As I said before, getting out of Madrid was slightly hellish and after that nightmare couchsurfing experience, anywhere would have been nice, but thankfully, Frankfurt was a great experience in every way. The first night I stayed in the Frankfurt Hostel and after that I had a couch lined up with a couchsurfer named Josephine.
The Chinese Garden in Frankfurt. The heron is real. There are many parks in Frankfurt and lots of birds.
Josie was great. First day I went with her to do one of my favorite cultural activities, grocery shopping. Everywhere I go, I enjoy seeing what sells in the shops. On the way home we were caught in a massive deluge and got completely soaked. I didn’t bring my umbrella this time around. And yet, it was fun.
Frankfurt is a banking city (Bilderbergs and Rothschilds) and as such Angels and Demons has been more appropriately named Illuminati.
After drying off and having a very nice vegetables and chicken dinner, we headed out to meet a few other couch surfers at a cavernous old wine bar. In the bar were a couple of girls from Quebec City who were incredibly enthusiastic about giving me advice on where to go when I reach Canada. If all Quebecois prove to be so friendly, it should be a great time there.
Frankfurt has the cleanest red light district I have ever imagined.
Heading back to Josie’s place, we passed many German merrymakers in the streets. German people laugh a lot and I notice a huge similarity in the tonal qualities of English and German. To hear a crowd of Germans talking, sounds very similar to hearing a crowd of Americans. Not the same as Spanish, French, or Arabic speakers. Interesting.
The next day, Josie and I took a full day walk through the forest near Frankfurt and through the city. She showed the the Goethe tower, which was amazing. The structure is entirely made of wood and the picture does not do it justice. Massive wooden tower. Maybe the view will make it clear. It’s the tallest completely wooden structure in the world.
This is the Bier Bike.Seems like a bad idea to put a bar on wheels and have a bunch of Germans pedal it around…
In the evening, Josie, her friend Stefan, and I had dinner in an authentic German restaurant, not a tourist place, since we were the only non Germans there. My American sensibilities were shocked by Josie’s Hitler jokes, but the Germans didn’t seem to mind. For some reason, I thought it was inappropriate to mention Hitler in Germany, but no one seemed to care, so I laughed with them all.
After dinner, a walk to the Main river and some lovely night photos. Then in the morning I caught a bus to the Frankfurt Hahn airport, an hour and 45 minutes away. Not close to Frankfurt by any means, thanks again Ryan Air.
In summary, Frankfurt was beautiful, friendly, and fun. The German food was delicious. In particular I enjoyed the Currywurst and Pear Schnapps, the apple wine was a little like drinking pissy vinegar. Not a taste I loved.
Near the airport, I strolled through the beautiful rural countryside, took a nice nap in a quiet park, had a coffee in an empty cafe, and then after dark went back to the airport. There were probably 50 people overnighting in the airport. I was stoked to score the best sleeping spot on the longest of restaurant booth benches, but at midnight when the restaurant closed, I had to abandon it.
Unfortunately this put me last in terms of finding sleeping spots downstairs and I ended up sleeping next to a closed airport shop on the ground. The ground was pretty cold and at 4:30 am when those arriving for the earliest departures started to show up, I woke with them, glad that I had napped in the country park the day before.
Cheap coffee and more than a few cigarettes later, I boarded my flight to Dublin, but not before going through an almost comedic performance by German customs.
The two Customs agents arrived looking big, blond, and blue suited identical, they each opened the doors at the same point, went inside, sat at the same time, and then took a few minutes as each looked at their computers. Then at exactly the same moment they motioned to us to start filing through:
“Vhy did you come to Germany?” I don’t know if it was from movies or what, but for the first time in Germany, I felt intimidated. It was downright scary.
“Just a visit” I said.
“I hope it vas a nice vone. Alveeterzein.” Stamp and move on. That was it.
A couple of hours later I stepped off the plane in Dublin to a very different sort of place. I’ll talk about that later though. Suffice to say, Germany was a very pleasant surprise and I look forward to visiting more of it in the future.
(Originally posted 19 May 2009)