Thursday, July 1, 2010

First day of Cosmos Tour

After a good night's sleep, I was ready to start the day in Frankfurt.

The breakfast at Excelsior is pretty good for the price of the hotel, it has both cold and hot items; it even has char-siew pau that morning! One juice that is common at all hotel breakfast is the multi-vitamin juice (actually mixed fruit juices) and this is my favorite drink in the morning.

The hotel exterior

First stop after breakfast was at the Hbf to check out the platform to take the train (S-bahn) to Friedrichdorf to check into Hotel Mercure there which is the joining hotel for the Cosmos Tour of Germany. I don't know why they chose this hotel which is 20km out of town and I can only guess that they can make a quick getaway to the highway or autobahn avoiding the early morning traffic jam out of Frankfurt.

Inside the Hbf.

Next was some video shooting before going into the city centre for some early morning shopping, the wife's favourite activity even on holiday! If you plan to use the public transport, the best deal is to get the group day ticket for 5 persons at 9.5 euro. A single one-way ticket costs 2.4 euro so if you make just two trips for two persons, it would cost 9.6 euro so the group ticket is a very good deal. It can be used the whole day on the train, bus and tram in Frankfurt so it is very convenient. One of the DB lady help me get this ticket from the ticket machine; you just push the right button and slot in your money.

The main shopping street is Zeil between the S-bahn stops Hauptwache and Konstablewache and the surrounding streets. I noticed that many people here are using bicycles and also walking with their dogs and this is generally the case in most parts of Germany that I visited. In fact you should be more wary of cyclist than motorist as they ride pretty fast and seems to have the right of way.

Shoppers at the Zeil

The old and the new

After checking out of Excelsior, we boarded the S-bahn to Friedrischdorf which is at the end of line 5 so no problem here. The only problem was that after getting down, I found that there was no escalator and had to struggle with my luggage going up and down the stairs to reach outside the station. Once there, it was just a 7 euro taxi ride to Hotel Mercure.

The tour director was already at the hotel and checking in was a breeze. The best thing about the hotel is there there is a big supermarket just behind and we did some shopping there for water and snacks. The first official activity of the tour is dinner at the hotel. Surprisingly, there was no formal introduction by each member of the tour so we just get to know our neighbours at the dining table. The reasons given later was there most of the members have just flown in at the morning and after a very long flight, most of them would just want to go to bed as soon as possible. Anyway, dinner was set dinner with no options and it was just so-so, probably the worst among those included in the tour and after dinner, most of us went straight back to the room for a much needed rest.

Germans love to celebrate. The hotel has sent up outdoor barbecue food and drink tents with some light entertainment since it is the beginning of summer and supposedly good weather. So there was a crowd enjoying themselves though it was still quite chilly. I did some videoing before I went to bed. Will upload to youtube later since my earlier video is taking ages to upload.

Outdoor fun at Hotel Mercure

Ronald Kwok

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