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 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 Galeriewhere 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 Wertheymwas 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.