The city of Frankfurt is a lot of things: the “gateway to Europe” with its bustling airport, an economic center of the E.U. home to the European Central Bank, the melting pot of Germany with its immigrants comprising ca. 40% of the population. Despite this, Germans and tour books agree that it’s not quite the place for sightseeing. Don’t get me wrong – I think it’s a great city for all the previously mentioned reasons, but when the guide recommends the English movie theater as a top attraction, it’s time to forego the usual ways of getting to know a famous city.
This weekend, Gail and I had time to do just that. We took the bus and tram downtown from my little “gem of a neighborhood” (says the guide) called Höchst, which is on the outskirts of the city. On Saturday morning, we went to the flea market that opens weekly from 10am-2pm along the Main River. It is a VAST affair: several blocks are taped off so that cars cannot pass, and vendors upon vendors set up stations selling anything and everything imaginable. Houseware, clothing, books, toys, luggage, bikes, jewelry, artwork … …. you name it, it was probably there in some form or another. Given the prices and variety of things there, I don’t know why anyone living in the area would choose to go to a mall first!
We stayed until closing time, and then headed to the old part of the city to see these landmarks:
(not many pictures taken, none uploaded due to the internet limitations, but they’ll come eventually!)
It must be noted that Gail and I stopped at a Starbucks, which has — *drumroll please* — free wi fi!
However, the highlight of the weekend was a visit from Anne and her 10-month old son! I’ve known her since she spent a year living with my family in NJ when I was 9 and she was 18. We’ve grown up together, when I think of it that way. I hadn’t met her son before, and he proved to be a good-tempered, active, and babbling baby. The next day, we met her husband Martin downtown for a typical Hessisch meal (Hessen is the state in which Frankfurt is located) at a restaurant called (what else?) “Germania” in the Sachsenhausen district.
On the menu: Grüne Soße mit 4/2 Eier & Apfelwein, literally, “green sauce with 4 half eggs” and apple wine
Then, we retraced the previous day’s path across the river via the Eiserner Steg (Iron Bridge) and along the river banks to the old town. This time, we had a history professor in-tow, i.e. Martin, which was great! We went inside Saint Bartholomew’s Cathedral. This is where kings of the Holy Roman Empire were elected in the Middle Ages, which just happens to be Martin’s specialization. His enthusiasm was fun to witness in addition to being informative. He even stopped to explain some Latin grave memorials to me, which had texted wrapped around the frame of the facade in faded Gothic lettering. I was so impressed at his deciphering skills because the engravers abbrev generously and use lines sparingly when writing letters. For example, the word “anima” looked something like this:
a | | | | | | a.
The meaning is then derived from a combination of the “rungs” and context. \|/ O \|/!!
Then, with the baby’s nap time over, we stopped for a refreshing iced coffee on the river bank before the three of them had to jet off to catch a train back home, proving that jogging with a stroller is very possible!
So, that was our exploration of Frankfurt for the weekend! I’ve got until the end of the month to get to know the place better. Any recommendations are welcome! Hope you are all well and enjoying the mid-summertime 🙂