Monday Sept 10, 2018 – Frankfurt
Frankfurt airport is a familiar place for us as we have taken our connections from this airport when we went to the US, but this was the first time we were not seeing the airport but touring the city. As we had a restful Sunday, we decided to do a walking tour on Monday, the 10th. We reached the Romerberg train station and exited towards the main square. We had checked on the internet about the “Frankfurt on foot” walking tour that started at 10.30 outside a cafe. As we reached the spot, we found the guide holding up a placard that said “Frankfurt on foot”.
He introduced himself as Brian and he was from New Zealand. His boss joined us shortly and some more tourists came along till we were a group of eight. What an international group we were – an American owner of the “Frankfurt on foot” company, a New Zealander as the tour guide, two couples from the US, us from India, one tourist from the UK and one other from Australia. We started with Romer, the city square and some background information about Frankfurt.
The old St. Nicholas church is where Jim Morrison played in 1960. It survived the WWII with minor damage even as Frankfurt was heavily bombed. The entire town square is being renovated and many of these buildings are being fortified. St. Nicholas is the patron saint for avoiding floods… but Frankfurt has been flooded several times.
We went inside for a short tour and then walked across to the book burning spot in the town square. Frankfurt has traditionally been the publishing capital of the world and it was significant that books were burnt here as they were across Germany on May 10th, 1933.
From the archaeological museum before going to Goethe’s house, we stopped somewhere on the way and met Spiderman.
There are apparently 5 or 7 such statues all over Frankfurt made during some fair and never removed. Frankfurt is such an interesting mix of the old and new and they co-exist seamlessly. Like our next stop – The house where Goethe grew up and lived and right next to it the new museum. Johann Wolfgang Goethe was born here in 1749. His father was a lawyer and his mother was the daughter of the mayor of Frankfurt. Johann Wolfgang lived here along with his sister Cornelia until 1765, aged sixteen, when he moved to Leipzig to study law. By the age of 25 he was a literary celebrity.
As we walked across another road towards Gutenberg’s statue, we came across a piece of the Berlin wall that had been painted over.
Here Brian told us an interesting piece of history – there is a series of inner city parks that surround Frankfurt and they are built where the old city wall was. These parks are Napoleon’s gift to Frankfurt as he would tear down the walls and build parks in every place that he conquered. In Frankfurt if you are lost, just follow the parks and you reach the river from where you can re-orient yourself.
From the sublime Opera building we walked through the “devour” lane, a street that today houses many restaurants that bankers and stock brokers frequent but earlier it was the street where animals were sold for food. We then reached the Frankfurt stock exchange, the only stock exchange building that has both the bull and bear statues !
Just around the corner from the Stock exchange building is a sculpture that depicts German fairy tales –