Mc Donald’s in Common?

SAM_1387

While watching some British show the other week, I came across the UK’s new (?) Mc Donald’s advert. The concept is that no matter who you are, we all have Mc Donald’s.

It’s interesting because Mc Donald’s is considered a comfort when abroad – whether you are in Beijing or Rome, you can find something that will taste and look familiar. And yet, Mc Donald’s culture is so different in different countries.

In the UK I’d say that Mc Donald’s is considered very much inferior to Burger King. In fact, I think that I’ve not eaten a British Mc Donald’s since I was in my early teens. But Burger King’s chips and burgers are pretty awesome. They don’t have Burger Kings in Japan (well, they didn’t when I lived there) and I remember being in Singapore airport once and turning the corner to find one. I think my excitement at having found a Burger King after such a long time shocked the people around me…

The Mc Donald’s in Japan actually was pretty yummy. I’d eat their shaka shaka chicken from time to time as a snack. And when they did their American range of burgers, I was first in line (like with the Miami burger above).

The thing with Mc Donald’s in Japan is that it’s a place to be. It’s a place to kill time, buy a coffee and just hang out. Especially in the cities, you’ll find rows of Japanese teenagers chilling there, doing their makeup, studying and just using it as an extension of their bedroom. They also have lots of solo seats so you don’t have to feel pressured to be sociable there – just be as if you are on your own in your room. When I was a student in Japan I used the local Denny’s as a place to study simply because I work better when I’m not in my room and I could soak up their free heating/air con at no more than the price of an all you can drink drinks bar offer.

When I was in Paris at Christmas I was very excited to try their Mc Donald’s as well. I’d mentioned to some French friends that Burger King is better than Mc Donald’s and they all pulled faces at me and said that Ronald is king in France. There weren’t as many Maccy D’s in Paris as in, say, London, so I did go out of my way a little to find one. And boy, was I glad I did. That burger was one of the best I’ve tasted. It was frickin’ awesome.

Then cut to Germany. When I got here, I’d not eaten at a Mc Donald’s in a while, but late one night on the way home from some 90’s party, I was hungry and the only place open was the Mc Donald’s on Hauptwache. I ordered what looked like a nice burger but it was covered in nasty tasting pink sauce. As I took my second bite, a mouse ran over my foot. That burger headed straight for the bin and I have never been there since.

That same “restaurant” has many more undesirable customers than the Mc Donald’s in Japan. If I walk by the front of that place, there are always small groups of young men who quite often feel the need to comment on my looks (or apparent lack thereof) and when you go inside it’s little different. It may be just that one restaurant and not a thing with the whole of Germany but I get the feeling it’s not a place you want to be seen in around here. Certainly not the place to be chilling out at for hours on end.

How are Mc Donald’s where you live/are from? What kind of people go there, and what kind of culture does it have? I’m interested to share stories!

Frankfurt Zoo

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I caught wind of there being a baby tiger in Frankfurt zoo, so I ditched my own little tigers grabbed the boyfriend and marched right over there.

It was meant to be the hottest day of the year and promised temperatures of 38c, but in fact was something around 35c. Regardless, the place was pretty much empty so that was pretty awesome. What’s a shame is that they’ve bumped up the entry price from 5 euros to 10 since I went last time, but it’s a pretty special zoo so I guess it’s all for the greater good. If you are a new resident to Frankfurt, you should have a 2 for 1 ticket in the voucher book they gave you when you registered.

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After ALL THE FAFFING we eventually arrived at the zoo at about 3pm, which happened to be feeding time. I think the daddy lion was the most interesting when he was eating – gently licking the chunk of meat as if he was really enjoying it. But we did get to see the baby tiger have his dinner too. The photos of him were much much cuter than him eating, however. You can get postcards of him at the giftshop, so I have him on my wall now.

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They have a great section for fish and insects which are all indoors, so we could escape the sun. Personally, I love the fish (and penguins!!) the best. I love aquariums so much and the ones near where I was in Japan were really great – especially Nagoya Aquarium. I think fish are so much better at being models than animals, so aquariums are the best places to test out new cameras.

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Not that this guy wasn’t trying his hardest, too…

The best thing about Frankfurt zoo is that they are part of a breeding programme to help endangered species. The rhinos, giraffes and many other animals are there to help save their species, so you get to see some really rare animals, like the aye aye, which are endangered because people think they are bad luck so kill them (and I know that because I read and understood the German sign! Yay go me!)

Frankfurt zoo is one of my favourite places and needs at least 4 or 5 hours to see it all. It’s well worth a visit if you’re in town.

Find the zoo at Bernhard-Grzimek-Allee 1  60316 Frankfurt and get there either by getting the tram or U Bahn, or simply by walking up from Konstablewache, which is a nice walk with lots of lovely restaurants and cafes (including my favourite, Maingold cafe!)

Frankfurt Hahn Airport

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Last weekend I took a trip home. Not for any particular reason, I just missed home and wanted to visit friends and shop and stuff.

When I go home, I always go with Ryanair. The reason being that they fly to Stanstead airport, which is just 40 mins from where I live, and Dad can pick me up (in exchange for a few bars of Ritter Sport!)

The downside to this is that I have to use Frankfurt Hahn airport which is the most inconvenient airport I have ever come across. I think it’s been named at the airport furthest away from the place it pretends to be in – at a whopping 2 hours by bus away from Frankfurt, it’s really ridiculous that it’s still carrying the city’s name.

Since it’s such a pain to get to, and since I am pretty much a Hahn expert now, I thought I’d do a little post on how I travel with Hahn. I take the same flight each time – it leaves at 6.45am so it’s always an early start for me.

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The first bus of the morning leaves at 3am and I always take that one. It takes 2 hours to get there, so it’s just the right amount of time for me.

The bus company is Bohr and they leave from the south side of the main station Hauptbahnhof. The photo above shows exactly where you need to wait. The buses are ALWAYS busy, even the morning ones. I advise getting there 30 minutes early (at least) and to use extreme queuing techniques to get a space. You can check the times on their website HERE but if you are in Frankfurt I advise just looking at their sign (below) as it’s much easier to work out.

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The journey will take you to Frankfurt International airport first, and then on the long journey through the countryside to Hahn. The buses are pretty nice, actually. I’ve been in much worse ones in England. I guess they should be nice, though, since the journey will set you back 14 euros each way. You can get a 24hour return ticket for 20 euros if you are unfortunate enough to have to make this trip twice in one day.

You buy the tickets from the bus driver, not online. There is no reserving of seats.

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There is nothing more than a sandwich shop and a McDonalds on the outside of the airport so I recommend waiting until you get inside if you want to buy something to eat. There’s a small convenience shop (above)…

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And a few cafes as well. They are very strict with only customers sitting in their chairs (there is no place to sit as you wait for the boarding area to be opened) and I once saw an American man get very very angry about this. I usually just sit on the floor in front of the sign.

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Going OUT of Hahn is actually a nice journey and I don’t mind doing it at all. Coming back INTO Hahn is where it’s painful as the immigration has a queuing area that makes most of the queue stand outside (it was horrible at Christmas) and getting the bus back into town is really hard as there are so many people you really do need to fight for a seat. I’ve wormed my way in front of people before, seconds before those same people were told there was no more room and they will have to get the next bus.

This Christmas I hope to go home via the normal airport since Ryanair have changed their website to be really confusing and I am just tired of them trying to trick me at every stage. This time they tried to get me with the insurance. To opt out of it, you need to select that you don’t want insurance in the drop down menu where you say your nationality. However, it doesn’t show up on all browsers. This is with Chrome –

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This is with Safari –

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If it wasn’t that Ryanair are a bunch of cheats, I’d gladly carry on using Hahn airport as it’s not such a bad airport and I like how small and quiet it is. Frankfurt international airport is very big and busy while Hahn is just laid back but inconvenient.

So anyway, I hope this helps anyone who is looking to travel to/from Hahn in the future. There isn’t much info in English to help, so hopefully I filled an info gap there!

Gundi – Turkish food in Bockenheim

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We went to see our wonderful friend Ben sing whilst playing his keyboard in a curious yet terribly planned event in Bockenheim. The idea was that we were to wander down the street and enjoy stopping off at the participating places to enjoy some art. Unfortunately, it seems Turkish restaurant Gundi didn’t know what they were getting into when they agreed to host Ben.

The place was pretty full when we got there, but no one was there to hear Ben’s wonderful music except our group. They were much more interested in the belly dancer who was performing a little before.

The service left a lot to be desired, but they did do some good food. I had the platter (above) but sadly the hummus tasted like it had been left out in the warm air all day and wasn’t very fresh at all. The rest was ok (though there could have been a vegetarian option…)

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The boyfriend had this cheesy, greasy mess above. I think he said it was “ok”.

Their Qype page has a lot of German recommendations so perhaps we just picked the wrong kinds of things. The food was fairly average; not good enough for me to go out of my way to visit again.

If anyone knows any restaurants in Frankfurt that are similar, but better than this, then I’d love to know!

Find Gundi at Leipziger Straße 85 – 87, 60487 Frankfurt am Main

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