Posted on May 20, 2014
I have to admit right off, I never expected much payback for a two day visit to Frankfurt, a city maybe far better known for its airport hub than for the city itself. My, have we sold Frankfurt short. Actually Frankfurt is the financial center of Germany, it’s Wall Street, and it sure shows. It’s about the only city in Germany, if not the entirety of Europe, to have a lot of real skyscrapers. We found them to be so elegantly designed as to be a real asset to the city, instead of the usual abomination.
Frankfurt is the size of San Francisco in population, but its core is compact and we were able to walk essentially the entire city in one nine hour day. That was a lot of pavement pounding but also a lot of visual delight, so we never had a boring moment.
To check on our car rental particulars, we walked over to the SIXT rental office at the train station, exactly two minutes away from our hostel. To avoid crossing a main boulevard and several tram lines, we took the stairs to an underground passageway leading to the station.
Here, under all the busyness above, we found ourselves in a labyrinth of shops and fast food stalls. At one point I could see four bakeries selling dozens of kinds of bread, fresh from the oven.
Germans love bread and insist on it being fresh. We were amazed that bread was baked right there on the spot, sold hot out of the ovens. We even watched a pretzel machine in operation – platters of hand formed dough in at the top and finished pretzels out at the bottom. Amazing. We bought some, our sole breakfast next morning as it turned out.
Frankfurt was once protected, as were many European cities, by an encompassing sturdy wall. When cars became popular, these walls were torn down, replaced by boulevards and roughshod development. Frankfurt also tore down its walls, but retained the space for an encircling park. Now first rate skyscrapers have been built in close proximity, a fine melding of complementary uses.
Pretty soon we found ourselves along the banks of the swiftly flowing Main River, which edges the south side of the city. Along its banks are three broad parallel walking paths, separated by grassy lawns and carefully tended trees, a strollers delight.
We continually came across first rate works of art, both along the river paths and also in town.
Several bridges cross the river, a couple of them for pedestrians only. We crossed over, finding ourselves in Sachsenhausen, well known for its old town and restaurants specializing in a spicy green sauce and apple cider. We took a stab at one of many restaurants.
Guess what we had for lunch!
We spent hours strolling the old town and the paths along the river, both sides, before visiting the actually quite nicely reconstructed center of old Frankfurt, Römer Platz.
We took the perfunctory afternoon coffee at a sidewalk cafe and people watched for a while, like most everybody else.
Then set off in serious pursuit of a 220 volt hair curler, a necessary adjunct to normal modern life.
The most direct route home was back through the red-light district. Some of the work places look pretty nice.
Even Spiderman was here.
Now it’s time to leave good old Frankfurt. Perfect weather helped make our days.