As I was heading out of the Frankfurt train station, my big city instincts fully ablaze, I was approached by a young man with a thick Bavarian accent and a sob story about needing just 30 euros or so to get home. I told him (in German) that I was foreign and didn’t understand him.
“The f**k you didn’t,” he said, but moved on. For once, I was amused. In just 9 days, I’d come a long way from Fräulein Heidelbergerbürgerin and her refusal to speak anything but euro-English with a German-incapable ‘tard like myself.
Frankfurt is rather underrated, especially by people who come to Germany to well, experience Germany at its fullest. Frankfurt is one of the few (perhaps the only) German cities that decided to modernize rather than rebuild after it was bombed to smithereens in World War II. Its downtown has modern skyscrapers in which the business of trade, which has been Frankfurt’s industry since at least the 1300s, goes on. And it’s also spectacularly international: whatever language you speak, you’ll find it spoken here, and it’s a mistake to assume anyone to be limited to any one language. You can find any cuisine you want, whether it’s German, Cambodian, Greek or whatever else. Heck, there was even a Burger King at the train station, and unlike the rest of Germany, it took Visa.
And, honestly, after having had such an awesome, great time with full force Germany, I was just fine with some Germany lite. Just like Germany, Frankfurt had old churches, like the Church of the Three Kings
And a big cathedral, the one piece of Frankfurt that hadn’t been bombed, but which at this moment, was undergoing some renovation:
It had Roman ruins, and if you can believe it, after having visited Roman ruins from Dossenheim to Cologne, I was actually Roman ruin’d out for the moment. Frankfurt kept its Romans ruins to a minimum, just enough to admire for a moment:
I visited the Frankfurt City Museum, which was rather dull compared to the spunky, personality-filled Cologne City Museum, but it did its job in educating me about the city’s history. It’s been an international center of trade and commerce since long, long before there was an airport, and numismatists would love the old coin collection. I walked into a medieval chapel remnant and an old king started reciting some love poetry he’d written to me:
Oh, those charming Germans! Alas, I could understand Saxons and Bavarians by this time, but I still wasn’t fluent enough to understand medieval German.
Nearby, some of the old city has been restored, but it’s not that exciting when you find out it’s all fake reproductions, not original treasures like the 600 and 700-year-old restaurants I’d been in along the Rhein River.
The skyscrapers in the back are the real Frankfurt, and you need to appreciate it for its modern internationality.
Personally, I loved Frankfurt, especially along the river Main, along which is also a row of excellent museums. It was an excellent place to end my fabulous German vacation, and to start thinking about going home.