Frankfurt on the Main means on the Main River, only 19 miles upstream from the confluence with the famous Rhine River in Mainz. I will spare you the history lesson, and only highlight Napoleon, who made it the seat of government for the Republic of the Rhine in 1806. Until World War 2, Frankfurt’s Old Town was the largest medieval city still intact in Germany. The city is home now to 5.5 million people, and they like to call it “Mainhattan.” The Frankfurt airport is the fourth busiest in Europe. Most transfer to smaller countries are made here.
My personal recollection of Frankfurt is rather mixed and nebulous. It was back in 1971 that I last visited anything other than their huge and busy airport. I recall the large US Army presence, a definite Cold War monument and the intersecting Autobahn. And I recall the many bars and restaurants in the city. Other than that, I am at a loss to recall firsthand knowledge of this wonderful looking city.
So, besides Goethe, who else is from Frankfurt? How about Willie Messerschmitt, Amschel Rothschild, Charles the Bald, Oskar Schindler, Paul Ehrlich, Anne Frank, Martin Lawrence, Ruben Studdard, Helmut Kohl, and Pope Francis.
But I am back, for just two nights, to acclimate to the jet lag and time difference from home. I look forward to exploring the city. And you know I love exploring cities and towns. I have probably changed planes here a dozen times!
Frankfurt has become a leading financial, commercial, and high-tech center, perhaps rivaling Berlin. The city is also home to the European Union’s central bank. And yes for you hot dog fans, the city is known for its production of high-quality sausages or frankfurters. Was there not a Supreme Court Justice named Felix Frankfurter? In fact, I recall overdosing on German sausage back in 1971. Or maybe it was the beer?
Goethe University is among the largest in Germany. And the Frankfurt Zoo is one of the largest in the country. Other main attractions are the Stadel Art Institute and Gallery, the Senckenberg Natural History Museum, and the Liebieghaus Museum of Sculpture. This is the birthplace of Johann Wolfgang von Goethe.
So, what might we do in this great city? Romerberg is the old town square, and the Old Opera House looks interesting. Too bad I will miss the famous Frankfurter Flohmarkt, the popular Saturday flea market. But I will find my way to the Kleinmarkthalle, open every day, and filled with a traditional German market and international foods, including sausage, wine, cheese, flowers, and more.
The famous Reingau wine country is just west of Frankfurt, for what wine experts claim is the best Riesling in the world. But I hear the Pinot Noir is also very good. Apparently, we have Charlemagne to thank for mandating the first planting of vineyards more than a thousand years ago. But it was Queen Victoria who became enamored of Riesling produced by the vineyards around Hochheim Village.
Since I have never spent much time here, this might be an interesting few days.