Layovers can be a pain, but they can also be fun when you use the opportunity to check out local cuisine. This is what we did with our layover lunch in 2012.
You see, five years ago, on our honeymoon, we flew to Portugal by way of Germany. The Frankfurt Airport, with its Central European location and being the Lufthansa hub, is a fairly common layover spot.
We thought that our multi-hour layover would be fairly routine. However, as walked through the gigantic, sterile international terminals, we discovered various cultural (and food) treasures.
Aside from the usual duty-free shops, we found food emporiums filled with various delicious pastries and a copious amount of long sausages wrapped in oval shaped rolls
“Boy, they really enjoy hot dogs here in Frankfurt,” we exclaimed stupidly.
“Ahhh, Frankfurters!!,” we both shouted in laughter.
We have found all sorts of little culinary curiosities in airports throughout the world – Guinness at 6am at the Aer Lingus terminal in Dublin, fresh pasta served cafeteria style in Rome Fiumicino, Bi Bim Bop in stone bowls in Seoul Icheon and hanging ducks in Hong Kong International.
After our flight out of Lyon, we were scheduled to have a long layover in Frankfurt and, needless to say, we were excited to eat Frankfurters in Frankfurt again.
Our day started way too early. Unthinkingly, we had somehow booked a 6am flight out of Lyon to Frankfurt. As we drove to the Lyon Airport in the dark of the night, we started to think that we wouldn’t find the after-hours area and the lockbox.
We had picked the car up at the train station, so we had no point of reference for returning the car at the airport. The only person to ask for directions couldn’t speak English, and we started to feel like we were a bumbling couple on an episode of The Amazing Race. Luckily, we had given ourselves extra time, and we eventually found the return spot and hopped on the airport bus.
Upon our 4:00 am arrival at the Lyon Airport, the gate agent informed us that our return flight tickets to Philadelphia had been voided and there was nothing that he could do to help us. Our first inclination was to raise a royal stink. Long story short, we stayed calm and were able to work things out and get on the plane. Lesson learned: beware of discount booking agents like cheap tickets.com.
After our short but comfortable flight to Frankfurt, we started looking for frankfurters. None were to be found, perhaps because it was too early. So, we parked at Starbucks for an opportunity to recharge ourselves with caffeine and our phones and tablets with electricity.
Two hours passed, and we decided it was time to find the hot dogs. There were pastries and sandwiches galore, but alas no hot dogs. We had to settle for sharing sausage and spaetzle, which was not exactly a hardship. We ended our lunch with a tasty pastry, of course.
The rest of our journey was uneventful. The Lufthansa flight to Philadelphia was way more comfortable and had better food and service than any domestic airline would have offered.
Daryl’s parents picked us up, and we went to our favorite Chinatown spot, Sang Kee, for dinner. It was a long day, for sure, but a fun day of airport exploration and a transcontinental flight.
About the Authors
Daryl & Mindi Hirsch
Saveur Magazine’s BEST TRAVEL BLOG award winners Daryl and Mindi Hirsch share their culinary travel experiences and recipes on the 2foodtrippers website and YouTube. The married Food and Travel content creators live in Lisbon, Portugal.