Traveling internationally always makes me realize the same sad fact: we rely so much on technology. Now, before you nod in agreement, scolding my younger generation, I’m not talking about texting and Facebook. I’m talking about the wireless data that my iPhone receives in order to make my Maps app function.
Imagine arriving in a new city, knowing you have to take a train to the city center, but you have no idea of stop names (not that you’d even be able to pronounce them to begin with…) or which train to get on. In that dilemma, I would use my handy public transportation app and plug in where I am and where I am going and it would tell me. Now, I could look at a physical map posted in the subway (but it’s in German??) but that would take quite a deal longer (am I at “Frankfurt au Main – HBF” or “Frankfurt au Main – Schleiden”??) and every minute counts during a layover.
The most difficult part of not having an interactive map is trying to follow directions. I knew I wanted to get to the GoetheHaus, but none of the street signs are in English (seriously, there’s more English in the Middle East) and I didn’t have a physical map. Luckily I am a control freak so I took screenshots of the interactive map from different angles so I could see all of the street names. There’s also a thing called the “cache” which is basically short term memory for your phone. I cached the area of Frankfurt I would be in at varying degrees of zoom so I would be able to use those maps today. Still difficult without the moving GPS dot, though!
Overall, my adventure was fun, but everyone was right – Frankfurt is a dull place. I saw the quaint, historical buildings, the GoetheHaus, and the HQ of DeutcheBank, but the highlight was the ongoing Christmas Market. There were booths set up all along the main pedestrian walkway selling food, chocolate, and candles. I got a bratwurst and a Bavarian beer. In retrospect, I should have gotten strudel, but it was still delicious!
I’m currently in the Frankfurt airport waiting for my flight to Bergen. After being miserable in two separate run down sections of the airport, I found a nice lounge with outlets AND reclining chairs. Much better than my uncomfortable flight from Toronto to here where the large Indian man in my row (the center seat was empty) decided to LAY DOWN across the two seats and put his head in the crook of my arm. I didn’t realize it until I woke up from my sleep but it was pretty awkward. I would never claim the center seat all for myself instead of sharing it with my row-mate. AND he snored the entire time! Hopefully my flight to Bergen will be better