Julie and I had a really good weekend in Frankfurt. We were a little worried before we got here. Many things we read said that Frankfurt is not much of a tourist town. That may be the case if you were planning on spending a week here, but there are easily enough things to do for a good three or four days!
The official name is Frankfurt Am Main. I am not 100% sure on this, but I think that translates to roughly Frankfurt around Main. The reason I think this is that when you tell time; you use two words am and um. You use am when you mean broad terms. Saying I am going to the movies on Monday in German is
“Ich gehe AM Montag ins Kino. ” . Saying I am going to the movies at 7:00 is “Ich gehe UM 7:00 Uhr ins Kino.”. Frankfurt is on both banks of the Main River, but not IN the river, therefore…… Enough of the language lesson. Frankfurt is a very “new” city. It was mostly rebuilt after WW 2. The picture below came from the museum in the cathedral. It shows the devastation Allied bombing had on the city. The cathedral was damaged, but mostly spared. However, you can see that things next door to the cathedral were wiped out.
We got here on Friday afternoon. Checked into our hotel, and then went shopping. Well first we had lunch at Chipotle. Julie found the Chipotle online and left me no choice. Her comment was something to the effect of. I have been here 6 months, and the only tacos I have had are the ones you make. I REALLY want a taco. So she had a taco. Then she went shopping. My two takes are 1) German women, or men, really like their lingerie. I swear in this mall, at least 1/3 of the stores sold nothing but lingerie. 2) Germans have a bad take on what Americans eat.
We found a store called “American Food Club”. It was full of all the junk that everyone else thinks we eat all the time. Sugar cereals, salty snacks, poptarts, and everything else loaded with zero nutrition and lots of calories. OK I admit, we did buy some things there! We have been unable to find baking soda here, and also the chocolate chips aren’t the same kind of chocolate chips that make good cookies! We also bought some Ranch Dressing because that doesn’t exist over here either. 🙂 So maybe I haven’t adjusted as well as I think I have! 🙂
The weather Friday was pretty lousy, so after shopping for a few hours, we decided to simply head back to the hotel, enjoy the spa, take an early dinner, and go to bed.
Julie and I decided that on these weekend jaunts we were going to simply take things as they come. We would not set an alarm unless absolutely necessary. We would only make a vague list of things we wanted to see, and basically just play things by ear. We figure if we find a city we really want to go back to, we have the next three years to return; so there is no use to rush through the weekends. We also have decided to only stay at places that serve breakfast. That way we can wake up, get a good meal, have a simple snack in the middle the afternoon, and then go someplace really nice for dinner.
These plans almost came back to bite us in the butt on our first morning in Frankfurt. The hotel has these REALLY good blackout drapes. Normally I wake up at the first glimmer of light. Saturday morning, we didn’t “wake up” until 10:30 and the only reason we woke up then was a screaming three year old in the hall. Thank goodness he woke us up. We only had 30 minutes before they stopped serving breakfast.
After eating, we took a cab down to an area known as the Romerplatz. This is an area rebuilt after the war to be as accurate as possible to the historic downtown area of Frankfurt. The Romer has served as Frankfurt’s City Hall since 1405. The building still serves as the seat of the Mayor today. The Romerplatz is also known as “Old Frankfurt”. We spent a lot of time walking around here and exploring the area. We also took a long walk along the river. The differences between the old and the new are very striking in this city. One building is a historic re-creation. The next is a modern structure.
After walking around for a while, we decided to visit the Cathedral or the Kaiserdom of St. Bartholomew. Technically the church is NOT a cathedral because a Bishop does not reside there. Though it was the site of German Royal coronations back in the day. This is not even close to some of the other major cathedrals in Europe, in regards to size and opulence. It is an impressive building nonetheless. One of the neat things happening when we were there, was one of the organists was practicing. Organ music is always more impressive when it is resonates through a big old building.
After touring the inside of the church, and touring the onsite museum, we decided to climb the tower. This was worth the 3 Euros! The spire is probably 18 – 20 stories high. I say that because my iphone said we climbed 25 flights of stairs that day, and the only other stairs we climbed were for two of the bridges! Anyway, think of the smallest, most narrow spiral staircase you have ever seen. Then go smaller. That is what we walked up. The most wild thing was meeting people going the other way. I figured pretty quickly, the only way to do this safely was if you were going up, you wrapped yourself around the center support, and let the people going down have the wider steps so they didn’t fall. It became a really tight fit when idiots would wear their backpacks. There was one point, I didn’t think we would make it. We came across a man, that made me look small. He also had on a backpack. I did not think there was going to be room for him to get around me. The part that really stunk was this was about 1/2 down for us. I certainly wasn’t climbing all the way back up to the top. I literally had one foot hanging off into space, as I made myself as small as possible. I really wanted to get a good picture of the stairway, but it was so small, that you couldn’t see anything; so you could not tell how tight and steep the staircase was. The view from the top was fantstic.
After touring the church. We went back to the Romerplatz for our mid afternoon snack. This is where I learned my German lessons are paying off. I was able to read the menu, and order for Julie and I in German. The waitress was able to understand me enough that she actually brought what I ordered. One of the things Frankfurt is noted for is Apfelwein, or hard cider for those of us in the midwest. So we had Apfelwein and Strudel. The Apfelwein is quite a bit different than the hard ciders we buy back home. I think back home, they add a lot of sugars or something to the cider to make it sweet. Here it really did taste closer to wine. I wasn’t that big a fan, but when in Frankfurt…..
I am going to have to end this for today. Julie is staying on in Frankfurt for business meetings. I have to run catch my train back home. I will post some of the pictures from the weekend, and then catch you up on the rest of our visit to Frankfurt tomorrow.