We are adventurous travelers, but, frankly, Frankfurt bored us. I know, I know, how could the largest financial center in continental Europe, bursting with bankers, be boring? Not to mention that the city also is home to one of the world’s busiest airports by passenger traffic (this we can attest to, having practically spent more time waiting for our luggage than we spent flying to Frankfurt)! What about that doesn’t attract tourists?
Our primary reason for being in the city this weekend was to attend the European Association of Music in International Schools middle school honors orchestra concert, this year hosted by the Frankfurt International School. We would have traveled to even less interesting cities to attend the performance, of course (like Zurich, for last year’s concert. Sorry, Zurich. You and Frankfurt could be sister cities.)
Once upon a time, Frankfurt had one of Germany’s largest medieval city centers. Allied Forces The U.S. dropped 12.000 tons of explosives on the city in 1944; with the exception of this half-timber Gasthaus in Römerberg, the historic heart of the city, Frankfurt was leveled.
A Saturday farmer’s market we came upon provided some pre-lunch entertainment. Apfelwein, made from fermented Sperling apples and yeast, is a Frankfurt specialty. Always eager to sample local specialties, we shared a glass. It tasted, well, like yeasty apple cider, and did nothing to endear Frankfurt to us.
Frankfurt tops Vienna, though, when it comes to its varieties of wurst.
For those not into pork, bacon, potatoes and spices stuffed into casings and grilled to perfection, there’s always another local snack food, the Bismarckbrötchen, a preparation of pickled herring in a sliced Kaiser roll.
Leaving the market we walked along the river into Sachsenhausen, a district of Frankfurt with many cider houses producing Apfelwein, not unlike Vienna’s heurigen (except with much less quaffable fermented fruit juice.)
Along Sachsenhausen’s river edge, a flohmarkt to rival Vienna’s Naschmarkt. Tony is not, but I am still regretting not purchasing two porcelain parakeet candlesticks that I spied along our walk.
The pedestrian bridge connecting Sachsenhausen to Frankfurt proper is on the list of “Lovelock Bridges” that span (no pun intended) six of our planet’s continents. Love ’em or hate ’em, I suspect the tourist draw to the locks means they are here to stay.
Some lovers go big.
Despite that we found Frankfurt on its whole to be mundane, we did enjoy a memorable dinner at a Sicilian trattoria, and were thrilled to see a continental breakfast at our hotel that evoked more than the European and American continents. Spicy samosas! Mie goreng! Briny Greek olives! And more!