Walking through the passage of the Rathaus I came to the ruins of the old monastery. It was founded in early 12th century by a monk called Erkenbert, so the ruins are known as the Erkenbert ruins.The real name is the church St Maria Magdalena. Until 16th century it was a monastery, today it's mostly used for open air concerts and theatre shows.
The inner yard is fenced in, but you can still see a large part of the wall.
The portal to the western facade is one of my favourite places in Frankenthal. This door shows many ornaments, animals and geomatrical designs, centuries old, making me realize how beautifully the stone masons back then did their job. I really like to go there and just look, and each time I find something else to admire.
It is hard to take a picture, because the alley is very narrow and I can't step back enough.
In the centre of Frankenthal, at the market square there is the city hall, the Rathaus, a brightly coloured building with a passage underneath leading to the ruins of the monastery.
I read that some of the paintings on the walls show scenes from Frankenthal's history. So far I haven't been able to place and date them, that's something I'll try to do again next time.
Frankenthal has no tourist information office, but the information desk in the city hall offers maps and some information material. There is no leaflet explaining the sights in the city centre, though, only information for people moving there. I think with such impressive and old buildings a short leaflet would be a good idea.
There are some short explanations online, but generally the Frankenthal city council doesn't seem to think of their town as very interesting for tourists. They are right in a way, I've been there a couple of times now and I've always taken some pictures, looked around and generally behaved like a tourist - I've always been the only one and people have looked at me curiously.
This is a very impressive building for such a small town!
Part of its fundament used to be the lower part of the tower belonging to the monastery from 12th century.The church was built in early 19th century and looks a bit like a Greek temple
with its columns.
I later found out that it had been built by a student of the architect Weinbrenner, who shaped the city of Karlsruhe and then I realized that the 12 Apostel Church had reminded me of the city church in Karlsruhe, which also seems to be Greek temple.
The church is still used as a Protestant church, but I saw signs leading to church offices, so I suppose it serves two purposes.
It's hard to find detailed information about Frankenthal in guide books, as it's not a main tourist spot.When I was looking for more information, I found a few pages in a guide book about the whole area Mannheim/Ludwigshafen. This book recommended the Brauhaus zur Post as a very good restaurant, so we tried it.
This used to be a brewery and the interior is still kept in the way of a brewery, large kettles (is this the right word? or maybe vats?) used for brewing are right in the main guest room. (Sorry, no picture).
Since the weather was very nice we decided to sit in the large beergarden;it was very comfortable and not loud despite the near-by street.We chose dumplings with mushrooms and salad from the lunch menu. The food was very good, but it took almost 30 minutes to arrive, and there were not that many patrons in the restaurant. Outside two more tables were taken, inside another two or three. It was not as if the place had been very busy.
Thirty minutes is too much time for a dish from the lunch menu. That's the purpose of a special lunch menu, just a few dishes, supposed to be the fastest ones so that people can enjoy their meal during their lunch break.
Since we meet for lunch and never have much time, we decided not to return, despite the very good location just opposite of the walking area and next to the train station.
We paid more than 20 Euro, again unusual for food from the lunch menu.
We were in Frankenthal for the Christmas Market, which was nice but very small!, when it started snowing really hard. As we wanted to get warm again, we looked for a nice restaurant. The Quito Café was recommended to us. It is hidden away from the main street in Frankenthal and the entrance door is nothing special, so I almost passed it. This would have been a pity, as I got the best spicy chai tea there that I had for a long time.
It's a café,and the emphasis in on coffees, but they also serve excellent tea there. The owner prides himself in creating artful patterns on the milk foam. It's almost a pity you destroy them when you drink, but after all, coffee is meant to be drunk, not admired.
We had fresh waffles with whipped cream and cherries, muffins and cakes, coffees, tea and hot chocolate, everything was very, very good.
Don't expect fast service, as all coffees are prepared fresh and it takes a while, but it's worth the wait.My spicy chai tea was so good that I went and ordered a second one.
This was my first visit there, but certainly not my last, unless I won't find it any more. But I have a good map and will look for it.
Quite close to the train station there is a butcher, Kaltenborn, which is also a bistro. They have very few tables -if I remember right only three to sit down on - and a counter for standing. This butcher only uses meat from organic farms, but is not much more expensive than any other butcher and the quality is so much better.
During lunch time some plain dishes are served, never a large variety or anything special and fancy, but always very good. The only problem is getting a table, even the stand-only places are very crowded. Often there is a long line outside, and what better recommendation than this.
I had a sausage,potatoe salad and some green salad for less than 5 Euro. It was so good that I got second helping, had it packed and took it home.
I always take the train to Frankenthal, just 15 minutes from the main train station in Mannheim.Frankenthal is on the motorway A6, easy to reach, but from city centre to city centre the train is much faster and there is no tedious search for a place to park.
The station in Frankenthal is right at the top of the walking area.
It is a very small station, however, when school is out the platforms are crowded. Frankenthal is a "hub" for the trains into the Palatinate mountains and the villages there, so masses of schoolchildren flood the platforms then.
It is within the RNV transportation network, so the day passes are valid and are a very good bargain, usually much cheaper than getting a DB ticket for local trains.