February 25, 2019

Not Just Airport - Frankfurt, Germany

Not Just Airport - Frankfurt, Germany

February 4th, 2019

Before <c't webdev>, I had a day to spare, so I decided to spend it in a place I stopped by a lot but only for a layover – Frankfurt, Germany. I wanted to see for myself what the city looks like outside of the airport.

Frankfurt

Upon arrival, I was somewhat tired – my flight was all right, but I had a hard time sleeping. However, when I got to my accommodation, I had to quickly come to my senses since my Airbnb host had a surprise up her sleeve.

Airbnb Lessons from Germany

Whenever  I travel, I prefer to stay at Airbnb so that I can get the feel of local living. That being said, I value my privacy when it comes to my living accommodations, so I try to choose “Entire place” as a type of Airbnb. In other words, I usually avoid living in a place with other people in the house. In Europe, I find the price difference between “Entire Place,” and “Room” usually is not that big, so I get to live by myself.

Unfortunately,  whenever I travel to Germany, I have a problem with hosts using the wrong house type in their listings. The host would mark a place as “Entire Place,” but it is just a room in a shared apartment.

The first time I had experienced something like this situation was in Dusseldorf last year. Few days before my trip, the host sent me a message you can  see below:

Fortunately, it was a few days ahead of my arrival, so I had a chance to cancel and find a new place to stay.

In this most recent trip to Frankfurt, I had only discovered that the place was an apartment shared with five other people.  To make it worse, the key that the host gave me was the same key for the apartment complex, for the apartment and my room. This lack of security is what concerns me the most when staying in the studio with other people (apart from hygiene and cleanliness concerns; hence, I always bring my flip-flops when travelling).

I  did not make a big deal out of it since I was only staying there for one night. However, I asked the host and Airbnb to make sure to update the listing for the future guests. Airbnb was kind enough even to reimburse me 50% of my stay there.

One Day in Frankfurt

One of the first things I get to see in most European cities is, you guessed it, a train station. Frankfurt’s station looked very spacious and clean (two great qualities for any station to have).

Despite the inside of the central station looking nice, the outside was not very welcoming. This feeling was mostly caused by an extensive construction happening around the station, blocking any attempts to cross the street without a long walk around.

After getting to my AirBnB and dropping off my things, I grabbed my phone and went on exploring the city.

I had a nice walk around Frankfurt but was slightly take off by a duality of the place.

On one side of the street, I had major banks, a local university, and lots of parks.

On the other side, I had a train station and a red light district that made even me uncomfortable when walking at night. From my experience, it is a common theme of many cities to try to avoid an area around the train station, so it was not a surprise for me.

Despite this small shady aspect of the experience, Frankfurt was a pleasant, short stay. I especially enjoyed the local parks.

I  was also pleasantly surprised to see a “road sign school” for cyclists. In these closed spaces, children get to learn about road signs and how to react when biking in the wild. I since encountered more of these  “schools” in other cities, and it gave me a glimpse in why cycling culture is so successful and integral for the European communities. They start small by learning the basics before biking on the road. I am surprised more countries do not follow suit since it makes so much sense when compared to a regular car driving.

Many cyclists end up biking on the same roads as the cars, and car drivers are required to learn the basics about the road signs, traffic lights and other rules before they get to drive on the road. However, when it comes to cyclists in many parts of the world, it is just assumed they will learn it by doing  (kinda like “learn it at a job”). While it can be great to learn from experience, in situations where your life depends on it (biking on the road is exactly that situation), it is best to learn and follow common rules and standards.