Cycling from Frankfurt to Mainz via Wiesbaden
Cycling from Germany's Financial Hub...
I am still not sure why I went to Frankfurt as the city is not somewhere that people would necessarily choose when deciding to go on a European short break. My previous visit to the city was for work reasons (like the majority of visitors) on my placement year whilst at university. It was also the city where my colleague sped down the Autobahn at 155 mph in an open-top Mercedes convertible, but that's another story!
Frankfurt is Germany's business capital, one of the main financial centres of the world and is currently vying with London to be Europe's main banking hub post-Brexit. Due to the concentrated number of skyscrapers in the city, Frankfurt is often referred to as 'Mainhattan' or 'Bankfurt'. As an observation, I did notice that London has had more new high rises go up in the ten years since my last visit a decade ago.
Ryanair to Frankfurt International...
After flying with Ryanair to Frankfurt International as opposed to their famously distant Frankfurt-Hahn base from Manchester, I was firstly pleased to see that my flight was not one of those affected by the spate of cancellations on the Ryanair network but later was not surprised to see that the plane parked up on the furthest possible point away from the terminal.
The gate transfer bus took around 15 minutes to drive around the airport perimeter to the terminal. We might as well have landed at the military airport in Wiesbaden!
I can't imagine Lufthansa is too happy with Ryanair flying daily to their main German hub and offering £15 fares compared to the £150 charged by the incumbent. That said, longer transfer times to a cheaper landing spot is a small price to pay compared to paying a small fortune for a flight.
I stayed at the national 'DJH' youth hostel on the River Main for the bargain price of €24 per night and for a central location in a business city, this was great value. I hadn't done much research about the area and was pleased to see that the suburb where the hostel was located - Sachsenhausen was a lively area with plenty of local bars, supermarkets and places to eat, yet very close to Central Frankfurt just over the bridge.
Breaking unofficial hostel rules...
Annoyingly, the hostel was quite noisy and my first night was spent in the company of two Koreans travelling around Europe who left very early to catch a train and a slightly odd chap travelling around Europe selling mobile phone accessories. Both annoyingly broke the unwritten hostel rule of not loudly rustling plastic bags when other people are sleeping in dorm rooms!
The next day, I hired a bike from a local company called 'Frankfurt Bike Tours' close to the hostel and paid €19 for day hire of a hybrid touring bike. I was pleased by the quality of the rental bike and the sturdiness of the frame, excellent gearing and comfortable riding position.
My plan was fairly simple. I was going to follow the Main Radweg along the river for much of the way before stopping off at the spa town of Wiesbaden before ending the day in Mainz on the River Rhine. Ending here was symbolic as I was only riding along the Rhine Cycle Path a few weeks ago meandering through Alsace and Switzerland!
One thing that struck me as I set off from Frankfurt early in the morning was just how peaceful the city seemed. Despite being a Tuesday, only a couple of days after the German elections and a major hub of commerce, Frankfurt was calm, relaxed and orderly compared to the bustling city of London or Canary Wharf. I started cycling from the hostel, took some photos of the impressive skyline and rode out to Germany's largest city forest called the 'Stadtwald'.
Commerzbank Arena and Eintracht Frankfurt...