This trip came about because I got an email from Eurostar and just couldn’t help myself.
I got this email around September/October time and decided that I would head to Brussels and that I would want to go somewhere from there. I decided that I would head to Germany – and more precisely Aachen. The last time I visited was for a Christmas market. You can read that here.
I bought the tickets before the rota was finalised and it turns out that it was going to be a long day of work and travel. I finished work at 07:00 and was in a taxi heading to the station at 07:30.
I got the train to London and then headed to St Pancras for Eurostar. I managed to get a little bit of sleep on the train as I knew when it stopped that we would be in Brussels.
At Brussels, the layover was 3 hours – I always seem to give myself way too much time between transfers. I wish I hadn’t in this case. I was ready to be on the train. I couldn’t really sleep at the station and I got really, REALLY bored. I boarded the train for Aachen at 17:30 – I couldn’t sleep as I didn’t want to end up goodness-knows-where in the middle of Germany.
I got to the hostel and they told me of all these extra charges – this made me even more irritable. They didn’t provide the bed they said they would so I had to go complain again. I finally got the bed they promised and by this time I was way past sleep. Nevertheless I managed to finally fall asleep.
I had grand plans for exploring the city in daylight. Sadly, these plans didn’t come to fruition as I wasn’t feeling well. 113 hours work in 2 weeks does this to a person. I got up and left mid morning and headed for the bus.
I was a bit hesitant to use the bus as I wasn’t sure I would find where I need to go – thankfully they had electronic display boards on the bus so I could tell where I needed to get off.
The plan was to head to the store to pick up some Haribo and Kinder/Milka chocolate (I have a couple of friends who like this stuff so I HAD to oblige). I bought more than I had intended – easily done. I got to the checkout and after I was done realised I needed another bag. I then went back and got another bag. I was shouted at (presumably – who knows with Germans) in German and I tried to explain that I didn’t understand what they were saying with neither of us understanding the other. Luckily a colleague who spoke English was on hand and advised me that I was not allowed to go back into the store with merchandise that I had already purchased. I apologised.
I headed back to the bus with my loot in tow – it was HEAVY. My intention was to drop it at the hostel and go back out. It never worked out like this – I got back sporting a fever and had to sleep for the rest of the day as I was feeling really unwell. What a waste of a day 🙁
Today I decided I wanted to go to Frankfurt so bought some tickets a day before I left the UK. I bought the cheapest tickets I could find (I’m cheap like that) and the return train would have me back in Aachen at 01:30 the following morning. I decided that it probably wasn’t a good idea to get back so late as I had an early start to head back home. I had to shell out and buy a ticket that would get me back at 21:30 (for the pricey sum of €61).
I followed my usual pattern of getting tickets for the sightseeing bus and doing the rounds on this. They had 2 tours and I did them both.
I preferred to stay on the bus as it was really cold and a bit rainy – not the snow like the weather had promised.
Frankfurt is a very picturesque city – even in the horrible weather. The city is full of high rise buildings with fancy statues at the foot of them – almost like a status symbol.
One of the highlights was the stop by Römer. It is a picturesque market square with timber houses and the Alte Nikolaikirche. I found some souvenirs here and the church bells were playing as I was walking around (shame it was as they were taking down the Christmas tree)
I spent about an hour here and then headed to get some food before I jumped on the bus again.
I bought myself some Currywurst – by far the best of all the German sausages
Once back on the bus, I decided that I should get as far as the train station and go and get some food – as my timing is ALWAYS so awesome* (*very anal) I spent a couple of hours here before the train left. It was raining heavy at this point so I didn’t want to be out in it.
I finally headed to the platform and hopped on the train back to the station. I was looking forward to my chocolate buttons (£2.50 from M&S at St Pancras) and Sprite.
I got back to the hostel to new guests and an opened packet of buttons and missing Sprite. There were 3 buttons left and somebody had finished off my 1/3 bottle of Sprite. Somebody actually drunk out of the bottle after me (please pass me the sick bucket)
Some pictures from Frankfurt below
Today was the day to come home. I got up and left the hostel around 9:45 to check out for 10. I had 3 hours to kill so headed to get some breakfast from McDonald’s.
I sat inside for about an hour and then headed to the platform. As someone who loves trains – I enjoyed sitting on the platform. I then went for a wander after being bored on the platform.
I found the most awesome thing when I went to use the toilet. A toilet that self cleans. How awesome!
It finally came time to get on the train. I was so glad as I was sick of hobo-ing it with my suitcase and my loot. It was a chore to carry it round like this.
I got to Brussels and decided that I needed another case as I couldn’t do this all the way home. I got a bigger case and put everything in it.
You can view all my pics from this trip here