During my recent visit to Germany, we took a day-and-a-half-trip to Frankfurt am Main, Germany’s financial capital and fifth largest city. I had very mixed feelings. I had a really nice time there, walking around between shining skyscrapers and the medieval old town, weaving in and out of tourists and men in pinstripes. But there was also an awful lot of poverty around: homeless people sleeping in the streets, many of whom clearly had substance abuse issues, and a small, dreary red light district right at the foot of some of the biggest bank buildings. It was pretty terrible to see such disparity in wealth so close up.
That serious point made, they DO have some nice buildings. Our walk through town can be divided into two sections. First, new:
That last one is from outside the European Central Bank. I know I look a bit like a weird puppet, but believe it or not, this was the best of several shots. Some of you over on other continents might not understand why I felt the need to photograph skyscrapers, but they’re actually quite rare here – some European cities have construction bans that prevent anything being built that will significantly change the historic skyline, and, well, lots of our cities are really old, and so are all the main buildings. So Frankfurt is something of an oddity on our little continent – hence the pictures.
What makes Frankfurt even more of an oddity is that there is also an Altstadt, or old town:
Die Römer, Frankfurt’s beautiful medieval town hall.
This sign commemorates the first ever German parliament. If you study German history, you’ll hear about the “revolutions” of 1848, although I should warn you that there is a lot less action and a lot more middle class liberal men talking than the the word revolution implies. They did want a united, democratic Germany though, and that’s how this parliament came to be set up in Frankfurt.
Here’s me and my mate Schiller. We’re just having a chat about Weimar Classicism.
The traditional drink here is Apfelwein, literally “apple wine”. You can have it sweet or sour. I tried it sweet, and I wasn’t sure how I felt about it – I mean, I like cider, but it has a different taste from any ciders I’ve tried. It’s definitely worth a go if you’re in the area – make sure to report back!
I have more photos, but I feel like I might be crossing the line from “informative and interesting” to “incredibly self-indulgent”, so I will leave you with two final pictures of the main station: