the city centre is pedestrian friendly and you can easily walk around to visit the city’s attractions.
First attraction for the day, went in search for this iconic Euro Currency sculpture. This is the work of art by Ottmar Hörl. There is a good symbolic reason for seeing this Euro Currency, especially on the start of the Lunar New Year that signifies abundance of wealth throughout the year 2023!
Night view of the Euro Currency sculpture with the light up.
Right across the road, you will see Oper Frankfurt, a music theatre of municipal theatres in Frankfurt am Main. It is one of the most important music theatres in Europe and was named Opera House of the Year by Opernwelt magazine in 1996, 2003, 2015, 2018, 2020 and 2022.
Headed next to the towers in Frankfurt am Main, known colloquially as “Langer Franz” and “Kleiner Cohn” and they were built between 1900 and 1904. A beautiful architectural in the old town of Frankfurt. They adjoin the historic Römer buildings on the Römerberg to the west. The Ortsgericht is the local court for Frankfurt.
The Seufzerbruecke (Bridge of Sighs) connects the north building with the south building of the New Town Hall (Neuen Rathauses).
The Paulskirche (symbol of the democratic movement in Germany) in Frankfurt am Main is a former church building and is now a national monument used for exhibitions, memorial, meeting place, and public events.
The Unity Monument has stood on Paulsplatz in front of the Paulskirche since 1903. It symbolizes the champions of political freedom, the men of science, the universities and the founders of the economic unification of Germany.
Paulsplatz is the largest square in the old town of Frankfurt am Main.
Beside Paulsplatz, you will see Frankfurter Römer. The Römerberg is the town hall square of Frankfurt am Main and has been the centre of the old town since the High Middle Ages.
The Fountain of Justice has stood on the square since 1543.
The sandstone statute of Minerva is a 1983 replica of the statute that was destroyed by Allied bombs in 1944.
The building structures are so beautiful which we do get to see in our part of the world and you can have a nice picturesque taken without the photo bombers. 😉
Friedrich Stoltze Fountain is located on the gorgeous little square. The Stoltze fountain is a fountain of the Hühnermarkt in the old town hall of Frankfurt am Main. It was erected in 1892 in honour of the poet and writer Friedrich Stoltze (1816 – 1891). He was a journalist and publisher in Frankfurt am Main who campaigned for the national unification of Germany.
Upon walking through Domturm,
you will notice the Frankfurt Cathedral (Imperial Cathedral of Saint Bartholomew). It is a Roman Catholic Gothic church located in the centre of Frankfurt am Main, the largest religious building in the city and a former collegiate church.
There are also many other landmark buildings and
sculptures within the city centre that can capture your attention as well.
Crossing over to Eiserner Steg, one of the most romantic place to visit in Frankfurt. A famous bridge over the main river.
This bridge allows you to cross over the river main from one side of the city to another. Look at all the love locks that are chained throughout the bridge.
Eiserner Steg seen from afar.
Enjoying the scenic views of the river main from the bridge.
If you are interested in visiting museums, there are museums located on both sides of the river main that you can go to and Ikonen Museum is one of them.
Saw this interesting building with a huge Mercedes Benz logo thought maybe the building is owned by them. 🤔
Having a late Mexican lunch at LaMex Lounge.
Grilled lamb skewer served with Mexican rice, mint sauce and salad.
Filled with grilled chicken breast, mushrooms, zucchini, onions, cheddar and mozzarella cheese, served with tomato salsa, sour cream and avocado dip.
An awesome and tasty meal. The portions are huge too. Value for money!
Proceeded to have a cozy dinner at Ristorante Bacco before calling it a night.
This is really delicious and pairs extremely well with the red wine sauce coupled with the citrusy tangy orange that gives it an extra layer to the dish.
I love the texture of the pasta. It’s like a mix of our yellow noodles with yee mee texture.
Starting the morning at Zeit Für Brot, a local café joint with a nice breakfast. Today’s weather is bright and cheery. Yay.
They offer a wide selection of sweet treats, breads,
savoury sandwiches and cakes. Leaving you spoilt for choice here for sure. 🤣
This bun is so good. Just like cinnabon bun. 😋
Laugencroissant is a croissant that has been pretzelized and is crispily good too. Yum yum.
A cup of hot Americano is what I need on a cold morning to perk me up.
While on my way to the morning market, I caught hold of Museum MMK or Museum of Modern Art. Because of its triangular shape, it is popularly called a “piece of cake”.
This is a market hall with 60+ vendors selling a variety of groceries, flowers, wine and prepared foods.
With the fresh foods, this is certainly Frankfurt’s foodies haven.
Following up with more sightseeing activities thereafter.
Steigenberger Frankfurter Hof, a luxury hotel in Frankfurt, located in the middle of the banking district and the historic old town. This is intended for those who want to experience a luxurious ambience and first-class service. 🙂
The Goethe House is a writer’s house museum located in the Innenstadt district of Frankfurt, Germany. It is the birthplace and childhood home of German poet and playwright Johann Wolfgang von Goethe. Now the house has been operated as a museum displaying period furniture and paintings from Goethe’s time in the house.
You may catch a glimpse of the Goethe statue right at the Goetheplatz.
The Hauptwache is a central point of Frankfurt am Main and is one of the most famous plazas in the city. It lies to the west of Konstablerwache with both squares linked by the Zeil, the central shopping area of the city.
Along the street of Goetheplatz, that’s where you can find major high-end designer’s label store for your best bargain in town. 😉
In addition, there is also a shopping street in Zeil where there are 2 main shopping malls where you can shop till your heart’s content too.
Taking a quick lunch at Galleria Restaurant on Level 6 of Galleria Mall.
This is like a Marche concept where you need to get a card to access the restaurant and pay with your card upon ordering and checking out right before you exit the restaurant.
Tomato Sauce, Cheese, Serrano ham, Rocket & Grana Padano. Heavenly is all I can say!
Fun time snacking at Chicken & Chips.
It’s hard to go wrong with fried chicken & twister fries. 😀
Make my way back to the hotel as it has been a long day out.
Nothing beats having a comfort food, a bowl of piping hot instant noodles on a cold night like this. 😋😋😋
It has been a good last 3 days in Frankfurt. This morning, I will be departing Frankfurt for Heidelberg (a large city in the German state of Baden-Württemberg).
Charging up at Ice Caffè Konditorei for a simple breakfast to kick-start another gloomy morning.
Continue strolling the street before heading off to Heidelberg.
I happen to come across a street where there are a lot of barber shops.
There is this particular barber shop that really caught my attention. Looks extremely classy, right? 👍
While en route to Alte Oper Frankfurt, you may find a couple of interesting sculptures along the way as well.
Alte Oper is a concert hall in Frankfurt am Main, Hesse, Germany. It is located in the inner city, Innenstadt, within the banking district Bankenviertel. This is a must visit as it is Europe’s Prestigious Opera House.
Frankfurt Main Tower (name after the nearby Main River) is the only skyscraper in Frankfurt with a public viewing observatory. It is the 4th tallest building (240m when included the antenna spire) in Frankfurt and is also the 4th tallest building in Germany.
Had another round of food at Der Bäcker Eifler, a confectionery store that is frequent by their locals as it is reasonably priced as compared to other confectionery store.
Get my fix on German frankfurter and ham with bread before going back to the hotel to do my final packing.
With a satisfactory meal, it is time to check out of the hotel and proceed to Heidelberg.
Went over to Frankfurt Hauptbahnhof for my scheduled departure train to Heidelberg Hauptbahnhof.
There are 2 types of train which you can travel on. One is the ICE (Inter City Express) train, similar to KTX or Shinkansen. The other will be DB Regional Train, which is their local train that pulls over at every stop. As the ICE will require a change of train, I decided to take a longer ride via DB Regional Train instead as it will be a direct ride without the need for a change of train. Typically, ICE will take about 50 mins, while DB Regional Train will take about 1.5 hours from Frankfurt Station to Heidelberg Station.
Time to board for the train that is scheduled at 11:06 hrs.
Arrived into Heidelberg Station at the scheduled time at 12:38 hrs.
Heidelberg is a small town with an estimated population of about 160,000 habitants.
From the station, it is about 350m away from the service apartment that I will be staying at.
I rented a studio apartment in Weststadtblick for my stay in Heidelberg. The exterior apartment looks kind of old in an instance.
But the service apartment is well maintained, clean, and spacious at 65 sqm. I love the space, and I will be here for the next 3 nights.
It even came with an open balcony which you can chill outside if needed. 😅
After settling in, I did my usual recce within the vicinity for familiarisation.
The streets are much cleaner compared to Frankfurt city centre, and you will see many beautiful landmark buildings and churches too.
St. Bonifatius is a Catholic Church in the western part of Heidelberg.
Christus-Luther-Markus-Gemeinde is an Evangelical Church in Heidelberg.
Relaxing over a cuppa at Coffee Fellows.
A specially created new menu item just for the winter season. Tastes like cinnamon coffee to me.
Decided to have an Italian dinner at Da Baggio Ristorante.
This is certainly one of the better minestrone that I have had. Flavourful and rich with vegetables.
Seafood with sepia, polpo, shrimp, garlic, cherry, tomatoes on slightly spicy white wine and tomato sauce. Power is all I have to say.
Grilled seabass with garlic and chilli with grilled vegetables. The seabass is well charred.
A type of German beer that comes with a sweet aftertaste. It’s cloudy in look and refreshingly good.
It was a great dinner to bring me to the end of my first day in Heidelberg.
Since I am staying at a service apartment, I should make use of the facility provided, thus I have decided to whip up my breakfast this morning and enjoy it at the comfort of my apartment instead of eating out.
Doesn’t this look sumptuous to you? 😋😋
Starting the day with a bright and cheery morning and nice cool weather at -1 degrees.
Caught hold of this interesting sculpture right outside Heidelberg Station. Can you make up what it is? 🤔
I will be covering 2 main attractions for today, namely Heidelberg Castle and the Philosophers’ Way, and both the attractions are conveniently located at the Old Town of Heidelberg or Altstadt.
You can walk to the Altstadt from the city centre which will set you back by about 30 mins or you can choose to travel by bus to reach Kornmarkt (Valley Station) for the funicular ride to the castle.
In the essence of time, I decided on the day pass as it can be used for both bus and tram rides.
You may visit the tourist information centre right outside the station to purchase the tickets, or you choose to purchase it on board the bus or tram.
Here we go, taking Bus #20 to go to Kornmarkt, where it is situated in the heart of Heidelberg’s Old Town.
From here, take a short funicular (ropeway) ride to reach the intermediate Station Schloss.
It will take just one stop for the ride.
Heidelberg Castle is a ruin in Germany and is one of the best-known castle ruins in the world. It is a landmark of Heidelberg. The castle ruins are among the most important Renaissance structures north of the Alps. Thus, it is a must visit attraction when you are in Heidelberg.
Immediately you will see the main courtyard after the entrance.
More scenic pictures of the castle that you can enjoy when you are here.
There are 2 other important attractions within the castle that you can visit as well, the Big Barrel and the Pharmacy Museum.
The Big Barrel (Heidelberg Tun or Great Heidelberg Tun) is an extremely large wine vat contained within the cellars of Heidelberg Castle.
It’s the world’s largest wine barrel with an astounding capacity of 219,000 litres.
You may get to experience the close-up view of the Big Barrel, and the true size of the barrel becomes apparent.
The wine-loving court jester, Little Perkeo, is standing guard over the Big Barrel due to his ability to hold his liquor, which he is famous for.
Enjoy a light snack break at the cafè inside the Big Barrel attraction.
Finally, I had the chance to eat the currywurst. It’s basically curry sausage. The curry is not the spicy kind as one would expect. It’s similar to the Japanese curry version. I have to change my perception of pretzel though. I used to think that it is hard and tough. After trying, it was love at first sight. 🥰 The pretzel is so doughy and soft.
I seem to fall in love with Weizen. Just loved the sweet beer taste.
The German Apothecary Museum inside Heidelberg Castle offers fascinating insights into the history of pharmaceutics from antiquity to the 21st century.
You will be able to take a fascinating walk through the exhibition to see the special highlights of the fully preserved interiors of the historic apothecaries from the 17th through to the 19th century.
After which, you may spend the remaining time exploring the spectacular views of the Old Town from the top of the Heidelberg Castle before making your descend back to Kornmarkt.
You may also choose to get a 0 Euro note from the gift shop as a keepsake momento.
Beautiful view of the Old Bridge spanning the Neckar taken from the top view of Heidelberg Castle.
From Kornmarkt, you can take a gentle stroll to the Old Bridge in the market square to take in the charm of Heidelberg’s idyllic architecture.
While on my way to the Old Bridge, made a detour over to the Old Town (Altstadt) for a quick lunch at hans im glück.
The burger is really good with the tasty soft brioche bun coupled with the refreshing ice tea. I am surprised that I have not tried it back home.
The Neckar is a 362km long river in Germany. You will get to see the famous Old Bridge (Alte Brücke) here.
The Old Bridge is an arch bridge in Heidelberg that crosses the Neckar river. It connects the Old City with the eastern part of the Neuenheim district of the city on the opposite bank.
Upon crossing The Old Bridge, you will be on the northern side of the Neckar river. You can then take a leisure walk through the Philosophers’ Way.
The stone statute of the monkey can be found right beside the entrance to the Old Bridge.
There is another interesting stone statue of the 2 mice right beside the bridge monkey too. Interestingly, most people will take pictures with the bridge monkey and conveniently forget about the 2 mice. Thus, I am featuring them to give justice to it. 😀
Charming view of the Neckar river taken from the Old Bridge.
Look at the houses situated on each side of the riverbank. It’s really a dream for anyone to live here.
View of the Heidelberg Castle taken from the Old Bridge. Was up there a moment ago. It’s simply astonishing.
Once you cross over to the other side of the Neckar river, turn left, and you will see a pedestrian light to cross the road. From there, look for the sign that points you to Schlangenweg.
Then, you will need to follow this snake-like steep path up the hill until you reach the plateau part of the Philosophers’ Way.
You will have to negotiate lots of steep slopes and
lots of steps before you reach the plateau part. This is definitely a good workout for sure. 😂
Wow, what a nice surprise find!
This is the plateau part of the Philosophers’ Way, and you may then walk through one of Heidelberg’s residential area to get back to the western part of the Old Town. This route will be easy as it is just going down the slope. 😅
You will be rewarded with a stunning view of the Old Town when you reach the plateau of the Philosophers’ Way.
Magnificent view the Heidelberg Castle from the Philosophers’ Way. Doesn’t it feel like you are staring at a portrait painting?
Another beautiful angle shot of the Old Bridge with a nice Old Town backdrop. Wish you were here kind of thingy.
Back to the Old Town after a leisure stroll from the Philosophers’ Way.
Took a light refreshment at Nordsee as I couldn’t resist the hot snacks temptation. 😱
Fish nuggets and shrimps with wedges. Somehow, their wedges just amazes me as I am not a typical fan of wedges (I only love shoestring fries). 😉
Chilling out at Wiener Feinbäcker after strolling the streets of Altstadt.
Wow, this is damn power! I like the layer of cinnamon sugar on it.
With a good break, took a tram back to the apartment and settled for a quick dinner near it.
Catching a late dinner at Santa Lucia Ristorante Pizzeria.
Looks plain just with garlic, bird’s eye chilli, and parsley, but deliciously good and tasty. Wish I could do likewise.
Tomato, capsicum, mozzarella, salami, paprika and egg.
This meal is really value for money with a generous amount of food serving portion. I noticed most diners could not finish their food and had to bag home the remaining unconsumed portion. I am not spared either. 🤣
Whipping up a sunny breakfast for this morning.
In addition, I made myself another breakfast menu item, spaghetti aglio olio with ham & sausage using the leftover spaghetti from last night dinner. 🙂
A great meal to a great start of a cold icy morning at -3 degrees. 😱
A quiet, beautiful morning view taken from the balcony of the apartment.
Today will be my last day in Heidelberg before I head back to Frankfurt City tomorrow morning. I will spend the rest of the day doing café hopping, relaxing and exploring the Old Town of Heidelberg.
Start off the day at Cafe AM Römerkreis with a nice warm cuppa.
Thereafter, took a leisure 15 mins stroll to the start of Old Town.
You will arrive at Hauptstr, Altstadt main shopping street in Heidelberg and is also the longest shopping street in Europe that stretches about 1.6km from start to end.
There are 2 big shopping malls at the start of Altstadt where you can begin your shopping fun.
Look at the Commerzbank building landmark architecture. Isn’t it beautiful?
This is what the shopping street is like. You will see individual shops lining up on both sides of the street.
Look what I found? Remember Perkeo safeguarding the Big Barrel? This is now a defunct restaurant. 😔
Universitätsplatz is a public square located on Heidelberg’s main street that runs along the north side, which marks the course of the first city fortifications and runs through the west side. The east and south sides are bounded by the university building which give the square its name.
Hop over to Café Schafheutle next for a tea-time break.
It is a must to have a Blackforest cake while in Germany. Strictly no compromise. It is just so good and tastes different from the usual Blackforest cake that I have had.
A nice pot of Earl Grey Tea is what it takes for a good finish.