Howard and I arrived in Frankfurt at night on August 30th. We walked through the dark to our hotel, which was a little off the beaten path, and called it a night. The following morning, I let my student of the EuroRail system take a test to find his way to the Airport to meet my mom on arrival very early in the morning. When two hours had gone by and I had not heard from either, I began to fear that my dad had taken a wrong turn or took the S-Bahn in the wrong direction, but they arrived only a short while later, and my fears dissipated. After a hard month of work back in the States, my mom wanted to start her German vacation with a nap, so Howard and I took off to find out what Frankfurt was about for a few hours before returning to wake my mom to see the city with her.
Frankfurt am Main reminded me quite a bit of Rotterdam in The Netherlands. It was bombed very heavily during the War, and has been rebuilt as a major commerce city. Unlike the spread-out skyscrapers of Rotterdam, however, Frankfurt has a centralized financial district, giving it a very similar feel to an American city.
Old Town Square featured a few half-timber-esque buildings were definitely the attention-getter for my family. My parents would depart the next day for a two-week German roadtrip where they would see entire towns built like this, but this was the only time I saw such architecture.
The Cathedrals in Frankfurt and Mainz both were built with a type of sandstone, giving them a pretty unique red tint.
The next morning, my parents departed on the aforementioned roadtrip, and I parted ways with them to meet up with my awesome friend Julia. Similar to me, Julia literally just completed University by completing her diploma, and took me on a great tour of Frankfurt, where I continually asked the questions my parents had generated the day before. She answered most of my questions, and even took me to a great place to view the city skyline atop the most radical mall I have ever seen.
Two dining experiences I had in Frankfurt stole the show. While eating lunch at a restaurant in the tower pictured below, my mom went to the restroom while Howard and I enjoyed a sunny afternoon full of people strolling by. The had been numerous bees that followed us around that day, and one suddenly flew into my hair. I batted at it, and my arm motion accidentally hit the glass out of my other hand, shattering it on the table. My father thought I was fainting and grabbed me, making sure I was OK, while I sat stunned I had broken the peaceful afternoon with a suddenly shattered beer glass. The cute waitresses teased me as they cleaned it up, but I still have trouble understanding how I suddenly became so clumsy.
The next day, Julia was very excited to take me to a chain restaurant known as “Best Worscht In Town.” The currywurst at these places is infamous for the level of spiciness you can have, and is rated on a scale of “A” to “F”. Normally, the restaurant does not allow someone to try the “F” level before trying at least an “E” or a “D,” but Julia was able to convince the cashier that I was an American stupid enough to jump straight to the “F” level, which was served with a big smile from our server.
The first bite was similar to when you get a little too much wasabi on your sushi, with a rush of pins and needles to the nostrils. I tried to tell Julia “It’s spicy, but not too bad,” but every time I got to “spicy,” I hiccuped (two bites later the hiccups subsided). I got almost all of the sausage down, but the last bite slipped off the miniature plastic fork and onto the ground. Julia was in awe and only slightly disappointed about the last bite, but also pretty stoked I got most of it down. I got some funny looks from her friends in Mainz when I was introduced as “Jon, who studied abroad with Julia in Sweden, and had level F at Best Worscht in Town.”
Julia and I headed over to the river where we caught up on the last three years, and then headed to the train station to stop number two for my Germany extravaganza: Mainz.