Now for a blog post not about my general life here in Frankfurt, but more about the things I’ve noticed here that I’d like to share. Some things are purely “this is weird/funny/different/cool/annoying, isn’t it?”, and others a more “please tell me why this is”. I’ve been compiling this list over the past week, so I’m sorry if it all seems a bit sporadic.
Whilst compiling the list I also had other German cities in mind, particularly Hannover (of course), so it may well be that Hannover is in fact the one that’s the odd one out and that Frankfurt is like any other German city. Let’s just see! Comments are welcome about any of the points.
- Let’s start with the obvious ones. There are men in suits everywhere! I walk past loads in the morning, and feel quite underdressed in my T-shirt and shorts on the underground. Frankfurt definitely does have the business/bank-y feel to it. I guess the skyscraper bank buildings also help with that.
- Pretty much no matter where you look, there’ll be an airplane in the sky. Every time I’m in my kitchen, if I look outside I can see a plane slowly going down to land. In fact, I’m going to test that right now … Yep, there is a plane going in to land, just as expected! It’s not surprising though, with Frankfurt International Airport being the third busiest in Europe (behind London Heathrow and Paris Charles de Gaulle, if you’re interested!).
- Moving on to the less obvious, I’ve actually interestingly noticed less people smoking here. I definitely noticed when I returned to England last year that a lot less people smoke, but I’m not noticing a huge increase again here in Frankfurt. I definitely remember noticing it more in Hannover. Then again, that might be because I’m expecting it so just overlook it, I’m not sure. Just an interesting point anyway!
- One of the most annoying things I’ve noticed – why on Earth do supermarkets near me NOT have shopping baskets and only trollies? Why can I not just pick up a basket to pick up a few things? People seem to use boxes from products on the shelves when they’re empty and walk around carrying those. I just wuss out and try and carry everything in my hands, which never ends well (nearly dropped things everywhere a good few times). But then, in the REWE right next to my work, they have baskets? Admittedly it’s only two supermarkets (namely the Netto and the Lidl near to my flat) that don’t have baskets that I’ve been to so far, but it is still annoying and if anybody has an answer to this I’d love to know. They definitely had them in Hannover… but then I did shop at REWE? Ahh, I don’t know!
- There are way more people here who dare to cross at the red man. It was severely looked down upon in Hannover, but here it’s as if I’m actually still in England when it comes to crossing the road.
- It makes me laugh that some of the announcements on public transport take ages, especially on the tram when you’re coming up to the central station. The announcement decides to tell you every single possible change you can do at the upcoming stop (including bus numbers, tram numbers, underground numbers…), and then decides to tell you every single thing again in English. I haven’t made the trip many times, but when I’ve caught the train to the central station and got off, the announcement is still going on telling me what I can change to in English whilst I get off and walk off! I noticed it today, too, on the underground when it came up to the ‘Hauptwache’, which is kind of the central stop in Frankfurt.
- Frankfurt is SO MUCH MORE EXPENSIVE FOR ACCOMMODATION. An obvious one. I’ve been told that Frankfurt is the second most expensive city in Germany, behind Munich, and boy, you can tell. You could find nice flats in Hannover for 200-300€ (I swear my flat was about 250€ a month, and it was extremely nice!). Here, I’ve had to set WG-Gesucht (the flat-hunting website) to search for flats with a maximum rent of 500€ a month rather than my expected 300€, otherwise I just get low amount of results of not-so-decent flats in bad locations. I guess this year won’t be a “let’s earn money” year. But I’m in Germany so who cares?
- There are stations plopped absolutely everywhere over the city. Whether bus stop, underground station, tram station or train station, there is one nearby. It’s absolutely fantastic – it makes getting around the city a lot easier (though the city itself isn’t actually that big anyway!).
Those are the 8 main differences I’ve noticed so far comparing Frankfurt to my experiences of other German cities (obviously mainly Hannover). Particularly with the basket thing – if anybody could clear that up, that would be great. It might just be that that’s normal for Lidl and Netto (though I distinctly remember there being piles and piles of baskets in the Lidl in Hannover Hauptbahnhof… maybe that was an exception!).
So far I’m really enjoying Frankfurt and am slowly learning my way around the city. Here’s to the second week! And here’s also a nice photo of the Frankfurter Rathaus (town hall). Surprisingly a lot nicer than I expected, sat in the Old Town of Frankfurt!