Frankfurt, Koblenz and the BUGA [Photo Reel]

This post is probably a couple of weeks overdue but since there's no expiry date on pictures I decided to take tonight to share some pictures from my October holiday with you. Out of all the places I could have chosen I went home (to Germany) to steal some cuddles from my dad (it was justified...I hadn't seen him in ages!), laugh with friends (whom I hadn't seen in ages either), overdose on coffee, eat sushi, bathe in an unusually warm (hot!) October sun and nurse a pesky cold because well that's just what you do when you go on get sick. 

I flew into Frankfurt am Main Airport after a 3am Dublin start, way too little coffee and sleep. It was freezing cold when I left Dublin and boiling hot when I arrived in Frankfurt. Despite German being my native language and knowing Frankfurt Airport like the back of my hand I got lost three times trying to find the regional train station and to add insult to the injury I also managed to get on a completely wrong train which resulted in my sister having to wait forever for me to show up to meet her (Please don't ever let me travel China on my own...if I can't even work out my native language I'll never work Chinese out!).

Anywho this is supposed to be a photo blog, so I'll just be quiet now and let the pictures do the talking. Though, let me just say that even though the Oktoberfest is a pretty famous thing in Germany, I didn't go (my friends did). Shockingly I've actually never been to a single Oktoberfest and I can't say I feel like I'm missing out...yes I'm strange. ;-)

4am send-off, Dublin, it was wet and cold! Brr.

5.30am breakfast, because that's how I roll.

That's what welcomed me in Frankfurt. I've never seen a bluer sky!

This street leads from the main train station straight into the city centre (about a 15 minute leisure stroll). Loads of shops, restaurants and bars as you wander along. I thought I was in Japan because we were forever surrounded by at least 10 Japanese people!
The 'Steigenberger Frankfurter Hof' (no I didn't stay there though I wish I had) is a fancy 130-year-old hotel that's like another world when you walk in. The restaurant and café is super-fancy and so is the lobby and all the shops that can be found downstairs. My dad used to 'wine' (drink coffee!) and dine there when he worked in Frankfurt.

As you can see, I didn't last long before I resorted to old habits.

Finding our way around a large (7 floors) German (!!!) department store proved to be an adventure for the only sign we could find was in English and Mandarin Chinese (!!!)

You'll find me in 美丽世界, they have just what I need!

7 floors up? A view of all of Frankfurt, almost as good as the Maintower (where the lift travels so fast that your ears pop!) but not quite as high

What to eat when in Germany? Well Thai of course!

The Frankfurt Cathedral, not quite as large as the Cologne Cathedral but far more impressive on the inside. If you fancy a bit of peace and quiet after a long day, head inside. It's pleasantly cool in there and a wonderful place to relax and recharge your batteries.

The Romans left this for us to admire and relax on ;-) Thank you!

I generally travel by fast train from Frankfurt to my hometown as it's only a little over an hour but even the fast train offers a beautiful view of the vineyards all along the River Rhine. You pass the Loreley on your way and little villages. There's plenty to see on the river itself also. The slower train takes double the time but you get to see even more. I've taken it plenty of times growing up so I go for the fast train only now.

'Welcome Home' was what my dad said and then there was this and coffee and I was in heaven...who on earth needs a beach and half naked men when you can have this?!

This beautiful monument (Historiensäule / Pillar of History) was given to my city (Koblenz) in 1992 (finished and unveiled in 2000) by our federal state Rhineland-Palatinate. It was a present to celebrate the 2000th birthday of our city and depicts 10 pictures from the time the Romans founded Koblenz (Confluencia) up until now. Check out this blog here for some beautiful pictures of my city. Children love to play at and in the fountain in the summer (and any other time too) and there are plenty of restaurants and bars surrounding the 'park'. It's a short walk away from the city theatre (built in the 1800s), the city castle, the regional court buildings, the river promenade, city centre and of course the old part of town. All that I listed as not more than 10 minutes walk (tops) away.

After a couple of days of amazing sunshine and 25+ degrees (Celsius) it turned cold!

Now that you've seen a few random pictures of Frankfurt and Koblenz, I'll take you on a little adventure (I hope it'll be one!). I went to visit the BUGA (biennual Federal horticulture show) and what with the harvest festival just around the corner and autumn nearing, the last few days of the show were especially beautiful. I'm a little disappointed at all the fantastic exhibitions I missed during spring and summer but my friends showed me some fantastic pictures so I'll live.

Koblenz spent well over a year preparing for the horticulture show which resulted in what felt like permanent roadworks all around the city. I didn't suffer all that much during my infrequent visits but my family and friends felt the brunt of the roadworks and seeing them annoyed blew my fuses on a few occasions when I did try to go some place and had to take endless detours. Nevertheless, the improvements that have been made all around the city are mostly amazing. There's loads more green and plenty of colourful flowers which I sincerely hope will stay as they aren't only a pleasure to look at but also give the city a much healthier feel as well as warmth. But now, without further ado, some pictures from the show...including commentary.

A field of all kinds of red and orange flowers in front of the Electoral Palace. Adjacent to this beautiful arrangement there was an arrangement of beautiful white autumn flowers.

Followed by a field of yellow flowers, looking fresh, full of life and very much invigorating.

The Electoral Palace itself, well a part of it anyway. What you can see is the main entrance. In front of the entrance is a large park and a second one can be reached by passing through the palace itself. The right and left wings of the palace are pretty impressive too, unfortunately a gate surrounds the front park of the palace so no matter where I stood, I couldn't get a full panorama picture without unwanted obtrusions in my photograph (yes I am a very picky photographer!)

The Ehrenbreitstein Fortress - there's only one way up, any other attempt to get up or down is suicide. There is (or was) however a tunnel leading underneath the river from the side of the Deutsches Eck (Kaiser Wilhelm II Monument) to a secret exit on the other side underneath the castle. If my history class memory serves me well then the actual tunnel no longer exists but the secret exit does but there's no connection to the fortress anymore either.

This fella seemed blissfully unaware that someone took the liberty to plant him in the wrong country.

A government building along the Rhine promenade. From the outside it looks a bit like a church and I promise you when the sky isn't such a manky grey soup it's even better to look at.

The River Rhine is a pretty powerful river and what with it stretching all the way from the Alps through all of Germany it brings floodwaters every spring and occasionally also randomly. These flood-waters cause severe damages to the villages and cities situated right along the banks of the river. I've seen some horrid flooding growing up in Koblenz with entire cellars and first floors under water. The foundations of many buildings rot away because of the wet and the aftermath leaves damages, dirt and more damage. The Pegelhaus along the river promenade measures the highest and lowest floods and as you can see in 1651 the river reached a record  high of well over three metres above it's usual level. The worst flooding I witnessed was December 1993 and if I remember correctly the water rose drastically overnight, pretty much surprising people in their sleep. You couldn't even go near the promenade, never mind the old part of city, and firemen were rowing through the streets of the old town getting people out of their houses and all sorts. I was just a little girl back then so I found the water amusing, years later when we wrote an exam about it in school and I researched all the damage I didn't find it all that amusing any more.

Just one of many natural stones that can be found in the four mountain ranges surrounding the Rheintal (rhine valley).

Anyone fancy a cable car ride?

This little path winds itself through a beautiful arrangement of all sorts of flowers

A little fella, busy at work.

Too beautiful

Some trees grow in odd places...

This metal men can be found in the flower garden by the Ludwig Museum which always has very interesting exhibitions. They feature a lot of photography exhibitions if I remember correctly.

Looking back while going up

The Deutsches Eck, most postcards from my city feature this or a similar photograph and I always wanted to have my own version. Now I do. What you can see is the River Mosel flowing into the River Rhine 

Can you say that again, please?

Could I fool you and tell you that I was in fact somewhere where banana trees and palms grow wherever it pleases them?

An arrangement of beautiful cacti...a plant I fail to manage to keep alive. My poor Potty died after 4 years. I still miss him and I can't bring myself to replace him.

There are some weird pumpkins in this world!

Anyone for some fresh salad?

Or peppers? They were yum!

I found this on the 'forest education path' - it made me burst out laughing.

The River Rhine contently flows on after making love (yes I did just say that!) with the River Mosel. You might be interested to know that the River Rhine is commonly referred to as 'Father Rhine' while the River Mosel is referred to as 'Mother Mosel' - you can even find a statue of the two of them in the palace gardens (not sure how well behaved they are on the statue though...)

Another amusing sketch from the 'forest education path' - I'll refrain from commenting 

Pumpkin soup anyone?

Who would have thought that there is such a thing as purple cauliflower?

An oriental, very gorgeous flower. She was surrounded by plenty of sisters and friends but she intrigued me the most.

Eat your veg - it's good for ya!

Those rose was an eye catcher!

I promise ya, on a clear day this view is magnificent!

I tried for another photo after it cleared a little but not much

Mr Kaiser Wilhelm II himself

And for the grand finish, just to show off the zoom on my camera from the fortress lookout ;-)