12 Hours in Frankfurt

Visiting a Christmas market in Germany has been on my travel bucket list for a long time. The history of the Christmas market can be traced back to Germany and therefore, they continue to have the best, most festive Christmas markets. Sure, other European countries have hopped on the wagon, but getting an authentic mug of hot gluhwein (mulled wine) and exploring various stalls of sausages, handicrafts, gingerbread, and ornaments is so much better in Germany.
My goal was to visit Nuremberg but to get there from Brussels was going to require a 6-hour train ride with a transfer in Frankfurt so I figured, why not spend a day in Frankfurt anyway? No offense to Frankfurt, but I thought it was a little dull; there isn't too much to do, even though bits of it are picturesque.

The train ride was 3 hours and it was a comfortable journey. I fell in love with the German train system (if you're ever going to be traveling via train in Germany, download the Deutsche Bahn app). It was efficient, there were constant updates on schedules, and they tell you what platform you will arrive on and what platform to hop to if you need to transfer. It's impossible to mess up.
There was a decent selection of hotels to choose from near the train station. I knew I wanted to stay close to the train because that's where I was arriving and that's where I'd be departing from before 7 in the morning. I won't like; I ended up choosing Hotel Hamburger HOF because of its name. But in addition to it having a name that I liked, the photos showed it being clean and modern and basic, which is really all I was looking for in a one night stay.

I enjoyed my room. It was cozy and comfortable and clean; the three required C's of any hotel stay.
This is the famous touristy site in Frankfurt with that tell-tale Bavarian architecture and visiting is compulsory any time of year, but especially at Christmas when a market takes over the square.
There are several crossings over the Main River, but this particular bridge is pedestrian only and offers some really lovely views of Frankfurt.
I considered crossing the river to check out this beautiful church but unfortunately, there was a needy (potentially homeless) man meandering the bridge, harassing people and I wasn't quite in the mood to navigate that. I really only ended up sticking around on the bridge to snap a handful of photos before I jogged back to Römerberg.
This gorgeous church, also known as Frankfurt Cathedral, was a pleasure to visit. It was so pretty and quiet and delicate.
The Strewwelpeter shop was probably my favorite thing in Frankfurt. I hadn't even bookmarked this spot; I just happened to stumble upon it and recognized it as the book Dwight Schrute reads from in the episode of The Office where it's 'take your kid to work day.'
After buying a few stickers and postcards from the Strewwelpeter shop, I ended up in search of something to eat at another Christmas market. First I wandered through Paulsplatz, trying to figure out what struck my fancy.
But eventually, I ended up at the main square, where the main Christmas market was being hosted and got some currywurst from this super popular sausage stand. I've had currywurst before, but this version was so much yummier. The sausage itself was so tender and delicious and stood out as some of the best sausage I've had, but the sauce was like a curry-flavored ketchup and was incredibly moreish.
After my meal, I ended up doing some shopping and bought a couple tiny jars of honey and a few other honey treats as souvenirs.
The weather was gorgeous but I was chilly so I got a mug of apfelwein. Apfelwein is what it sounds like: it's apple wine. Basically, it's hot apple cider and it totally hit the spot.

Most of the Christmas markets in Germany have a thematic mug every year and you have to provide a deposit when you purchase a libation. You can return the mug and receive a refund on the deposit.
I also ended up buying a spice, sumac to be specific (shoutout to Brad from Bon Appetit). I can never resist these spice stands whenever I encounter them.
After a few hours of walking around, I was tired, so I ended up going back to my hotel. On the way, I popped into a little bodega for a water bottle for my train ride the following morning. After a little rest, the sun had gone down, so I walked back to Römerberg to check it out at night. It was so much busier and bustling than it had been in the morning.
I had read that Frankfurt had the largest Korean ex-pat population in Europe so I decided that if I were going to try and get a Korean meal while I was on vacation, I should do it here.
I got my favorite dish to get in a Korean restaurant: dolsot bibimbap, which is like a "grain bowl" (sorry, but I had to put it in quotes because it's so dumb and it's a blatant ripoff of bibimbap) served in a hot stone pot so the rice gets crisp and delicious.
The next morning, before leaving, I was able to grab some of the free hotel breakfast, which was fantastic. The croissants they had were so good, I stole two more for my train ride.
Here's my video diary: