After many years of connecting through the Frankfurt FRA, I finally was able get out of the airport and see the city. From the window seat of the airplane, I caught my first glimpse of Frankfurt. The countryside is green, dotted with villages, and I could spot the Main river. All of this whet my appetite to explore the city.
Finally, the travel gods smiled on me. I booked a trip to Tunisia that included a 24 hour layover in Frankfurt! As I found out, Frankfurt is the perfect city for a layover because of its walkable city center and efficient train system. I was surprised at the amount of ground I was able to cover in a short time.
Here's what we were able to cover in a day:
Accommodations: Five Elements Hostel
First, we needed a centrally located comfortable place to stay and rest during our layover. We checked into the Five Elements Hostel which is conveniently situated near the Hauptbahnhof. Everything we saw in the city was walkable from this hostel.
Located only 3 train station stops and 15 minutes from the airport is the stylish and cozy 5 Elements Hostel. We booked a private room which came with a stunning top floor view of the city center:
Frankfurt is a modern city. It is nicknamed Mainhattan for its tall buildings and "Bankfurt" because of its banking industry. In fact, the European Central Bank is headquartered here. But don't let the buildings fool you - Frankfurt has plenty of historic and cultural sights.
We crossed the footbridge to the "new" old town, the recently renovated Altstadt.
House of the Golden Scales
While Frankfurt's skyline looks as cosmopolitan as Hong Kong or Manhattan, the city historically was known as having one of the most beautiful and largest Medieval old towns in Germany. In 1944, Frankfurt was bombed in a WW2 air raid, destroying 2,000 of the city's historic half timbered buildings. The DomRÃ¶mer Project is a building project that worked to restore and rebuild much of the city center to its historic Medieval design. Many of the buildings were recently unveiled in 2018.
Below is one of the most famous buildings, called the Goldene Waage, which was meticulously restored to its Medieval architecture using old photographs, blueprints, and expert craftsmanship.
âA few of the historic buildings in the old town survived the war relatively intact, including the medieval church, Old St. Nicholas, which is famous for its 47 bells.
To add a bit of culture to your layover trip, check out the StÃ¤del Museum, which has an impressive gallery of European art as well as a Picasso print exhibit on display through June. The museum also has a restaurant and free WiFi.
One of the best parts about visiting Germany is the food! Be sure to order the Frankfurters (of course!) and Apfelwein, which is a apple cider typical of the region. Another unique dish to the region is the Frankfurt Green Sauce, which is potatoes and eggs in an herb sauce that reminded me a blend of Peruvian Papa a la Huancaina in pesto sauce (aka. delicious).
I had wanted to travel to the Isles of Scilly since 2004, when I studied abroad at Cambridge University and I heard tales in local magazines about how wonderful the islands were and started to dream of going. Well-traveled colleagues also spoke of a group of islands off the Cornish coast with beaches like those of the Caribbean and life with a laidback, almost Mediterranean island vibe. Yet, I pondered whether the tales were accurate and was unfortunately not able to travel to the Isles of Scilly then.
I needed to see it for myself finally and made that dream come true, traveling through 3 of the 5 inhabited islands in 48 hours. I have now verified the tales. The Isles of Scilly are truly special.
For people like me, caught up in a frenetic pace filled with technology and a busy lifestyle, going to the Isles of Scilly was the perfect escape. It is welcoming, safe, and easy-going. You can unplug and unwind. When you go to the Isles of Scilly, you make your own experiences, and I want to share some of mine, and some of my thoughts, with you.
The Isles of Scilly offers freedom. Swap your daily commute for a boat trip. Step off the treadmill and step onto a rugged coast path. Ditch schedules and get lost in hedge-lined lanes that are not even on your map. Go sea swimming, trail running, kayaking, gig racing, cycling or horse riding.
First Impressions of the Isles of Scilly:
You simply have to smile when you arrive at a place where your every step is through picture-postcard villages bounded by sweeping green hills and along unspoiled coastline is filled with birdsong, surrounded by wildflowers erupting into a kaleidoscope of color and butterflies, and under big, blue skies. It is no wonder that every inch of the Isles of Scilly was declared an Area of Outstanding Beauty in 1975.
It is also an ancient land rich in mystery, heritage, and legend that stays with you long after you leave for home.
In terms of legend, the Isles of Scilly are the remains of the Lost Land of Lyonesse, to which King Arthurâs men retreated after their leaderâs last fatal battle. Archaeological remains found in burial mounds found all over the island show that the islands have been inhabited for at least 4,000 years. In fact, the islands have the greatest densities of archeological sites anywhere in Britain. The Phoenicians and Romans traveled to the islands, and later a famous abbey was centered on the island of Tresco.
The islands were the frontline of Englandâs defenses and were fortified during the late Elizabethan age, became a Royalist stronghold during the English Civil War, and were closely guarded during both World Wars. Later, UK Prime Minister Harold Wilson often elected to vacation on the islands and is buried beachside on St. Maryâs, perhaps because the Isles feature such a rich heritage, and deliver so many soul-lifting rewards.
Where else in the world- in a single day- can you sight a Bronze Age burial ground 3,000 years old, explore a ruined castle, run and swim across an entire island, sunset sail to another isle passing rare birdlife on the way, grab freshly caught lobster, and then stroll across a beach all to ourselves to enjoy the feast?
Sunshine and Island Life:
Despite the fact that tourism has become a big part of the islandsâ economy, this has not destroyed the importance of farming and fishing. This is because the islands are located at the end of the North Atlantic Drift and are gifted with a unique climate. Frosts and snows are rare, and the gloriously long summer features exceptional hours of sunlight, sometimes from around 6am until almost 10pm. We went in mid-June, which saw warm weather, and long light evenings as we explored secret coves, shimmering bays, and plummeting cliffs.
Outtakes of the food and adventures:
I want to warn you though, the islands have a few wineries, a brewery, a distillery, and a few pubs. These are not the sort of islands that feature theme parks or raucous nightclubs. Island activities focus on seeking peace and inspiration from clear blue water, golden sands, rugged heathland, wild flowers and dramatic rock formations. You would be hard pressed to breathe cleaner air, and at night you look up to unpolluted darkness and observe the magical Milky Way, planets, and stars in all their splendor.
Each island has its own unique personality, features and natural beauty, and each can be walked- top to toe- in just a few hours. Because the isles offer so much diverse and unique experiences, this may sound a touch daunting but have no fear- we have some special tips for you in terms of getting there and getting around!
It's time for Iceland part deux! Our first trip to Iceland was two years ago during the depths of winter. We've learned a lot from our first visit and decided to return in summer for a completely different perspective on the country. The entire country morphed from a winter wonderland of frozen glaciers and snowcapped volcanoes to a much more accessible land of running streams, wildflowers, and midnight sun.
On this trip, we experienced a new region of the country - Northern Iceland. It's a place that gives you a sense of wonder, mystery, and fear all at once. We embarked on a full day-trip adventure with Air Iceland Connect to see the volcanic landscapes and powerful waterfalls in Iceland's northern region.
We fly from Reykjavik to Akureyri, a 45-minute flight. Aboard the short flight, we were treated to the aerial views of Iceland, which give you a sense of the magnitude and vastness of the landscape. We also wrote in the onboard journals #mynorthadventure, which felt like signing an adventure guestbook. The domestic flight is via propeller plane and we took the morning flight at 7am with a return at 6pm.
We take a full day 10 hour guided tour that includes transportation.
Our first stop is the stunning waterfall of GoÃ°afoss a semi-circle waterfall with electric blue water from the glacier.
We travel to Lake MyvatnÂ´s unique nature and pseudo-craters, followed by the Dimmuborgir lava labyrinth which was created over 2,300 years ago.
Dimmuborgir is filled with archways, peaks, and caves all carved by mother nature. The dramatic structures are some of the most unique in the world.
Next, we reach a desolate landscape that looks like mars. Red sand covers the ground with not a spec of vegetation in sight. The air smells of sulfur gas (rotten eggs). As we walk across the landscape we notice bubbling mud pools and steaming fumaroles hissing and brewing from below the earth's surface. This bubbling area is known as Hverarond (aka Hverir), a geothermal area that is a sight to be seen and explored.
Now it's time for one of the main highlights, which we hear before we can see. The sound of plummeting water fills the atmosphere as we trek across a rugged wet terrain of boulders and basalt columns.
âFinally, we look below and realize we are on a cliff. Below us is Dettifoss, the most powerful waterfall in Europe. You might recognize it from the science fiction movie Prometheus.
Every 1 second, 500 cubic meters (of over 130K gallons) of water plummets to the edge. The river that flows to the waterfall's edge rushes and swirls forward. We were left breathless.
Next, we visit the volcanic wonderlands of Vatnajokull National Park, Jokulsargljufur canyon, Hljodaklettar (Echo cliffs), Asbyrgi a horse-shoe-shaped cliff formation.
âWe finish our tour in the quaint Husavik fishing town. Lastly, we head to Akureyri to fly back to Reykjavik! ââ
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We are two adventurous young professionals who turned our passion for travel into a blog to help others travel more.