Monday, August 30, 2010

Frankfurt 2010 - 7

August 27 (Freitag) - I just learned the other day that they operate those huge cranes by remote control.  Amazing!

Susan arrives from San Francisco today.  When it came time for us to go to the airport to meet her, it was pouring, so we hailed a taxi.  By the time we got there, of course, the rain had stopped.  We thought we were going to be late because according to the schedule she gave Robb, her plane was due in around 09h45, but she was still in Customs when we got there.  When we went out to get the taxi back to the hotel, it was pouring again.

We had all skipped breakfast, so we walked over to the bahnhof.  We went up to the Cosmopolitan where they were having a mid-day brunch.  I don't normally eat lunch, but the spread they had laid out was just too wonderful to pass up.  I'm not even sure what I had, but it was so good.  And then we had dessert.  I sampled four different things, the only thing I actually recognised was the flan and it was the best I've had in some time.  I won't even discuss how much Robb and Susan ate, but oye!   Somehow, Susan managed to meet Sylvia Buck, the Reservation and Event Assistant at the Cosmo, who also manages the Hot Club in Sachsenhausen.  They had quite a conversation which ended with us making a 'date' to go to the club in the evening.

We were going to go to the Zeil, but I talked them into coming back to the hotel which turned out to be a great idea, because once we got back, everyone realized how tired they were.  Susan was especially tired after the long flight.

After the huge brunch, no one could even think about eating more, so we went down to the hotel bar with the intent of having one drink and then heading to the club.  As usual, it didn't work out that way.  Susan and Apo hit it off immediately because she is a wine consultant, and in fact has set up some kind of winery thing for us in Spain.  Also at the bar was a youngish guy from India (Arun) with whom we became companions and drinking buddies.  Apo generously gave us all a Kir Royal.  He almost left out Arun, but I asked, "What about our friend?", and he included him in the mix.  For all you people who think the world is in deep trouble because of human destruction and waste, you'll be pleased to know Arun is one of you.  After the Kir Royal, Apo treated us to a grappas-type drink that he makes for "special people" (his phrase).  We felt privileged to be included in that group.  We also met the guy who will be the restaurant chef, when and if the restaurant ever opens.

Anyway, with all that going on, it was after 22h00 when we finally left for the Hot Club.  I went reluctantly because it was already late and the construction crew would be waking us bright and early, and also because I wasn't sure I could handle a late night trek.  Add to that the fact that we only had a very general idea of where the place was located.

But we trudged down to the tram station, caught the 16 to the Sudbahnhof (South train station) and hopped aboard the 14 tram to the general area of the club.  The first thing we did was approach some people and ask directions to the street.  They obligingly pointed us in the right direction and we sat off.  We walked quite a bit and still hadn't found the street, so we stopped a group of young guys and girls and with the help of their smartphones and GPS, we found the street and the club.
The club was somewhat disappointing because we had heard that it was a happening place, but in fact it was a tiny place with only a few customers.  But Sylvia welcomed us warmly, remembering us from earlier in the day, and we had a very nice time.

Sometime after midnight, we grabbed a taxi back to the hotel.

August 28 (Samtag) - Up at the crack of dawn (Okay, around 09h00).  Did our morning stuff and went to breakfast.  Abdul informed us that Susan had already been there asking about us.  I guess she's an early person.

The first thing on our agenda today, was to go back to the club to get my glasses that had fallen out of my jacket (just like they had when we returned from Paris last January).  I called last night and they told me they had found them and I could retrieve them today.  We discovered that if we had stayed on the tram for one more stop, we wouldn't have to walk for miles.  We got to the club okay, but it was closed and wouldn't open until 18h00.

On our way back to the tram, we stopped at a tiny little coffee shop, run by a woman who had just taken it over two weeks ago.  She, like most of the people here, was super nice.  She even treated us to a cake she had just taken from the oven because she said she wanted our opinion.  It was delicious, we told her and she was pleased.  Susan is a super gregarious type.  She will talk to anyone and everyone and within minutes they are old friends.  So we chatted for quite some time.

Since we were on Sachsenhauser Ufer, and there are about thirteen museums of various kinds within a small area, we decided to catch the 46 bus and go to the main art museum.  Unfortunately, the Frankfurt Yacht Klub was having a big party of some sort and the 46 was not stopping at any of the stops to which we wanted to go.  I said it couldn't be that far, and if we walked slowly, it would not be a problem so we sat off.  The first place to which we came was the Ikonen Museum (the building that looks like a church) at which we found that the two main museums to which we wanted to go (the Städel and the Deutsches Architekturmuseum) were closed until next year.  The Ikonen was all religious paintings, sculptures and engravings from Russian artists and a few by Italian artists.

We left there and walked to the Portikus Museum, on an island in the middle of the Main River, which is supposed to be modern art by the students at the Städel, but it was in the process of being renovated, so we saw nothing, but I did get a nice shot of the Ikonen from a window in the stairwell.  We crossed over to the other side of the river.  Susan went to the Jewish Museum, while Robb and I walked to the Birmingham Pub ad drank a couple of biers while eating great French fries.  A little over an hour later, Susan showed up.  She drank a glass of white wine.  Robb and I had another bier.

Since it was just up the street, we walked to the Zeil because they both wanted to go to a store named New Yorker.  Susan had a friend who had bought some low-rise jeans there and she was enamored of them.  We spent quite a long time in the store, during which Robb and I had to make a run to the toilets in MyZeil, just across the walkway.  We returned and Robb bought a couple scarves.  I found a great jacket with pockets that zipper, so no more lost glasses for me.

We left the Zeil.  Susan insisted on going to a concert at the Ikonen, Robb and I, knowing how cold it was going to be, caught the 12 tram back to Baseler Platz, where we caught the 16 to the Südbahnhof.  There we hopped aboard the 14 and rode to Frankensteiner Platz.  We walked to the Hot Club, I got my glasses and we walked to the Frankfurt Hard Rock Cafe.  It was a huge disappointment and probably the worst Hard Rock Cafe we've ever entered.  Our purpose had been to buy a T-shirt, but they had no souvenirs at all.  We walked to the tram station and, while we were sitting there freezing our asses off, the Bier Bike came by.  As usual, it was full of drunken revelers.  Our tram finally arrived and we made the trip back to the hotel.

We waited until 21h30 for Susan, finally determining that she was either not coming or had gotten lost.  I left a note on her door and we went to Gaylord India Restaurant, figuring if she did show up, that would be the easiest place for her to find.  We had barely been served when she arrived.  The concert had been longer that any of us had anticipated and there was some kind of wine and snack thing afterwards.  It would have been nice if Robb and I could have gone, but there was no way we could have stood the cold.

August 29 (Sonntag) - It was after 10h00 when we awoke to a very cold Frankfurt.  We got ourselves ready to go and called Susan, who said she would join us in the breakfast room.  The breakfast room was freezing because Abdul had the door to the kitchen open and there was a rather stiff breeze blowig through.  When we got down to Robb's last cup of coffee, we took his stuff and went into the bar where it was a little warmer.  Susan never did show up until we had already been back in our room for a while.

Today, she and Robb are going to a museum.  I had been planning to ride the 14 tram end to end and that's what I'm doing.  Don't get me wrong, I think it's great that she and Robb can go out and do things while I stay behind and try to find some energy, but I am not going to give up doing the things we had planned.

So I did my tram trek and had a really good time.  It's actually somewhat better to travel on the trams as a single because you're pretty much assured a seat.  
We had all agreed to go to the concert at the Ikonen Museum (Robb and Susan had been wrong about it being outside.  In their defense, it did say Open Air Koncert.) which began at 17h00 and it was already 16h00.  Instead of completing the 14 ride, I got off and jumped on the 11, because I figured it would get me back to the hotel faster.  As the tram was sitting across the street from the Birmingham Pub, Robb called and asked me to meet them at Willy Brandt Platz.  That was cool because it was only two stops away.  I got off the tram and to my surprise they got off the same tram. They were only a car ahead of me.  We walked down to the river and made a right to the Jüdisches Museum.  We toured that, then Robb and I headed for the Ikonen while Susan went to get some pictures that she and Robb had made at another place.

The concert at the Ikonen was very good and I videoed a couple minutes of the pianist accompanying a baritone singing Shumann.  The picture sucks, but the sound seems to be okay.  That was followed by a very good quartet.  The next part of the concert was all compositions by Chopin.  They started with one of my favorite nocturnes.  Then the pianist rejoined the quartet.  They did several numbers and then a cute female soprano.  All in all, it was well worth the cost of admission.  Okay, that was kind of an inside joke, because the cost of all the museums today was covered by the €4 we paid for admission to the Ikonen yesterday.  We got a button that would serve as our pass (it's a good thing I didn't just toss it into the suitcase like I normally would have done, otherwise I would have had to pay twice).  Of course, at the intermission between the Shumann and Chopin, we went out to the lobby had a glass of champagne.  We're going to be so spoiled when we leave Germany.

For dinner, we took a taxi to Schweiser Straße and a place named Adolf Wagner.  It was super crodwed and we even ran into the chinese waiter from the Cosmopolitan, who was there with his family.  Needless to say, we were expecting great things, but it wasn't all that good.

When we got back to the hotel, we met a guy from California (Dave) who had just arrived in Frankfurt this afternoon.  We had a nice chat with him about his travels.  It seems he and his friends have just about covered every part of Europe.  He said they were going to Berlin in a day or so and then to Paris.  Part of traveling is the fun of meeting others regardless from which country they originate.

You can see all the Frankfurt pictures below (there are a lot of pictures which I haven't included in the entries).

Bis zum nächsten mal, meine Freunde

Friday, August 27, 2010

Frankfurt 2010 - 6

August 23 (Montag) - Cloudy and cooler and rain.

For the past four days or so, Abdul has been bringing us various juices in wine glasses.  We can see the other guests asking each other, "Who the hell are these guys?"

I like watching the guys working on the building next door and I'm constantly amazed at the amount of work they get done in a day.  Unfortunately, there are days like today when the noise level borders on unbearable.

And speaking of people working, yesterday as we left the hotel, we saw a guy preparing to tow a car.  It was the strangest towing setup I've ever seen.  There were three girls standing there watching, one of them was the owner.  She said they had just driven 250 kilometers and now it won't start, so the guy is taking it to the shop.  It should be ready in five days, but they're not waiting.  They already have another car and are going home, the car will be delivered to them.  It has something to do with a program for people with children, but I didn't quite get how it works.

And that's another thing, why can't they make shoelaces that aren't three times longer than necessary?

We caught the tram up to the Zeil where we had iteded to go to the H & M store, but I had seen a C & A just across from the tram station and we like C & A (it's a store, what's not to like?) so we bopped on over there.  Robb was hoping to buy a light jacket like the one I bought in Toulouse several years ago.  They seem to have switched from their fall line to their winter stuff, and the closest thing he could get was fleece-like jacket. We were simply amazed at the prices.  His jacket was just €19.  I bought two very  nice shirts for €4.50 each and Robb bought me a long-sleeve shirt for only €9.

It was raining lightly when we left the store to await the tram.  When it came, we got separated.  I found a double seat in the back, but Robb was no where to be seen.  A guy with a young boy tried to sit the boy across from me and take the seat next to me.  I was sure Robb was on his way, so I wouldn't let they guy have the seat.  When I saw Robb going the other way, I shrugged and offered the seat to the guy, but I guess he was pissed and wouldn't take it.  He and the boy eventually moved to other seats where they could sit across from each other.  I've seen parents do that a lot here and I haven't a clue what it's about, but they'll take up four seats just so they can do it.

Robb had an appointment at the apotheke (pharmacy, again not like a US drug store) but when the stop came up, I wasn't sure he would know where to get off.  I got off anyway and found him standing there waiting.  He got his stuff at the apotheke and we went next door to a variety place where we both bought itty-bitty umbrellas for €2.50 each, because the rain had gotten heavier.  Shortly after we entered the room, the rain stopped and the sun came out.
It rained off and on, hard and light, for the rest of the evening.  A little after 20h00 we went to dinner at the Cosmopolitan in the bahnhof.  We both had the "special", salmon with potatoes and a small green salad.  We drank Pinot Grigio.  The waiter tonight was a Chinese guy.  They closed early for some reason, but we took our wine and sat at one of the outside tables, from which we had a fantastic view of the train station, the trains and the people coming and going.  Have I mentioned how much I like sitting in European train stations and watching the ebb and flow of the trains and the passengers?

After we finished our wine, we took the elevator down top the main level and walked a while.  I even dared to board an ICEand take a picture.  Then we boarded a local double-decker.  I say we dared to board those trains because they don't stay in the station for any more than twenty to thirty minutes.  On the way out, we stopped to check the wetter (weather) on theinfoscreen.

August 24 (Dienstag) - Today we took the river cruise we almost took the other day.  It was coolish and we thought it might rain, but it turned into a fantastically beautiful day.  We bought our tickets and awaited the arrival of the boat.  The cruise was to last 100 minutes, but it was better than two hours in fact.  We left the dock and headed upriver.  They sell food and drinks on the boat, so when the waitress came, I ordered two small bottles of champagne.  We really enjoyed drinking the wine while cruising.  The boat docked at a famous hotel/restaurant where a number of people got off.  They will have to await the next boat to get back.  There are way too many pictures to post a comment about each one, so I'm going to point you to the Main Cruise set. 

For dinner, we hopped the number 16 tram and rode to Schweizer Straße in Sachsenhausen and Trattoria Casa Mia.  We both had the Bucatini all'Amatriciana.  If you're not familiar with it, bucatini is like a very thick spaghetti.  It was excellent.  The wait staff was also excellent.  They were mostly young Italian girls who changed languages as easily as most people change their minds.  It was very interesting to hear.  The girl who waited on our table easily switched between Italian, German, French and English.  We drank pinot grigio.  After dinner we walked around a bit but not for long because it was quite chilly and there was a brisk wind.  Of course, you wouldn't have known that by looking at all the people in short sleeves, drinking and eating on thr terraces at the many restaurants we passed.   

August 25 (Mittwoch) - Aother cool but sunny day.

We went back to Sachsenhausen today and walked around for a few hours, mostly on Schweizer Straße, but a few of the side streets also.  We saw some funny things like this ear and TeeDeUm.  There are a lot of very interesting buildings (Sachs,Sachs2Sachs3Sachs4Sachs5).  There were some interesting details like this balcony where they were flying the German flag.  The French connection continued with Le CaféLa  Maison du Pain and the Paris Cafe.  We saw a couple of great cheese shops (Käse BeckerKäse Becker2).  We had a snack at Le Café because we saw these beautiful pastries.  Just next door was a place that sold delicious looking salads.  We also saw what might be the last Woolworth store in the world, where we saw this neat thing for checking the price of something you want to buy.  Robb said he has seen these at Macy's, but they're new to me.

Speaking of Robb, he bought a really great man-bag at Woolworth.  Am I jealous?  You bet, and I will have one tomorrow.

We went back to Sachsenhausen for dinner at Zum Gemalten Haus.  It's interesting because you have to enter this part that looks like an alley. Then you come to wide place in the alley, and then you enter the restaurant.  From our seat this is one of the pictures we could see.   We both had Russische Eier mit Fleischsalat (Russian Eggs with Meat Salad).  It was fantastic!  Robb told me his father used to make this all the time, but he never made it when I was there.  Robb drank apfelwein and I drank (surprise!) champagne.  Champagne is so inexpensive here, I'm almost sorry we have to go to Spain in about eight days.  But the REAL excitement of the night happened when a guy came to our eight seat table and asked if it was okay to join us.  I said, yes of course.  His name was Willgo (or something close to that).  He was here on business from München and he spoke very little English.  The three of us had a great time.  He has never been to the US but he loves Bavaria and recommended it to us as the best place inn Germany to live.  Then he bought a serving of handkasse (hand cheese), which Robb said tasted terrible, but when he offered it to me,  I thought it was quite tasty.  When Robb tried his portion, he agreed and said it was a lot better than he remembered.  All too soon, Willgo had to leave and we said auf wiedersehn.  Shortly after, we left also.  I LOVE nights like this and hope we have more, both here and in Spain.

August 26 (Donnertag) - We boarded the 16 tram and went to Sachsenhausen.  Got off the tram and walked to Woolworth where I bought my "Bob Bag".  We then went to Scheckler, which I had mistakenly remembered as a realtor.  It's actually the closest thing they have over here to an American drug store with hair, shaving, beauty stuff as well as a small assortment of snack stuff.

We left and walked around a bit.  We saw some interesting things a Pakistanisch restaurant, a giant ice cream cone, an Asia Snack and this house where the owner obviously takes 'going green' very seriously.

We caught the 15 tram, but only went a couple of stops and got off because it was just too crowded.  We finally got one that wasn't quite as crowded and rode to the end of the line, where we got off and walked to the one already sitting there and rode back the way we had come.  It was kind of disappointing because it was almost exactly the same route the 16 tram had taken the other day.  I do wonder why they would have two trams covering the same area when there are areas to which there is no tram service, like the Alte Oper (old Opera).  I guess if we want to see it, we will have to walk.

We had planned to go to Sachsenhausen for dinner, but as we were getting ready to leave, it began to pour.  It stopped for a few minutes and our hopes were raised but soon dashed as it startig coming down again.  So it was dinner at Gaylord.  We are blessed that it is such a good restaurant.  I had Butter Chicken, although one would be hard-pressed to distinguish the butter.  Even so, it was very good, as we have come to expect of Gaylord.  Robb had a lamb dish that was extremely spicey.

Susan arrives tomorrow.  We are going to take the S-bahn to the airport to meet her, and we'll probably return by taxi.

You can see all the Frankfurt pictures here - Frankfurt Flickr
Bis zum nächsten mal, meine Freunde

Monday, August 23, 2010

Frankfurt 2010 - 5

August 20 (Freitag) - It appears to be another beautiful day in the neighborhood.  The weather girl said it's going to be a really warm one.

Here's another reason to love Frankfurt: it's very handicapped friendly.  Every street corner has a ramp, and places where there are steps, have wheelchair ramps.  Most of the metro stops have escalators and elevators.

After only two and a half weeks, we've learned the breakfast waiter's name is Abdul and he is from Afghanistan.

We started the day by photographing this entrance to a courtyard.  When I first saw it, I thought, just like Paris.  I had to cross the strassenbahn tracks to get the shot.  Luckily, no trams came by while I was there.  Then I shot some building details.  I've been looking forward to seeing the Roman ruins since we got here and today the weather made that possible.  Except for it's antiquity, it's not that impressive, but here are a couple of shots: one, two.  There is a model of what the ruins looked like before they were ruins and a model of what is there now.

After that, we walked over to check out the Römer Dom (the oldest cathedral in Frankfurt), on the way passing this store that seems to deal only in statues of cats, includig a chess set of cats and dogs.  At the Dom I shot the candles (I tried three times and none of them were very good, so I kept the least terrible), the entrance and a building just behind it, but part of it.

Then we walked down to the river where we could see a good number of the high-rises downtown.  We saw a tour boat and came close to buying a ticket.  But just as we were getting set to do that, a couple showed up with a tiny baby and that put the nix on that idea.  However, there is a pedestrian bridge (a passerelle in France) and we took the elevator up to it, from where I saw this barge coming up the river.  Apparently, there is a lot of river traffic on the Main, because in the few minutes we were there, we saw several barges going in both directions.

Back on level ground, we saw this façade on a place that was being renovated, just up the street from LeonHardtkirsch.

We managed to walk up to Berliner Strasse, passing this interesting trio, one of whom I assume is Leon Hardt, where I shot this building and its entrance.  Then we came to another courtyard entrance.  Just beyond that was this obelisk next to Paulkirsch, a Ratskeller sign that Robb liked because of the Bundesadler (the German Eagle), and the first mail box we've seen, from which you can buy stamps or books of stamps, if you have enough coins, or a European credit/debit card.  American cards will not work because they don't have the smart chip.  They used to have them, but the credit card companies in the US decided they weren't rippping us off enough so they could no longer afford to make them.

We caught the tram which rode us past this building and this metro station.  The end of line was Hugo-Junkers-Strasse/Schleife.  On the return trip I saw this rather good graffiti.

We decided to get off and go to the Birmingham Pub for a couple of biers, and we saw the Judisches Museum just across the street that we hadn't even noticed the last time we were here.  It is a huge building.  In the pub, I noticed, and liked, this "coffee" thing.  It's ceramic.  I spent most of my time in the pub watching a bike race.  Ever since the last Tour de France, I've gotten into that.

Dinner tonight at New China Town, We both had duck.  Mine came with curried vegetables, Robb's with regular vegetables.  Robb drank green tea, I drank a Mini Mumm's (champagne).  The food was fantastically good.  Robb couldn't quite get the hang of chop sticks (he used to be very good with them) but I had no trouble.  Unlike France, in Germany you can take home any left-over food.  Sadly, we were half way back to the hotel when I remembered there is no way to heat the food I'm taking home, so I gave it to a woman who sits on the sidewalk just a few feet from O'Reilly's.  She seemed pleased.

Every bar that has a big screen TV is crowded with excited sports fans because tonight was opening night of the Bundesliga, which as far as I can make out is the German soccer teams vying for the national championship title.

We didn't make it to the first night of the Kaiserstrassenfest because Robb wasn't feeling up to it.  But we could hear the explosion of thefireworks and we could see the flashes of light.  It's only a couple of blocks from the hotel.  According to some signs I've seen aroud the city, several neighborhoods will have their own fest, but none will be held at the same time.

August 21 (Samtag) - The sun has graced us with another appearance today.  We started by going to one of those variety stores that I love where I bought a suitcase.  It's a little smaller than I thought (and hoped) but it has four wheels instead of two, so you can just push it along easily instead of having to drag it.  Then, we went over to the "Department Store".  Robb is still looking for his Bundesadler in silver.  He did't find it but I bought a T-shirt.  We went back to pick up my suitcase and I bought a nice digital travel clock, and I told Robb to stop me if I try to buy aything else today.

And the guy where I bought the suitcase and travel clock, can you guess where he's from?  What, Afghanistan?  Aw, somebody told you.  Between the Afghanistanis, the Pakistanis and the African blacks, I think the only actual German we've met so far, has been the guy at Baseler Eck.

Robb wanted to go back to the shop we had visited yesterday and try to bargain for the Bundesadler he had seen.  Yesterday the clerk (an Oriental guy) told him he would deduct 20%.  Robb thought he could bargain it down further.  He did, he managed to get it for less than half the original price.

On the way to the shop, we stopped at a toystore at which I bought a present for Robb's niece's husband and had it shipped to our apartment in Fort La De Da.  Then we went next door to Steinernes Haus and made a reservation for dinner.

After that, we started for the shop with the Bundesadler (I've already told you the outcome), but on the way, we stopped at a biergarten where Robb had another of those really good pizzas.  The waitress (actual German girl I think) told us the cheese is gouda with cream and other ingredients she doesn't know.  The biergarten is just next door to the Dom.  I got a shot from the side and one of a sculpture in a side garden.  Across the street, I noticed this building with an interesting door and the wall decoration on the building next door to that.

On the way back to the hotel, I first saw this building and then a Renault sports car.
Dear Paris Lovers, you know how the Parisians HATE to make change, even for something as small as a 5 euro bill?  They don't even blink when yoiu hand them a 50 euro bill in Germany.

Dinner at Steinernes Haus could have been great in a very neatly decorated place, but it turned into a disaster.  Robb, who was wearing a hat, a jacket and a scarf, complained that the A/C was hitting him in the back of his head.  I offered to change places with him or move to another table, but the waiter decided we should stay there and he would turn off the air.  I disagreed with that solution because I feared the place would become an oven.  And within only minutes, it did.  We asked the waiter to turn the air on but he claimed he couldn't because it was on a timer.  Well, a timer works both ways, so as far as I'm concerned he lied.  Not to mention that I heard him talking to another customer about the "auslanders" (foreigners).  Robb stayed but I got up and left.

I was going to go back to the hotel, but instead, I walked down to the Miller Galerie where I saw these two tall wooden sculptures.  At first, I could see how to tell if they were male or female.  And then, I saw IT. I went across the street and got a raspberry gelato.  While I was eating my gelato, a couple of Bier Bikes came by, full of raucous bier drinkers singing and yelling as they are wont to do.  Bier Bikes are like wagon thingies that people sit on and drink bier, sing at the top of their voices, while actually pedaling and moving the vehicle.  I'll try to get a video before we leave.  About twenty minutes later Robb called and said that they wouldn't accept his credit card and he didn't have enough cash.  So, I reluctantly returned to save him.  It will be a cold day in hell before I enter that place again.

On the return trip to the hotel, we got off on Münchener Strasse and walked over to Kaiserstrasse, because it was the second night of the street fest.  It was jammed with people.  The first music venue we encountered was the African group, but they finished before we got there and, in spite of urging from the crowd, would play no more.  The street was lined on both sides with many, many food stalls and several jewelry and clothing places.  There was one stall that was asking for support for something, but I really couldn't tell what it was.  I think it might have been to do about drunk driving, but as I stated, I'm not certain.  And there was this delicious candy stand.

The second musical show was a one man thing (might have been Marc Christopher).  Whoever he was, he was excellent and if you weren't seeing him live, you would never have guessed it was just one elderly guy.

We continued down the street, stopping at various stalls to have a look.  The last musical show was a super good rock band which I think was the Printhouse Band.  They were really rocking the crowd and it was the largest crowd we had seen.  I tried to find them on You Tube, but there was nothing there so you'll just have to do with the short video I made.  Their last performance was a medley of Superstition and a Stones' song, the name of which eludes me.  When it was over, the crowd was chanting "play, play, play" but the festival officials would not let them do any more, because it was late (just after 23h00).

August 22 (Sonnntag) - A few more clouds today, possible showers.

You know how hotels always supply those little soaps and shampoos and stuff?  Well, here at the National, they supply this soap for both hand and shower.

We thought we might take a river cruise today, but when we saw the crowds, we decided to put it off until another time  Of course, to get there we had to go to the Römer Platz again. This time, I took my video camera.  I stood by the fountain near the center and panned all the way around. You can see how crowded it is and how there are many more than three restaurants (my first opinion).  You can see, aussi, a couple of the human statues.  The river and the cruise boats are about a block from where we were standing.  We started walking down but got distracted by a pastry shop, where Robb saw another of the pastries from his childhood.  Naturally, we had to get a couple pieces of Bienenstich (bee sting).

After the pastry break, we (I) spent hours looking for this place because I wanted to buy this, and this, and this.   On the trek to find the souvenir shop, we passed the Dom, where some sort of festival was in progress.  They even had a decent band with a pretty good singer.  I also shot some video of the Roman ruins, during which I discovered they are still excavating.  I've never seen pictures of that, so maybe I have the first.

 It stopped raining, I guess the front has already moved through.  It is getting noticeably cooler.  Dinner at Haus Wertheym was very good.   We finally had Sauerbraten.  I thought it was very good, Robb gave it a 5 on a scale of 1 - 10.  He drank red wine, I drank champagne (Mumm).  Took a bunch of pictures but only a few turned out.  Night euro.  Some bier.  Commerzbank.

We got off the tram at Willy Brandt Platz and walked over to Kaiserstrasse, but the fest was long gone.  So ist das leben.

Here's another hotel tip.  If you plan to use your laptop, make sure the hotel offers free, in-room internet connection. Elstwise, it can get very expensive.

You can see all the Frankfurt pictures here - Frankfurt Flckr

Bis zum nächsten mal, meine Freunde

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Frankfurt 2010 - 4

August 16 (Montag) - It's colder and wetter.  Today, we took the number 17 tram from end (Hauptbahnhof) to end (Rebstockbad).  It took us past the Messe, a large convention center and concert hall.  These two entrances to the Messe, were just next door to the tram station, and they allow you to get to the center without having to cross the busy street..  A block further down the street was the Hammering Man.  You can't tell from the picture, but the arm with the hammer actually swings up to his head and down to the other hand.   This fountain, that I barely had time to shoot, was in the same area.

We were all excited about the hotel restaurant re-opening tonight.  It would be so convenient.  But now they inform us it won't open until the middle of next month.  Here's something to remember for future trips.  If you're staying at a hotel, make sure they're not building a seven story building next door and make sure they have a restaurant that is going to be open.

Speaking of restaurants, we had dinner at the Cosmopolitan.  I had Zanderfilet (filet of Perch), it was simply presented, but it was very good with spinach.  Robb had Flammkuchen Klassik , which was like a pizza with bacon and onions, it too was excellent.  Cosmopolitan is a very good restaurant.

August 17 (Dienstag) - We got up late today and just barely made it in time for breakfast.  Breakfast is served only until 10h30.  The weather is still kind of nasty and it appears it's going to remain that way for at least another week.  Since we're doing tram "tours", it really doesn't have that much of an effect on us.

We did something different today.  We took two bus tours.  It started out kind of funny.  We caught the 35 bus, but it just pulled across the street and that was the end of line.  Robb told the driver we wanted to stay on and do the whole route.  He very graciously invited us to ride with him.  So we rode the 35 from end (Hauptbahnhof) to end (Lechesberg).
When we got back to the bahnhof, we walked over and attempted to get the 46, but the driver flat-out lied to us and said he was just going to sit there for 15 miutes.  Less than a minute later he was gone.  I guess there has to be at least one asshole in the mix.

I saw the 37 bus approaching, so we looked for his berth and waited for it to show up.  It was the first ride that didn't even stop at the end of the line.  He just made a U-turn and drove back to the bahnhof, where I shot this detail on the bahnhof.

Some things we saw today.  The Running Man. A quick shot of the Deutsche Post (the main post office).  A second shot of the PO.   And finally, a look at the stop information screen on the bus.

The bus rides were short but very rough.  Wonder if they've ever heard of 'shock absorbers'.

Because it was cold and raining, we ate again at Gaylord.  The food there is really good, though I'm sure they go easy on the spices for us.  A testimony to the authenticity of the place is that the other night, when it was so crowded, most of the diners were Indian.

August 18 (Mittwoch) - It's about 11h00 and there is no sign of the sun.  Here are a couple of interior shots in the hotel.  This is fourth floor stairwell, which we have used a few times when the elevator was slow.  This is our door, just to the right of the furniture.  I know, so exciting!   And just when you thought you couldn't stand any more excitement, here's a picture of the bed just made by the cleaning people (who are Oriental, at least one of them is Chinese, I'm not sure about the others).  You can see there are two separate mattresses and two separate duvets, which I think is the best feaature of double beds in Germany.

We decided to ride the number 11 today, and what a ride it was.  We got on at the Münchener Strasse stop to beat the crowd, but at the very next stop, a couple of obnoxious little kids got on.  We stood it for two stops and got off.  We caught the next tram but it was too crowded, so we got off at the next stop, where we checked out the Penny Markt.  It's something like the Franprix in France but you have to deduct about fifty percent on the prices.  I suggested the best way to insure we get seats, would be to ride in the other direction to Will Brandt Platz, where I got this shot of the Commerzbank.  The 11 showed up, we got on, found good seats and hoped there would be no more brats.  There weren't.  One of the places we passed was the GigaSaurer, which looks like a dinosaur display.  We didn't check it today, but we most definitely will one day.

A little further towards the first end stop, we passed these apartments.  All the buildings were decorated like this one, but they were all different. Once we got to the end stop, Zuckschwerdtstrasse, I saw this Trinkhalle Im Turm. Evidently, it's some kind of franchise thing because they're all over town.  I also saw, just a little further down the street, this interesting building.  One of the things I find most convenient at all the tram stops, are these signs that tell you how long you'll have to wait for the next tram.  They do not have them for the bus stops. 

At 12h45, the sun made an unexpected appearance.  At 13h45, it was pouring.

On the way to the other end line station, we passed St. Markus Nied.  It's pretty easy to see I shot it through the tram window.  Most of the things we saw going the other way were car dealerships (you name it and it was represented) and factories.  We arrived at Fechenheimer Leinpfad, got on the return tram and started back to the hotel.  However, I caught sight of the Birmingham Pub and had to take a picture.  The only way I could get a decent one was for us to get off.  As it turned out, it was a good decision because both of us needed a pitstop.  I took my photos and we entered the pub.  Of course, you can't just use their facilities, you buy something.  We got a couple of Binding Bier drafts.  Binding is THE bier of Frankfurt, but it's the first time we had one.  Very good bier.

While we were drinking our bier, the sun decided to make a major appearance and remained out for a couple of hours.
Have any of you seen the movie, Schindler's List?  Well, apparently, Herr Schindler lived next door to what is now O'Reilly's, just down the street.

For dinner, we walked down to Baseler Eck.  After dinner, when we went up to pay, we met a guy named Tom.  Tom lives in Virginia and is a pilot for United Airlines.  Since he is gay, we got quite chummy and he took us to a bar in the Meridien Hotel, named Casablanca, where they have lots of photos from the movie.  The main reason for our visit there was that the bartender is world famous and he has invented a gin and tonic drink in which he uses cucumbers.  I know, it sounds strange, but it really was quite good, and I don't particularly care for gin.

August 19 (Donnerstag) - For the first time this week, we awoke to a world bathed in sunlight.  Welcome back, Herr Sonne.

Took a shot of the construction just outside our window, from the other side.  They've got a long way to go.

Since it was such a beautiful day, we caught the tram to Willy Brandt Platz, where we saw this fountain.  From there we walked up to the Frankfurter Hof because there was another jewelry store that Robb wanted to check.  Then we walked over to what I mistakenly called Goethe Platz.  It is really Gutenberg Platz and the statue is of Gutenberg and the two men who financed his idea for the printing press.

Walking around the area, we came across the Goethe Haus/Museum (we did not go inside) and this nice outdoor café.  Near the café was a pastry shop with great looking pastries.  Some of my Francophile friends will be happy to learn they also had some very tasty-looking macarons.  Then we came to a solar powered parking pay station.  We saw from there the Bar Celona café (and did you notice the Pakistan National Bank in the background?), and were intrigued by the play on words.  We stopped for a café for me and a bier for Robb.  To further the mystique, the menu was in Spanish.

We wandered past the Katharinenkirche, then the Hauptwache to the Zeil.  We saw a fountain and a statue and a guy walking around selling wursts from a device he had strapped to him.  A little further along, we saw a street market.  By now, I was getting very tired and just as I said to Robb that we might have to take a taxi, I saw a tram.  It turned out to be the one that goes to Baseler Platz.  We hopped on.

We almost had dinner at Chicago Meat Packers Restaurant, but after waiting, and waiting for service and having checked the extremely limited menu, we left, hopped on the tram and went to the Römer, where we found Weinstube Im Römer.  We both had the Seelachsfilet (a white fish) mit dillrosse (a fantastic dill sauce) and the best boiled potatoes I've ever eaten.

After dinner, we walked down to the river to check on a possible dinner cruise.  Then we caught the tram back to the hotel.

You can see all the Frankfurt pictures here - Frankfurt Flickr 

Bis zum nächsten mal, meine Freunde