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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Lufthansa’s Name The Plane contest!

Lufthansa will be welcoming their first Boeing 777F in Frankfurt in October. They are really looking forward to it, but there is still one thing missing: the name of the aircraft.


So, Lufthansa is inviting YOU to help them find a name for their fleet!

Put on your thinking cap and get creative. Go to the contest page, register and submit the names that you have thought of by July 15. Let there be no boundaries to your creativity.

Their top-class jury will choose A NAME from the entries at the end of the brainstorming phase.

The winner will get to be there when they welcome their first Boeing 777F in Frankfurt! This will include a Lufthansa flight and an overnight stay in Frankfurt. And that is not all: you could be one of the first to join Captain Claus Richter on the flight deck!

Think of at least 10 names and then go to the NAME THE PLANE website. By default it’s in Deutch, click on English, ok. And proceed from there. Good luck!


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Art & Places: Madonna at Kornmarkt, Heidelberg, Germany

“Every block of stone has a statue inside it and it is the task of the sculptor to discover it.” ~Michelangelo.



In the case of the beautiful baroque statue above, it was sculpted  by Peter von den Branden in 1718.

Known as Madonna of the Corn Market (Kornmart in German language), this statue still stands proudly in the Kornmarkt, where she is appreciated not only for her religious meaning, but her artistic as well.

As Mary (Maria) became the patron saint of Catholic belief in the Palatinate, this statue was built by the Jesuits for The Prince Elector, who was trying to persuade the people of Heidelberg to switch to Catholicism. He failed as many of the Protestants preferred to migrate out of Heidelberg.

Mary demonstrates three typical characteristics of this period: Queen of Heaven, a virgin and Lady of Victory. She stands with her baby (Jesus) in hand on a gilded round cloud formation supported by four cherubs. The baby has his right hand raised in a blessing gesture wile his left hand holding a spear in the head of the snake dragon which represents the Protestants.

The statue stands on a pedestal base (7.38m high) equipped with three fountains bowls and was created in red sandstone. Other materials include various metals such as copper, brass and iron.

Information source:
Tourism Heidelberg – Madonna of the Corn Market

Wikipedia – Madonna Kornmarkt
Databank – Konrmarkt Madonna


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Altstadt, Heidelberg

I believe I haven’t share my experience visiting the Altstadt (Old Town), Heidelberg, Germany. Make yourself a coffee while reading this post with many interesting photos I captured for you.


Altstadt, the oldest part of Heidelberg, sits just below the Schloss. It extends along the Neckar River for a mile, with Karlstor on one end, and Bismarckplatz on the other.

neckarriver Neckar River on the left, Altstadt on the right.

Altstadt is a wonderful combination of old and new buildings, narrow streets, market squares, arts, history, science, shopping, eating and relaxing.


The Hauptstraße is the main road through the Altstadt, and is where most of the shopping is located.  It is Europe’s longest car free zone (1.6km).

Other points of interest that can be found in the Altstadt include the Kornmarkt, the Church of the Holy Spirit, Hotel Zum Ritter and the Old Bridge.

Above is the Kornmarkt (Corn Market) which was once used for the collection and trade of agricultural goods. Seen at the background is the Town Hall (Rathaus). Rathaus was built first in 1701 after the War of the Palatinate Succession. In 1751 Prince Elector Karl Theodor embellished the building, and then in 1886, the east building was added. In 1908, part of the Town Hall was destroyed by a fire, and so once more had to be rebuilt. The building was expanded in 1961, adding another wing as well the bell tower.

church Church of the Holy Spirit (Ghost).

One of the few buildings in Heidelberg to survive the many wars during the past centuries is the Church of the Holy Spirit which stands reverently in the Marktplatz. The construction of the church was completed in 1544 since  the the foundation was laid in 1398. The church has been home to Catholics and Protestants alike throughout the centuries. In 1706 a divider separating the two denominations was put in when both wanted to have services there, and it remained until the 1930’s. The church also has remains of the tombs and epitaphs of the Palatinate electors as well as a collection of manuscripts.

zumritter Hotel Zum Ritter.

Hotel ZumRitter is located directly opposite the Church of the Holy Spirit on the Hauptstrasse. It was built in 1592, and is one of the very few buildings in Heidelberg to have survived the War of the Palatinate Succession. It is considered to be one of the most remarkable examples of the late German Renaissance period.


Prince Elector Carl Theodor built the Old Bridge in 1786. Although the fifth bridge built over the Neckar in this location, it was the first stone bridge to be constructed. The twin towers on the city side of the river were once part of the city wall, and contain dungeons used for housing criminals. In the center of these, hanging above the portcullis, is a plaque giving acknowledgement to Austrian troops who helped defend the bridge against a French attack in 1799. One of the most notable items on the bridge is the statue of a monkey holding a mirror. The legend surrounding this curious statue tells us that it symbolizes the fact that neither the city-dwellers nor the people who lived outside the city were better than the other, and that they should look over their shoulder as they cross the bridge to remember this.

I hope you enjoy reading this. I have hundreds of photos captured here and I will post more when time permits.

 Information source: Tourism Heidelberg

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