I am taking the train back to Frankfurt from Paris. I need a change from the cattle car flights, enjoy some scenery, and begin to transition back to where I am most comfortable, home!!!
This trip, like my last several to Europe, started and ends in Frankfurt. I just seems easier and a bit cheaper to fly into a hub, then take a local carrier to my ultimate destination. I headed to Athens from here on the same day. Likewise, my return to the US will be from Frankfurt. I have grown to like this rather gritty, and diversely populated city. But I have yet to find any sauerbraten in all of Germany that compares to my favorite at the Chef Burger in my former hometown of Pleasant Hill.
This was written about 5 years ago:
How many of you have changed planes in Frankfurt over the years? I have changed planes here at least half a dozen times, on the way to or from: Russia, Spain, Portugal, South Africa, to name a few. Frankfurt Main Airport is one of the busiest international airports in the world, and of course, a hub for the state airline, Lufthansa. The airport is the biggest cargo airport in Europe. Over 342 trains daily arrive and depart for other parts of Germany, as well as Europe. But little do I know about this great German city.
I recall from Uncle Murl’s world history class as a sophomore in high school, only a few pertinent facts about Germany. Names pass by, like Charlemagne, the Holy Roman Empire, storming of the Bastille, the Napoleonic Wars, WW 1 and 2, and the old Common Market. In fact, it was Charlemagne, the Kings of the Franks, who gave the city its name, after winning a battle against the Saxons. He called it “Ford of the Franks” or Frankfurt.
I first spent a night here back in the 70s, when the U.S. Army or Air Force had a big presence here. I even had dinner at an air or army base, pretending we were GI’s with long hair. I also stayed in Wiesbaden for many days, and spent a day in Kaiserslautern as well. Frankfurt sells themselves as the largest financial center on the continent. It is home to the European Central Bank, Deutsche Bundesbank, and the Frankfurt Stock Exchange. Over 4 million tourists a year visit this city.
And only one person in three do not hold a German passport. Fully 51% of the population has an immigrant background. Why does this work so well here? Yet, it is only the fifth largest city in Germany, with about 2.3 million people, behind Berlin, Hamburg, Cologne, and Munich, my personal favorite. Catholics (23%) make up the largest segment of religion, followed by Protestants (19%), with Muslims (12%) third. Over 180 nationalities live here peacefully.
The city is located on both sides of the Main River. My train from ???? will arrive at Frankfurt Central Station (Hauptbahnhoff), which opened back in 1888. Not only the people here are called Frankfurters, the sausages also answer to that name! The Frankfurter Buchmesse is the largest trade show for books in the world. Big publishing deals are closed here, Barry the V!!!!
The famous writer, Johann Wolfgang Goethe was born here, with his birthplace now a museum. It is possible to see the puppet he played with as a child. Frankfurt was home to the inventor of the printing press, Johannes Gutenberg. You can spot a memorial dedicated to him and the early funders of the printing press in the city centre, Rossmarkt.
This is I did not realize: “This one’s for all you story lovers. Flashback to childhood! Remember reading or listening to the likes of Cinderella, Rapunzel, Snow White, Sleeping Beauty and more? Well, the creators of all these stories- the Grimm Brothers lived in Hanau, which is merely 25 kms away from Frankfurt! They later moved on to study at University of Marburg, which is about 100 kms away.”
Frankfurt has the largest inner-city forest in Germany, taking up around 80 sq. km. (a third of its territory), and the world-famous 20-hectare Palm Garden, which hosts plants from every climate zone on the planet.
Besides Goethe and Gutenberg, Frankfurt also boasts the following famous Frankfurters: Helmut Kohl, Oskar Schindler, Ludwig Erhard, Alois Alzheimer, Anne Frank, and Martin Lawrence.
I may be here only for a day, to catch my plane back to the US, or I may decide to spend a couple days. Or I might return to Munich, home of the Oktoberfest, and look up some old, old friends.
Updated in May
Just one night actually. But enough time to shop and eat a bit before returning back home for the Memorial Day weekend.
Frankfurt Central Station (Frankfurt Hauptbahnhof), which opened in 1888, was built as the central train station for Frankfurt to replace three smaller train stations in the city centre and to boost the needed capacity for travellers. It was constructed as a terminus station and was the largest train station in Europe by floor area until 1915 when Leipzig Central Station was opened. Its three main halls were constructed in a neorenaissance-style, while the later enlargement with two outer halls in 1924 was constructed in neoclassic-style. My hotel is less than a block from the Hauptbahnhof, which by the way, has some interesting places to eat and drink.
Another possible place to visit: Kleinmarkthalle (since 1871)
Open daily except on Sundays, some 63 merchants in 156 market stalls sell all kinds of fresh foods, produce and flowers. Aside from the many regional specialities available, such as Frankfurt’s famous “Green Sauce”, visitors will also find a superb assortment of international delicacies, imported from the four corners of the Earth. Those feeling a bit peckish are urged to try some of the delicious specialities on offer right away, freshly prepared on site. You know I love the open markets. The AFAR editor has a great philosophy: My basic belief is if you see a line, you should get in it. And that place had a huge line. It’s called Frau Schreiber; the sausage there is fantastic.
I may pay a visit to the European Central Bank, as it looks like an interesting place. Last visit, I took a wine tour up to Ruseheim, which was rather disappointing. We did very little wine tasting, and spent too much time on a cruise of the Rhine River. But the “Jack the Ripper Fright Tour” sounds interesting. I also have not ben to Heidelberg in decades.
One of the more interesting places here is Romer, which I will tell you about in a separate email.
One of my favorite morning spots here is a bakery in the Hauptbahnhof. The manager greets every customer with a hearty “Morgen!” and is just unbelievable as he waits on two or three people at the same time!!
Meanwhile, I am back in Frankfurt, from Paris via Duetsche Bahn, a 4 hour trip, most pleasant compared to flying. It reminds me quite fondly of my days traversing Europe with a student Eurail pass. Might that be fun again? Yes.
Would you believe the train stopped in Kaiserslautern. I visited over 50 years ago, found an American GI with a burger joint. He married a nice German girl after WW2, and stayed around. But, he really missed his American football!!!
But since this is the very end of my trip, I may be too tired to do much more than search for my sauerbraten and some cold beer!
See you back home. It has been a long three weeks. Take me home, country roads, to the place, I belong!!!!