After taking line 11 from the camp-site at Offenbach to Frankfurt, we got off at st. Paul’s Church. We were immediately completely dazzled by the beautiful old buildings in this part of Frankfurt, called Altstadt (the Old Town). We both love the building style from the middle-age. Back when there were the time and the desire to build houses with all kinds of artistic woodwork. The square at st. Paul’s Church is full of cafes where you can enjoy, a cup of coffee while studying people, street musicians, and jugglers.
One of the classic German things to eat is of course Pretzels. They come in many varieties either as sweet or salty. The original Pretzel is a large soft bread, but they also come in a small, crisp snack version. The sweet versions can be with tastes like vanilla or cinnamon and the salty versions can be either natural or with toppings such as spices and herbs. Or my favorite: with lots of cheese.
There are a lot of legends about the Pretzel. One legend tells, that the Benedictine monks used the Pretzel as a reward for children who said their prayers and that the Pretzel shape resembles two arms in prayer. Another legend tells, that the Pretzel was invented by a bad baker, who was thrown in jail by the king and would only be pardoned if he came up with new and exceptionally good bread. So he made the Pretzel.
No matter who invented the Pretzel and why, it tastes great with a glass of cold, German beer.
Stalls and markets.
The river Main creates a border between the old city (Altstadt) and the newer part across the river. As we went further along Main, we walked through a street, where various artists sat in their stalls and made crafts and art on site. Of course, it was also possible to buy already manufactured art, but if you had specific wishes about colors and design, things were done while you were waiting. We really fell in love, with the artwork from a guy, who made things out of reclaimed metal. We didn’t get to see it, but there are also flee markets and food markets by the river and in the city. Check out the dates in the market calendar.
Nature in the city.
Along the Main, on a sunny day, there are a lot of people enjoying each other’s company. Meeting with family and friends seems popular along the river. Either as a group or two-and-two. Some also sit alone on a bench reading a book, enjoying just being there. On the whole, there is a good atmosphere along the river. There are also a lot of beautiful flowers and blooming trees and in fact, we even saw geese walking around the many green areas.
On one of the bridges we crossed, there were a number of love-padlocks on the railing and in the middle of the bridge stood 3 men and jammed. It was just so nice to be standing there in the sun, listening to music, while looking at all the life, there was on the river itself as well.
One of Europe’s art meccas.
In almost all squares of the old town, there is some kind of art. Everything from abstract sculptures to beautiful statues. We are not so much into the abstract part, but we really enjoyed studying the statues. Art and culture is a huge part of Frankfurt. Both in the old and the new part of town. We mostly like to look at art in the streets, but if you are into museums, theaters, and exhibitions, Frankfurt is the place to visit. Whether you are looking for classical European art, that you will find at the Städel Museum or Andy Warhol at the Museum of Modern Art.
Shopping in Frankfurt.
For us, shopping in Frankfurt is nothing special. People with the urge for shopping might see it differently though. There are shopping malls, exclusive shops, and small independent shops, along with the classic chains you find all over Europe. We also ended up on a street (which led to the main train station), which can be referred to as Frankfurt’s Red Light District. We can only advise people to stay away from this street (unless you are looking for that kind of fun of course). There is a bad smell plus drugs and prostitution, monitored by criminals and pimps. In addition, the street seems like it’s mostly for men seeking men. We are not at all uptight, but there are “better” areas like this in other cities.
A surreal mix.
However, there is one other thing that is incredibly fascinating about Frankfurt: The way in which they mix old buildings, with the brand new and streamlined. Frankfurt has its own skyline (sometimes referred to as Mainhatten) and although we are not so much into modern buildings, the mix was incredibly beautiful. It looked almost photo-shopped or misplaced, but still amazing.
Something for everyone.
Frankfurt am Main is definitely worth a visit. It’s a beautiful town, with lots of street artists, great cafes and a lot to see. For non-cultural people like us, a day or two is enough to see it all though. But if you are interested in art, museums and architecture it’s another matter. Then you can spend weeks exploring this German sweet-spot. And as always, the Germans themselves are of course both kind and accommodating.
– Text and photos: Eva // Adding, photos and photo editing: Malthe