Arriving in Frankfurt (2019)

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Time for a little throwback to pre-pandemic times. Let’s revisit my last big trip before the pandemic basically sidelined all my travel plans for the past couple of years. Also, because of my 5 year hiatus as a regular blogger, I’ve totally not covered some of my travels over the past half-decade.

Back in November 2019, I was fortunate enough to find myself on a paid conference trip to Germany. When the chance came up, I jumped upon it. I was excited that I was going to be in Europe again. The other bonus was I would be attending a Hearing Well and Well-Being conference hosted by Phonak, one of the big six hearing aid manufacturers. I had been to a previous conference in Phoenix back in 2015 and it was a great learning experience.

Frankfurt - the view from above
Looking down on parts of Frankfurt from the hotel

The Flight

So back in the fall of 2019, I boarded on a Lufthansa direct flight from Vancouver to Frankfurt. It was a flight that leaves in the afternoon from Vancouver and arrives in the morning in Germany. The flight was just on the heels of a Lufthansa-wide cabin crew strike that grounded all of their flights for 48 hours. I was afraid that the strike would affect my flight. Luckily, my flight was later enough that the strike didn’t affect me, but I really feel for those who were severely inconvenienced at the time.

One thing about Lufthansa is that the seats are little narrower than some other airlines I’ve been on. One thing I clearly remember a few years later is the storage space under the seat in front of me. I was sitting in one of the two middle seats in the centre of the plane. My under-the-seat storage area was shared with my neighbour in the other middle seat. So every time I shifted my backpack, or took something out, things sometimes spilled onto my neighbour’s bag. So my big recommendation is to avoid the two middle seats in the centre of a long-haul Lufthansa flight, if you can.

So my big recommendation is to avoid the two middle seats in the centre of a long-haul Lufthansa flight.

The Hotel

Because of the conference, all delegates were put up in the Frankfurt Marriott Hotel in a distinctly hotel district of Frankfurt. Being a conference, Phonak needed a hotel that had adequate facilities to host hundreds of delegates and accommodate the conference sessions. So the Marriott it was. I’m not complaining. We also had a significant Canadian contingent at the conference which always makes me absurdly proud and happy.

Bohao Zhao, CC BY 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

The Marriott is one tall hotel. It’s actually an office building for the first. This is not your typical European architecture, but Frankfurt isn’t your typical European city either. A significant portion of the building is actually an office building and only part of it is the hotel. Could you imagine that whole building being the hotel.

Being high up above in the sky offered great views of the city in different directions. On the night I arrived, I snapped a quick photo outside the window and could see a familiar site for a Vancouverite – a high rise construction site – and the glowing Europaturm TV Tower in the background.

Frankfurt - Highrise construction
Frankfurt high rise construction

During the day, I could see the contrast of the smaller European buildings and the new tower going up in the foreground. Frankfurt is very different from other European cities because of these tall towers. The view north from the hotel didn’t offer much of a skyline, but if I looked south to the business district, you would almost think you were in a smaller scale Asian city. Frankfurt, is also the financial hub of Germany. The DAX (Deutscher Aktienindex), or German Stock Exchange, is based in Frankfurt. Other notable fact for present day Frankfurt in 2021 is that it is now the world’s most overheated real estate market. It outranks the likes of Toronto, Hong Kong, and Vancouver.

Frankfurt Skyline
Looking south from the Frankfurt Marriott Hotel

Next post on Frankfurt, I’ll talk about exploring the city with a nasty case of jet lag. I honestly hate flying eastward.

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