This week, we’re in Frankfurt, Germany! I’ve teamed up with Molly from Frankfurt to bring you the similarities and the differences between living in Alicante, Spain and Frankfurt, Germany.
Don’t forget to read Molly’s blog to get all of the information about how Molly’s day went!
Similarly to last time, I head off to Leicester, UK again, via Birmingham! I guess this one is a four-way comparison?! Talk about going above and beyond, hey? Read all about our just-in-time journey and Christmas events over in the UK.
Saturday 8th December 2018:
I awake before my alarm. I always do. It’s like my body is too afraid of sleeping past an alarm that might not go off. Yet, the alarm hasn’t let us down before. It’s 3a.m, I could’ve slept for another hour, it’s still dark out and there’s not a stir to be heard.
I get up and do some cleaning of the apartment. It’s weird Rio not being in the apartment. It’s scarily quiet. Walking around the apartment without my shadow following me is something I don’t like. I miss my little friend.
Last night, we headed up to the Orcheta festivals. With refillable wine for 3€ (up to 3 times) and a lovely wine glass to keep, all whilst wandering around the Christmas market and spending time in the plaza looking up at the beautifully simplistic Christmas tree. It’s positioned just in front of the church, which gives radiates a lovely Christmassy feel. It was colder than down by the sea up there, it felt like Christmas.
I start to do some last minute packing and sync my playlist ready for the plane.
We head off to the airport, the start of a just-in-time journey. Without leaving a lot of spare time, we headed off. Alex decided he didn’t need a sat nav for a journey to an airport he’s unfamiliar with and decided to take the, well, scenic route. Without going through the tolls it takes much longer to the airport. We were already late.
A missed turn and wrong junction into Elche later, we arrive at the airport. I dash out and check the case in whilst Alex parks the car. It’s all rush. The board saying 10 minutes to boarding, yet I’m standing in a queue at bag drop with Alex nowhere in sight. I was convinced we wouldn’t make it.
Luckily, customs wasn’t too bad and I got through. Arriving in the departure lounge as the plane was boarding. I had seen Alex quite a way behind me in the customs queue. We should just make it.
He joins me a little later in the queue and we’re straight on the plane. No time for a Starbucks or a sit-down today.
After a 2 hour and 10-minute journey, we land at Birmingham International Airport. Being the front of the plane, we were off and through quickly. The case was already on the carousel by the time we made it off the plane and through customs 15 minutes later.
Connecting Birmingham Airport with the train station is a quick, free and regular shuttle. We headed on it to get our train tickets to Birmingham New Street. It’s Christmas Market time!
For just over £3 each, we had a single ticket to Birmingham New Street. Taking around 20 minutes, we arrived into the big city of Birmingham. Ready to embrace Christmas at the market and do a spot of shopping at the Bullring.
The Christmas market was empty and relaxing at 9:30a.m, with the stalls just starting to set up. I can’t imagine it’s the same midday or late at night. We were able to wander around at our leisure and take photos with barely anybody in the vicinity.
The Bullring was also lovely and quiet at this time of the day. The miles of railings that queue people up for the escalator were deserted and the queues at the checkouts were non-existent. It meant we were in and out within half an hour. Picking up a few pieces from the Body Shop sale and the Boux Avenue sale.
We stopped for a hot chocolate at the Christmas market, keeping the Christmas mug as a souvenir before heading off for the train to Leicester.
Heading into Leicester to then head back out again, to stop at a train station you’ve already passed but didn’t stop at is more annoying than I can actually write. How can you ride through the station and not stop? But then, on the way back, on the same train, stop? Just let me off the train as you’re passing through? They’d stop the train in Spain if you were passing through and pressed the button…
Marley was happy as ever as we arrived. Wanting to give all of the cuddles. He gets so happy when we’re back.
We prepared for the Christmas party in the evening, stopping by the local town centre to pick up some snacks and DVD’s for at home, and picking up car parts for the car. It’s funny to say we’ve got a car. I’m not used to it yet.
The rain poured. Torrential rain came battering down as we ran through the high street to get back to the car and back home.
My mum had prepared a banquet of food laid out in the kitchen and the conservatory, along with contributions from everyone at the party. Sandwiches, Cuban Rice, Pulled Pork, Samosas, Thai Spring Rolls, Crisps, Profiteroles, Cakes and Biscuits. There was so much food!
We had a lovely, but tiring evening with everybody who came. Feeling exhausted, after being up for 24 hours. It was time for bed.
Similarities and Differences
Frankfurt is a central German city renowned for its big business, bustling banks and tremendous trade shows on one side and the captivating culture and general cosiness on the other. Although a huge contrast between two parts, the big metropolis of Frankfurt has something for everyone, fairly similar to Alicante.
When I think of Germany at this time of year, I think of the Christmas markets. It was lovely yet highly coincidental that we headed to the German Christmas market in Birmingham on the same day as Molly would be documenting her life in Frankfurt, and hopefully hitting up one of the Frankfurt markets. In terms of visitors and size, the Frankfurt Christmas market is one of the biggest Christmas markets across Germany. With elaborate stalls and creative decorations, paired with the trimmed up St Paul’s Square and the towering tree, it makes it a beautiful place and one I hope to visit.
In Frankfurt, all shops and stores are closed on Sundays and public holidays. This is similar to what they have recently brought in to Alicante. Although, most shops, especially in the old town and during the summer months open on a Sunday.
Whilst at the Christmas market, I didn’t try any of the German delicacies that were on offer, opting only for a hot chocolate, as it was so early in the morning. The German cuisine is one that I haven’t had many dealings with, other than being impartial to the odd Frankfurter sausage and the German pizza that I tried in Leicester: in the Rutland and Derby.
Interestingly, the Frankfurter Würstchen are only used for sausages that are produced in the greater Frankfurter region, those produced outside of Frankfurt are known as Nach Frankfurter Art, which means “made like the Frankfurters, but no in the Frankfurter Area”.
As of 2016, the population of Frankfurt was a staggering 736,414, compared to that in the Alicante region of 330,525. There are over double the number of people in Frankfurt, which just shows how bustling the city must be. Whilst I was researching the statistics of the tourism in Frankfurt, it was interesting to see that the rise of tourists heading to Frankfurt has not only increased dramatically since the past year but also over the past months. I can only imagine that number will continue to incline now the Christmas market is well underway. In 2017, 217, 539 people from the UK stayed overnight in Frankfurt, whereas in 2018 so far, 247,208 people from the UK have stayed overnight. It just goes to show that it’s steadily increasing and one to watch for a future trip away.
Frankfurt Airport is a major international hub located in Frankfurt. It’s the fifth-largest in Germany and one of the world’s leading financial centres. Operated by Fraport and the main hub for Lufthansa, it’s a very busy and financially solid airport. On average, there are 1,365 flights per day departing and arriving into Frankfurt compared to only 347 flights each day to and from Alicante. It’s a staggering difference.
Next time, we’ll be comparing the similarities and differences between living in Alicante, Spain and Seoul, South Korea.
Want to know all about life in Seoul? Well, stay tuned because next time, I’ll be teaming up with Amaris to bring you A Day in the Life in South Korea compared to Alicante, Spain.
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