FlixBus to Frankfurt

10 minute read

The second week of work has officially finished, and so has the first month of living in Germany. Time is flying by so far, it still feels like we only just arrived. Life has been really busy this week, most of my time has been taken up by work; but we made a trip to Frankfurt on the weekend! Read on for more…

Frankfurt

The weekend trip to Frankfurt started sub-optimally, with our FlixBus being delayed for 1 hour at first, then for 3, and then for 4. We ended up getting on the bus and leaving around 3 pm, when we were originally planning on a 10:25 am departure. Other than that, I really enjoyed the FlixBus ride, as there was plenty of room on the bus and free WiFi. The plus side of the long wait was that we got to explore the Stuttgart airport a little bit, which was actually super cool (the FlixBus bus stop was at the main airport bus stop). The airport itself was very well designed and pleasing to look at, and it felt good to not be rushing through it to catch a flight or anything like that.


Loving the symmetry of the Stuttgart airport

On an upper floor of the airport, near where I took the photo above, there were multiple airplane exhibits.


Old airplane engine and Eduardo

One of the planes on display

Another plane on display

Helicopter on display

Friday night, after we arrived, we roamed around Frankfurt for a little bit, and ended up back at our hostel later in the night. We stayed at the Frankfurt Hostel, and it was a pretty great experience. There was a free pasta dinner (provided you signed up at least an hour before), and a free breakfast in the morning as well! The beds and bathrooms were clean, and the staff were very professional.


Friendly vibes at the hostel

Main reception area, which is where the free dinner & breakfast are. There is also a bar off to the side

We spent most of Sunday walking around, and seeing what we could find. There was a lot to see and do in Frankfurt, way more than we could see and do in a single day, but we managed to find some interesting spots. One of the first things we walked towards was a mysterious tower whose purpose wasn’t clear to us.


Tower seen from fairly far away

Taken from the base of the tower

After arriving at the base of the tower, we saw there was a bunch of T-Mobile branding all around it, and a Google search confirmed that it’s used as a telecommunications tower. Unfortunately it’s not open to the public, so we couldn’t go up to the top.

During our walk to the tower, we also saw a very creative entrance to a subway. It was suggested by Google as one of the things that tourists should see in Frankfurt, and it was indeed impressive:


Entrance to the subway

Another view of the subway entrance

Just a block away from the subway entrance, there was a museum that piqued our interest. To be more specific, the t-rex wearing a t-shirt and the brontosaurus wearing a hard hat grabbed our attention:


Classiest t-rex I've ever seen

Tiny hat for a big dinosaur

The museum was awesome, and we didn’t even get to all of the exhibits. They had a massive collection of dinosaur bones, as well as hundreds of birds and mammals on display. There were also other little exhibits on things like geodes, Egyptian mummies, and the solar system. It only cost us €5 each to get in as students, and in my opinion it was well worth it.


A familiar looking bird

A pangolin

This one doesn't wear any t-shirts

Triceratops skeleton

An ichthyosaur skeleton

"Jesus Christ Marie, they're not rocks. They're minerals!"

My favorite display was the temporary bio-diversity exhibit. It showcases the diversity of life and geology on Earth, with one large cabinet full of all sorts of impressive specimens.


The bio-diversity exhibit

Another view

Another feature I was impressed with was the interactive touch display that they had set up. It showed a black and white representation of all the specimens, and when you tapped on one, specific information about the species was presented.


Interactive display for the bio-diversity exhibit

While walking to our train station later that afternoon, we were treated to some nice views of the Frankfurt skyline.


Frankfurt skyline

More of the Frankfurt skyline

Despite not having as much time in Frankfurt as we originally planned, it was still a really fun trip. Hopefully we can continue to explore other cities in Germany in the weeks to come!

German Tidbits

I’ve noticed several cultural differences between Canada and Germany so far, and thought I’d summarize some of the more interesting ones. I’m sure I’ll notice more as time goes on, so this is probably a topic that will be revisited.

Counting

When I want to count something on my fingers, my index finger starts as 1, and then my middle gets raised for 2, and so on until the pinky. Then finally the thumb gets raised when I get to 5.


How I'm used to counting on my fingers

However, this isn’t how it’s done in Germany. Like most things here, it’s done in a very logical and efficient way instead. You start with your thumb raised as 1, and then continue to raise your index for 2, and so on. For 4, I’ve seen people do it different ways, either including or excluding the thumb. This system makes more logical sense in my mind, but it’s difficult to get used to. When at the town hall in our first week here, I asked for two copies of something, but the clerk wasn’t sure what I meant, and I only realized afterwards it was probably partly due to the way I was holding my two fingers up to ask for two copies.


Logical German / European way to count

Pepperoni Pizza

When I think of a pepperoni pizza, I think of the following:


Canadian pepperoni pizza

However, this is not what a pepperoni pizza is in Germany. The word “peperoni” in German can translate to “peppers”, as in chili peppers. So when we went to order a pizza once, we almost accidentally ordered a pizza full of chili peppers. Luckily, the guy taking our order was observant enough to double check that we knew what we were ordering, and we instead ordered to a “salami” pizza, which is what we intended in the first place.

Hand Drying

The first time I saw one of these machines in a bathroom I was bamboozled. I think that I’ve figured it out now though, you pull out enough of the cloth to dry your hands, dry them, and then the machine will automatically retract the cloth into the machine. I assume it’s a fairly environmentally friendly option for drying your hands, producing less waste than paper towel and using less energy than a hand dryer? I’m not sure. Either way, it’s interesting.


A "roll cloth towel dispenser"

Keyboard

It makes sense that Germany would have a different keyboard layout than Canada, but the annoying part is actually that it’s mostly the same. The letters are in the same place, EXCEPT that z and y are switched. This is super annoying when I have to switch between my work computer and my personal computer, as I keep typing the wrong thing. I guess they do this because in German there are probably more letter z’s than y’s?


German keyboard layout

It’s also interesting that they have dedicated keys for the special characters on the right hand side. This means that some special characters are harder to find, for example the @ character is typed by holding the “alt gr” key in the bottom right of the keyboard, then typing the Q key. There are a few keys with three possible symbols on them, and using the “alt gr” key is how you type the third symbol.

Smoking

Smoking is a lot more common in Germany than in Canada, from what I’ve seen so far. They have vending machines in a lot of places that will dispense cigarettes, and it’s hard to walk down the street without passing someone who is smoking one.

Incredibles 2

Just wanted to throw this in here, a teaser for The Incredibles 2 has been released!!! I know at least one person who reads this blog who is going to be very excited for this…



Jazz Club in der Mitte

Friday night we went to an underground jazz club in Reutlingen. It’s a very chill spot, and just what we were looking for after a long week of work. The music was great, and the atmosphere is especially unique, as the whole place is in what appears to be an old wine cellar or something similar. The walls are all cobblestone, and it feels very cozy.


Underground jazz bar

Views from Bosch Sensortec

We don’t directly see it while we’re working, but the view from our floor at Bosch Sensortec is pretty great.


View from the fourth floor of BST

I also wanted to document what the Bosch cafeteria is like in the technology park. So far the food they’ve offered has been incredible, and as students we automatically get a discount, so they’re fairly affordable as well. The most economical option is their leftover section though, where as students we can usually get a full lunch for around €1.00 (and sometimes cheaper)!


Normal meal, not super cheap, but delicious

Running

Monday - Tried to run a loop instead of an out and back, and successfully did not get lost.

Tuesday - Rest. Long day at work.

Wednesday - Ran with a university running group again. There was a larger crowd this week (5 people in total) which was awesome.

Thursday - Easy run around a loop again, with a little extra around the park trail.

Friday - Kilometer repeat workout. I did 2 x (3 x 1k), with 2 minutes rest in between each kilometer, and 5 ish minutes between sets. The track I was running on is 1/3 of a kilometer which was extremely weird, but I got used to it.

Saturday - Travel and exploring Frankfurt.

Sunday - More exploring of Frankfurt.


Most of this post was written on my Chromebook while on a train from Frankfurt to Stuttgart. Hopefully that didn’t affect the quality, and I hope that all of you that made it this far still found it interesting!

Thanks for reading,

Jeremy