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Operation: European Husband A new last name and a European passport. I gots GOALS I tell ya...

Frankfurt am Main

GERMANY | Monday, 1 January 2007 | Views [870] | Comments [1]

I arrived in Frankfurt at 9am craving beer. This concerned me only briefly, until I realised that:

a) it was 6pm on a Saturday in Australia, so my travel-lagged body, bless it, was running on Aussie-time and thought it was beer o´clock

and

b) you can have beer for breakfast here. point #1 to Germany*.

After some confused half-asleep wandering through the airport I stumbled onto a train and was approached by, naturally, an Australian girl who turned out to be a member of the scholarship group I´m in (though going to a different city), because the world is THAT SMALL. She thought I was either European or an experienced traveller, bless her naive cotton socks, and either way a safe bet to ask for directions to where we both, it turned out, needed to go. Unfortunate move on her part - cut to us half an hour later going backwards and fowards around the airport train system combining our teeny-tiny German vocabularies to figure out how to get from the airport to the city (a feat i now realise is actually very simple provided one is fully awake and can understand basic instructions in German). Having eventually managed it, automatic ticket machines and all, we relaxed briefly at the main station over a breakfast of coffee and croissants. I´d been looking forward to that coffee and croissant in Frankfurt (yes I can get them in Australia but it´s not the SAME...) for 3 months and it was everything I´d hoped for and more. I should perhaps clarify at this point that coffee in the train station is not the dreadful unglamourous disappointment one might think of when imagining central station in Brisbane. The main train stations (Hauptbahnhof) are miniature CITIES, i swear to god. They have at least 2 levels (underground train system) and are filled with shops, eateries, and often a burger king or two. One could spend days, and hundreds of dollars, in a Hauptbahnhof before venturing outside to their destination city.  

My Aussie buddy and I parted ways (she was off to Freiburg, which is were Basti and Evi are from, for those who know Basti - he´ll be back in Germany this week so I´ll get to see him soon, it'll be wonderful to see a familiar face, especially such a HAWT one!) and I sorted out my hotel before wandering over the bridge to in search of museum-y excitement.

Frankfurt is comparable to Brisbane in that it´s on a river (very nice), the south side of which is flanked by a cultural district (a strip of museums - architecture, film, art, history, communication). Of course that's where the comparison ends, but it was something like home at least. Frankfurt looks like this:

Or like this, if you're lying down on the bridge (or don't have any of that fan-cee photo editing software):

On crossing the bridge though I found an enormous obstruction between me and the museums - a huge market - you know how I am with shiny things... so after having made five-minute-friends with an artist, scarfed myself up (shiny) and escaped the rather confident advances of a short pakistani man who could scarce believe that a girl like me was single (you and my mother both, buddy) I eventually disentangled myself from the winding parade of cheap jackets and shiny things and made it into the warm safety of the German Architecture Museum - pretty AND informative! Swani, this one's for you -

They were having a competition in which kids were constructing leggo buildings. It had nothing on the leggo metropolis in your spare room, you could kick those kids' asses...

Most of the other museums (film, technology, communication, art... incredible.) were closed, alas, so I wandered back along the riverbank, past this guy, incidentally:

EXTREME BUSKING PHOTO

Little Go-Hard here was literally shrieking a foreign-language version of House of the Rising Sun. Passers-by were simultaneously confused and filled with joy. I think the homeless guys in the background were his groupies -

and into the CBD again, where I found Goetheplatz (Johann Wolfgang von Goethe - very important German thinker and doer of things - there´s a picture of the statue in the photo gallery, they´re bang up for the statues here - the only statue in Brisbane that springs readily to mind is that of Wally Lewis, so there´s a cultural comparison for you..) and, quite by accident, the red light district (which, for those of you who were concerned, did not include the block on which my hotel was situated) - a good 4-5 city blocks of vegas-like fluorescent tawdriness. Enormous posters of half-naked women in every window and hard working ladies of the night (or mid-afternoon, as was the case) on each corner, which begged the question, how does one peddle one´s wares when one´s wares are ensconced in three layers of clothing and a bulky winter jacket?? They were giving it a red-hot go though, bless them. The Germans, it seems, are not as 'british' (and when i say 'british' i of course mean stuffy, repressed and inhibited) about all things naughty as we are in Australia, case in point a tourism information pamphlet in which Frankfurt's night-time (or 1pm for those so inclined) delights were plugged by the mayor, no less. She (yes, SHE.) listed among Frankfurt's glittering attractions the red light district which offers 'plenty of amusements for lonely businessmen'. Honestly, what ever happened to lonely businessmen picking up lonely local women in bars?? At least once they´re in a bar they've removed a couple of layers of clothing!

Later that afternoon I was treated to a visit to the Old Town, which was incredibly beautiful. proper cobblestones and everything :-) almost more than my young aussie eyes, so accustomed to concrete and bitumen and 1960s architechture, could bear. Dark, barely visible photos in the gallery, more for my amusement than yours admittedly, because you can hardly see a bloody thing.

So that was day one in Germany. I felt nothing but excited and comfortable and overawed and the enormity and aesthetic appeal of it all. The evening finished with a clumsily-ordered meal at a proper italian restaurant and early to bed, as my arousal (sleep-wake) system was a wee bit confused.

More to come on the other days - i promise i won't torture you with a blow by blow account of every day, but the three days in frankfurt were particularly nice and I got plenty done, so I'd like to document it here even if only for the sake of my own memory. The days in Essen are all the same so you've little to fear. :-)

love to you all, miss your hugs.

*when I get to 100, I´m not coming home.

Tags: Sightseeing

Comments

1

WOW. the pictures are frackin' huge. sorry about that guys, the download time must be insane. i can't figure out how to make them smaller but i'll work on it.
xx

  eks Jan 24, 2007 5:57 AM

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