Poster in coffee shop

Our trip to Eastern Europe was coming to an end. After Berlin we were to have 2 days in Frankfurt from where we would catch our plane for home.

We woke to our last day in Berlin to learn that, as it was 3 October, it was a public holiday, acknowledging the reunification of Germany in 1989, the day the Berlin Wall was dismantled. As a result virtually everything was closed, even our favourite Bistro, Coffee Fellows. This meant that it was rather difficult to find something for breakfast. We eventually found a small family bakery where we had a delicious piece of apple strudel and a cup of coffee.

Poster in coffee shopTrevor looks at a poster in the Bistro

We packed and checked out and took the local train back to Berlin’s main station where we caught the train to the town of Kassel. Originally we were to spend a night in Kassel but decided we would rather stay in Frankfurt for 2 nights. We spent a pleasant couple of hours walking around Kassel but it was very quiet due to the public holiday. We took a bus up to the Botanic Garden and admired the changing colours of the leaves from green to the beautiful Autumn colours of orange, pink and yellow. Otherwise there was little to see or learn about in Kassel so we returned to the station and caught the 15:15 train to Frankfurt.

 Avenue of trees

Avenue of trees in Autumn colours

Kassel hotelThe hotel where we would have stayed

Music SchoolKassel’s Music School

Kassel block seatsLovely seats at the transport hub

One of the things that I love about travelling is meeting new people and this we did on this train, a lovely young couple who were expecting their first baby in 6 months. He was a singer and composer and she a dancer. They had come from Los Angeles and now live in S. Germany. Being busy with conversation the 1.5hr train journey passed by very quickly. It was one of our most pleasant train journeys ever.

On arrival in Frankfurt we were thrilled to find that our hotel was right across the road from the station, just 500m away. For a change we had been given very accurate directions by the Tourist Information Centre on the station platform. The hotel was on a street lined with Turkish, Indian, Thai and UAE restaurants and shops. What a selection from which to choose to have supper. We found a Turkish one which was clean, friendly and served truly delicious food which was plentiful. On returning to the hotel we found that the requested extra pillow was a cushion and the extra sheet a duvet cover!! Having a shower added a bit more fun in that one of the 2 sliding doors did not close so there was water everywhere. Otherwise the hotel was clean and friendly.

As we had 2 full days to explore Frankfurt and its surrounds, we decided to go to the Hockenheim (car) Race Track on the 1st day. After a really excellent breakfast we took a train to Mannheim and then another to Hockenheim. This is one of the great advantages of having the Eurail Pass always able to take a train. The Hockenheim race track was a 3km walk from the station but it was one we enjoyed very much. It was a beautiful Autumn day and an easy walk including going through a beautiful park with an avenue of Chestnut trees. Ripe chestnuts were everywhere and falling to the ground regularly.

Clock TowerChurch and clock tower

Unusual fountainBucket fountain

Autumn coloursGorgeous Autumn colours

Hockenheim Chestnut treesAvenue of Chestnut Trees

Once again, we arrived at a track to find that there was a race on so were unable to take a tour of it but we had great fun in the car park as there were dozens of really super, duper cars to admire. What a collection! Porcshes. LambourghinisI, Ferraris and so many more. I didn’t know which to choose to drive home.

Another PorscheA Porsche

Hockenheim 2 carsA Lambo or a Ferrari? What a choice. 

A stand at the trackA stand at the track

Hockenheim entrance to the trackVehicular entrance

We retraced our steps to the station through the park and town, which is not exciting, and took a train back to Mannheim. Instead of going straight back to Frankfurt we decided to tour Mannheim and we were so glad that we did. It is a beautiful town with a most unusual water tower in a gorgeous park setting filled with flowers and fountains. We visited Mannheim Schloss which was built in the 18th Century in beautiful baroque style. Originally built for the Electors of Bavaria when Mannheim was made the capital, a part of it is now used by the University of Mannheim.

Fountain and Water Tower on Friedrichsplatz squareOne of the fountains with the Water Tower behind

Mannheim sheltered walkwayA creeper-covered walkway through the park

Filigree above entrance to castleFilligree design above entrance to the Schoss (Castle)

Karl FriedrighStatue of Karl Friederich – there is a gymnasium here in his name