Day 6, Part 1 – Frankfurt – Köln

October 12, 2013.

I actually waited for this day because we had bought a family ticket to Köln by train. Guess how much we paid for the family ticket? €44! Can you believe that? Yes, but that was for the slower train, not ICE high-speed train. We checked three days earlier that for a family of 4, ICE fare would cost us €138 but we did not buy because we were afraid that we might want to go somewhere else; Berlin perhaps. Few days later we decided to go to Köln and went to Deutsche Bahn counter to purchase ICE ticket but little did we know that the later we buy, the more we have to pay. It would cost us €368! We were not willing to spend that much so we asked for cheaper ticket. So yes, we bought the €44 ticket. We were not rushing anywhere and I thought it would be nice to capture some photos along the way. I don’t think we would be able to do that if we were to take ICE high-speed train.

DBticketsOur ticket.

Like previous days, we took the train from Offenbach OST to Am Main Hauptbahnhof. We were 10 minutes late and ran as fast as we could to catch the train to Köln. We knew for a fact that the trains in Europe are very punctual. Lucky the train was still there. Perhaps they have a grace period of 30 minutes or so because we waited about 20 minutes in the train before it departed.

train-from-FBfIn the train; still at Frankfurt Am Main Hauptbahnhof.

So, our train route: Bahnhof-Siegen | Siegen -Köln Hbf.  And for my own record, here are the stations that we passed by from Frankfurt Hbf: Galluswarte – Messe – Frankfurt West – F-Eschersheim – F-Frankfurter Berg – F-Berkersheim -BadVibel Sud – Bad Vilbel – Dortelweil – Groß Karben – Okarben – Nieder-Wollstadt – Bruchenbrücken – Bad Nauheim – Ostheim – Butzbach – Kirch-Gons – Langgons – Großen-Linden – Wz-Dutenhofen – Gießen – Wetzlar – Asslar – Werdorf – Ehringshausen – Katzenfurt – Edingen – Sinn – Herborn – Burg Nord – Niederscheld Sud – Dillenburg.

BahnhofWestFrankfurt West.

Bad-VilbelA farmhouse in Bad Vilbel.

Dortelweil - Gross-KarbenSomewhere between Dortelweil and Groß Karben.

OkarbenSomewhere in Okarben.

Bad NauheimA house in Bad Nauheim.


GiessenGießen station.

Giessen2Somewhere between Gießen and Wetzlar.

WetzlarHouses in Wetzlar.

DillenburgDillenburg station.

And Dillenburg was the last stop of the train. Wait! We thought we would be taken straight to Siegen? Well that was not our case. Remember that we were 10 minutes late? We figured that the train that went straight to Siegen had departed on time. The train we took was to Dillenburg. We were a bit panicking but nonetheless, we guessed that we can just take the next train to Siegen.

And so we did. We took another train (more like a bus train; shorter and seatings like a bus) from Siegen to Dillenburg. This was the route: Dillenburg – Sechshelden – Haiger – Rodenbach – Dillbrecht – Rudersdorf (Siegen) – Siegen.

redleavesviewViews along the way.


And from Siegen, we took another train at platform 54 to Köln. These were the stations that we passed by: Eiserfeld – Niederschelden Nord – Niederschelden – Mudersbach – Brachbach – Freusburg Siedlung – Kirchen – Betzdorf – Scheuerfeld – Niederhövels – Wissen – Etzbach – Au – Rosbach – Schladern – Dattenfeld – Herchen – Eitorf – Merten – Blankenberg – Hennef im Siegbogen – Siegburg/Bonn – Troisdorf – Spich – Porz-Wahn – Porz(Rhein) – Köln Steinstraße – Köln Airport-Businesspark – Köln Trimbornstr – Köln Messe – Köln Hbf.

The trains practically stopped at every stations. Took us about 4 hours to reach Köln. OK, that was tiring!  I slept all the way from Siegen to Köln Steinstraße. But I did snap a photo of the train route in the train after I woke up. I gotta keep a record.

Finally, Köln, aku datang!

KolnKöln Hauptbahnhof.

Köln was colder than Frankfurt. 7°C! I was freezing because my jacket was not thick enough. I had my gloves on all the time to keep me warmer. Azmi and his dad seemed ok with the temperature but Yassin was just like me, lucky he got thicker jacket.

End of part 1. Part 2 will be about Köln Old Town. Stay tuned!


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Day 5 – Friday’s prayer at Konstablerwache

October 11, 2013.

It was raining the whole day but since it was Friday, the boys and their dad braved the rain to find a mosque to perform Friday’s prayer. My husband did his homework and found Zakariya Mosque situated at Moroccan Association for Culture and Communication, Albusstraße 18, Konstablerwache, down-town Frankfurt. They took the train from Offenbach OST to reach Konstablerwache station, about 8 stations away.

Zakaria MosqueIt is not really a mosque but big enough to let the nearby Muslim community perform prayers.

Konstablerwache is a central square in the centre of Frankfurt am Main and part of its pedestrian zone. It lies to the east of Hauptwache with both squares linked by the Zeil, the central shopping area of the city.

The name Konstablerwache, (constable watch-house) comes from the period when the building was used as an armoury; the term constable was then used in Frankfurt for a military rank in the artillery. In 1833, it was at the centre of an attempted revolution when revolutionary students attacked and attempted to loot it and the main watch-house (Hauptwache). In contrast to Hauptwache, Konstablerwache was demolished in 1886 and replaced by commercial buildings.


After prayer, the boys were hungry and later went to get halal burger at Palmen Grill, Klingerstraße not far from the community center. Yassin forgot to bring his jacket and his dad had to buy him a new jacket at Rossmannn Drogeriemarkt also on the same street. It is actually a drugstore but they sell quite a lot of stuff including jackets. €15, bolehlah.

And that was it really for Day 5, not much activity. They later went to get me at the Frankfurt Am Main hauptbahnhof and we later went to have dinner at Thai Fun, Elbestraße and later bought ticket to Köln.


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Day 4 – Main Tower/Zeil

While  I was at the book fair, the boys decided to go to Main tower with their dad. They went out in the afternoon because it was heavily raining in the morning.


Main Tower is a 56-storey, 200 m (656 ft) skyscraper in the Innenstadt district of Frankfurt, Germany. If the antenna spire is included, the building stands at 240 m (787 ft). The structure was built between 1996 and 1999, and the tower’s design features what appears to be two connected towers. The smaller of the two is of a cuboid shape and a design common to 1970s architecture. The second and taller of the two towers is a circular tower with an entire blue glass exterior which features the transmission tower on top.

Named after the nearby Main river, the tower has five underground floors and two public viewing platforms. It is the only skyscraper in Frankfurt with a public viewing observatory. It is the 4th tallest building in Frankfurt and the 4th tallest in Germany, tied with Tower 185.

Here are some pictures of my family taken on top of the building:


frankfurtcityazmiyassinstegyassinabahThey went for a late lunch after that and waited for me at the Frankfurt Am Main Hauptbanhof. We later went shopping at Hauptwache and Zeil.


Zeil is a popular shopping mile where most well-known department store chains are to be found, but also where a host of specialised shops offer an extensive range of goods. There’s Zeilgalerie and Frankfurt Hoch 4. There are also cafes, snack bars and restaurants here.

MeatzeilZeilgalerie with a hole behind me.

We were all very tired and decided to go home by taking a train at Hauptwache Station. On  the way there, we were stopped by a ‘policeman’. He was not wearing a uniform at all. He flashed his so-called police ID card (looked more like ID card) very quickly and asked everyone of us to open our wallet and show him our money. I was like ‘oh, are we going to be robbed!’. I was panicking but my husband and sons were very calm. We followed what he wanted us to do; show our wallets. There were not much cash, so he let us go! Before we leave, he shook my husband’s hand and pat his back. Gila. Entah apa-apa. And later he said, ‘”take care.”

Phew! That was very close. I had my own plan in my mind; scream as loud as I could if we got robbed.

It was a mind-boggling experience. We had came across many policemen around town and none, none of them stopped us and asked us to show our wallets. I am sure my family and I had the same thoughts in our heads during our journey back to Offenbach; who was the man? Was he really a policeman? Was he just a crazy man who wanted to be a policeman? Was he a concerned citizen who wants to know if we have enough money in our wallet? Was he a street robber? Was he? Was he?

Braving the temperature of 4°C was enough to freeze our thoughts of what had happened and the questions were soon subsiding. In my head during the walk; heater and nasi impit & sambal ikan bilis. I was very sure the boys too.

neighbourhoodThe neighbourhood of the place we stayed in Offenbach.


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Day 3, Part 2 – Frankfurt Zoo

So the boys went to the Zoo! Right before that they had lunch at Vira Vira Restaurant, a Turkey fish house at Hanauer Landstraße, Frankfurt.



After lunch, they went straight to the zoo at Bernhard-Grzimek-Allee 1 , about some 4 kilometer from the fish house. Since they had the super-saving card with them, the entrance fee was at 50% discount which is €5 (normal €10) and children €2.50 (normal €5).


Frankfurt Zoological Garden is a green oasis in the middle of the thriving Main metropolis and it features over 4,500 animals on approximately 13 hectares land. The zoo was founded in 1858 and is the second oldest Zoo in Germany. It lies in the eastern part of the Innenstadt (inner city). Bernhard Grzimek was the director of the zoo after World War II from 1945 until 1974 (thus the name of the road).


One of the attractions of the Frankfurt Zoo, the Europe’s largest home for nocturnal animals, Grzimek building, is also named after the director. In this building, Yassin and Azmi watched nocturnal animals while they go about their routines.


Another area they visited was Cat Jungle, where they saw lions and Sumatran tigers. Animal here are placed behind moats or panes of glass instead of bars.


Later they visited, the Exotarium where they saw species diversity from the North Sea to the Amazon such as penguins, fresh and saltwater fish, reptiles, amphibians and insects live in their natural surroundings.


They also visited Borgori Forest, a completely new type of building for primates. As the name suggests, nature is brought into the building in the form of many trees, bushes, rocks and natural soil, so both people and animals feel as if they are in the jungle.


The zoo features many other animal houses, such as bird halls with a free-flight enclosure.


Yassin also got to play ‘monkey’ at a playground in the area and befriended local kids.


They were almost finishing another quarter of the zoo when it rained. They had to find a shelter from the rain. Since it was around 5pm, they walked in the rain to the nearest train station, Frankfurt (Main) Ostendstraße?, which is about -0.5km from the Zoo. They later met me at the main station and we went for dinner together.




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Day 3, Part 1 – Frankfurt Buchmesse

Frankfurt, October 9th, 2013.

Day 3 was the day for me to attend Frankfurt Buchmesse. I had to carry a big rolling luggage (approximately having a weight of 30kg) full of books along with my backpack. I could not imagine myself pulling the bag for 0.8 kilometre  to the train station, pull it up the steps, pull it on the train, pull it out of the train, pull it up the escalator and pull it for a walk for about 0.7 kilometre to the book fair hall… so, I took a cab. My husband helped me pull it to the taxi stand. Cost me €30 from Offenbach to Messehalle. And the real pulling job was done right from the book fair ground entrance to Malaysia Pavilion at Hall 5 for about half a kilometre. Boy, it was really heavy! I could really felt it on my wrists! I use both hands alternately.

Anyway, soon as I reached Malaysia Pavilion at Hall 5, I arranged my books. I was the only one who had an empty shelf. Others had done arranging a day before.

I didn’t know what to do because it was my first experience taking a booth, so as it was the first day, I just watched how Linda my agent made conversation while introducing books. Most of the publishers who came had made appointments with her before the fair started so they practically narrowed down books they wanted, came to see the books and made verbal agreement. It was smooth! But I know my agent had worked hard on her side also. She sent lists of books and synopsis to publishers and invited them to come over to our booths to have a look at the books.

bookfairA publisher from Taiwan interested in my Lil’ Guardians.

lindaLinda showing my ABC Coloring Book to a publisher.

Yep, the first day went smoothly and so did the rest of the days I attended the bookfair. I met publishers from around the world, talked to them and gave some goodies I made and brought from home. I even stood on the aisle (With Mariah Tio, Linda’s assistant during the fair) giving away some of my postcards and bookmarks just to promote my works. To view more photos, do visit my Frankfurt Bookfair 2013 album on Facebook.

Wondering what were the boys doing? Stay tuned for Day 3, Part 2.




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Day 2 – Around Frankfurt

Frankfurt, October 8th, 2013

The boys were hungry and they wanted rice, so off we went to Frankfurt city taking the train from Offenbach OST to Frankfurt Hauptbahnhof. Paid €15 for the fare. We had Arabic rice at Al Rafedain Restaurant, Baseler Straße 15, Frankfurt. It is near to the hotel I stayed last year.

alrafedainDuring lunch, I read the Frankfurt City Guide that I bought from Frankfurt Hauptbahnhof earlier on. On the last page, I read about super-saver card. We could actually buy a group ticket for €28! What a saver. And there we were already spending €45 for one and a half day. Bummer. We later got to the hauptbanhof (station) and went strait to the tourist info counter and bought the super-saver card.


The super-saver card includes unlimited use of public transport system for a maximum of 5 persons as well as 50% discount on admission to selected spots in Frankfurt city. Later we went to buy Ortel data plan prepaid card at a phone shop (operated by Pakistanis) on Kaiserstraße, just across the station. We got the simcard for €15 and dataplan for €14.90. Alles war gut. So off we went to our next destination: Hauptwache.



The Hauptwache (Main Guard) is a central point of Frankfurt am Main and named after the baroque building (above photo) in 1730. It was the headquarters of the city’s Stadtwehr militia when Frankfurt was an independent city state and also contained a prison. In 1866, the Hauptwache became a police station. In 1904, the building was used as a café and remains one to this day. Heavily burned in World War II bombing, it was reopened in a provisional form with an altered roof in 1954. In 1967, with the building of the U-Bahn tunnel through the city, it was dismantled so it could be moved and rebuilt over the new underground U-Bahn station. The plaza has undergone another major renovation when the S-Bahn station for suburban trains was opened in 1978.

Today, Hauptwache station serves as one of the most important crosspoints of the Frankfurt public transport system. Eight of nine S-Bahn lines serve the station as well as five of seven U-Bahn lines.

From Hauptwache, we later walked about 10 minutes to Römer via Liebfrauenstraße and Neue Kräme.

Walk-to-RomerSomewhere at Liebfrauenstraße.

Maggi-shopYassin in front of Maggi shop at Neue Kräme. Yassin loves Maggi noodles, and asked me to snap this photo. MAggi came into existence in 1872 in Switzerland, when Julius Maggi took over his father’s mill. He quickly became a pioneer of industrial food production, aiming to improve the nutritional intake of worker families. Maggi was the first to bring protein-rich legume meal to the market, and followed up with a ready-made soup based on legume meal in 1886. In 1897, Julius Maggi founded the company Maggi GmbH in the German town of Singen, where it is still based today.

Starbucks“Ibu, you like Starbucks, right? Take my photo here. Peace!” said Yassin.


The Römer is the city’s most important landmarks. The Römer is dominated by the Lutheran Old St. Nicholas church and it has been the city hall (Rathaus) for 600 years. The Römer merchant family sold it together with a second building, the Goldener Schwan (Golden Swan), to the city council on March 11, 1405 and it was converted for use as the city hall.

Romer01At Römer. Posing with a golden lady. Paid few Euros for this photo opportunity.

Romer02Yassin in front of buildings at Römer.

Artist-at-workArtist at work: Rudin Serge.

JUmp-to-joyYassin jumping with joy. Seen behind is The Römer’s famous three-peaked façade with medieval design. 

Having-coffeeHaving coffee at  Römer.

After having coffee, we moved on to visit the Historisches Museum Frankfurt (Frankfurt History Museum).

museum01Azmi busy snapping pictures in front of Historisches Museum Frankfurt.

Historisches Museum Frankfurt

The Historisches Museum Frankfurt has its origins in collections of the city and its citizens dating back to the fifteenth century. Founded in 1877/78 on the basis of civil initiatives, it is the oldest museum in Frankfurt to be financed by the municipality. Since its founding, its mission has been the preservation, scientific investigation and mediation of historical objects and images of the trade-fair town. Today the museum has at its disposal the most extensive collections pertaining to the history of culture and art in the city and region of Frankfurt am Main.

Azmi-at-museumAzmi reading about The Cellar of the Burnitz Building.

dioramaAzmi and his dad watching Frankfurt City diorama.

YassinYassin mimicking the militaria armour suit behind him.

We had great fun visiting this city museum which offers great insight about the background of the city’s past with its vast exhibits of architecture, photography, paintings, ceramics, metal, militaria, furniture, sculpture and many more.

We later walked across the road in front of the museum to get to River Main.

fallwomanA woman enjoying the weather by the Mainkai riverside.

River Main

The Main is a river in Germany, with a length of 527 km. The Main flows through the German states of Bavaria, Baden-Württemberg (forming the border with Bavaria for some distance) and Hesse. The largest cities along the Main are Frankfurt am Main and Würzburg.

River-MainView of River Main.

Eiserner-StegOn Eiserner Steg; pedestrian iron bridge built in 1868 that connects Mainkai and Schaumainkai.


The iron bridge has become on of the locations where loving couples attached their locks – inscribed with names or initials – onto bridge railings and then throw away the key into the river, to ‘lock’ in their union and to symbolise their everlasting love for each other. 

After crossing the river, we walked to the nearest station and got back to Frankfurt Hauptbanhof and went for dinner before making our way to our temporary home. It was 7°C when we reached Offenbach and we were walking fast to get home and turn the heater on.




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Day 1 – Offenbach/Frankfurt

My family and I arrived at Frankfurt Airport around 6.45am on October 7th, 2013. After claiming our luggages, we went straight to Avis counter as my husband had booked a car online (paid for a week rental using debit card) but the process didn’t went well as Avis needed a credit card to verify the booking at the counter. As my husband and I only have debit card, we had to cancel the rental. My husband had wrote a refund claim e-mail as I wrote this and that will take about two weeks to clear. But nonetheless, at least we know what to expect if we were to rent a car in Europe again.


We took a taxi to Offenbach as taking the train was out of the option as we had big luggages and a box full of books to carry. We reached the place we rented around 9am. Had to wait an hour for the owner to come as check in time was at 10am.

waitingBoy, it was cold!

The owner, Dr. Mai, is a Muslim Egyptian doctor staying in Frankfurt with her family for 15 years already. She showed around the fully-furnished apartment and told us that we were free to use everything and thank God for the washing machine and electric cooking stove. These are top on the list when you have a family travelling with you.

thehouseDr. Mai’s house is awesome!

I am very thankful to have found Dr. Mai on Airbnb. I got a very cheap deal renting the place from her as the rental was not based on pax as what the hotels in Frankfurt (perhaps in Europe) are charging. There were other places listed on Airbnb around Frankfurt but all were not within my budget so I opt to stay outside the city. Anyway, staying at any hotel in Frankfurt during book fair can go up to €300(and more) per day!

My family were all tired and they took a little nap before exploring Frankfurt.

sleepAfter sitting on 12 hours flight.

We went out later in the afternoon around 5pm and took the train to Frankfurt city. We walked to Offenbach OST (10 minutes walk) and paid around €15 (one way) to reach the main station, the Frankfurt Am Main Hauptbahnhof.

hbfFrankfurt Am Main Hauptbahnhof.

The boys were already hungry (we had nasi impit and sambal ikan bilis for lunch at the apartment) and having visited Frankfurt last year, I know a nearby Halal place to have dinner. We went to Thai Fun at Elbestraße, about 5 minutes walk from hauptbahnhof.

thaifunYassin shared fried rice with his dad while I had rice with chicken and mushroom. Azmi had rice with tomyam.

onphoneBusy with phones! It was either they were tweeting or sharing photos on Instagram. Haha! We bought a prepaid data plan earlier and shared connection. I will blog about this on a separate post on ‘how to plan a trip to Frankfurt with your family’. Sounds good? Stay tuned!

And that was all for Day 1. We took the train back to Offenbach and paid another  €15. Yikes,  €30 altogether.

Stay tuned for Day 2 tomorrow!

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I’m back from Frankfurt!

Oh I miss my blog! I tried to update my blog from Frankfurt but didn’t have enough time to do so. Frankfurt was great! I had 3 days to spent with my family and they rest were spent at book fair. I missed the zoo and Main Tower as I had to be at the fair. But my family did had a great time there.

I will blog about places in Frankfurt individually but at the meantime, here are some photos from our trip:

fra01Me reaching up for autumn leaves.

fra02Yassin, Azmi (my stepson) and my husband.

fra03Our home for 10 days.

fra04Yassin and Azmi in front of Hauptwache old police station, now converted to restaurant.

fra05Yassin and Azmi hugging giant ice-cream.

fra06Having coffee at Romer.

fra07Crossing Baseler Straße.



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