Frankfurt am Main, Germany. D-Day plus 7

by - August 31, 2010

The view from the 27th floor
The old Opera House
So the last blog ended with us travelling along the Rhine Valley towards Frankfurt.  We met Tom Wolstencroft, the fourth member of the team, at the station and then immediately made our way towards our German connection.  Claudia is a friend of my mum´s and she works at the Deutschebank HQ in Frankfurt.  As a result, we met her there, after going through a security section that seemed very curious as to why four teenagers with rucksacks were entering one of the most important financial buildings in all of Germany.  I assumed that we would then head off into town, but Claudia invited us to her office on the 27th floor (out of 30) for a lunch there.  It turned out that this floor was where the seven members of the board had their offices, and ALL of them were out on business.  As a result, much to our surprise, we ended up having our lunch at the personal table of one of these seven board members with his view of central Frankfurt.  This was without a doubt the most classy lunch I have ever had.  To top this, members of the bank were actually waiting on us - one turned up with coffee for us on a silver tray.  The contrast between this and cold mushroom sandwiches could not be anymore vast.

Claudia had to work, so after dumping our bags in her car, we got the U-bahn into the centre and had a wander around the shops.  After the relative depravity of camping, I felt I needed to buy a shirt, so we spent an hour or so looking for this, before having a milkshake and heading back towards the town of Oberursel where Claudia lives.  We bought a pizza in for dinner and then headed out into town to a local brewery where there were only two beers, both of which are brewed on site.  I am not a beer connissieur, but the others said it was very good.  Apparently.  That night we stayed on camp/sofa beds - Claudia was worried because she couldn´t find the corks for the airbeds, but the fact that we actually had a roof over our heads was luxurz enough.

The next morning Claudia had left when we got up, so we stayed in bed until late for the first time on the trip.  After a relaxed breakfast and doing some washing we headed off into Frankfurt on the U-bahn/S-bahn.  We went to the Deutschebank canteen with Claudia, this time with guest passes, for another epic lunch.  The canteen had all sorts - curries, local food, fish, rice, soups, salads and all other bits and pieces. For the rest of the day we got our own personal tour of the city.  I have to admit that aside from the Manhattan-esque skyline (the city has the nickname Bankfurt), I didn´t know what was there.  However there were a fair few interesting buildings (the treaty creating country of Germany was signed at the church in the centre of Frankfurt for example).  Being with a local made a real difference - we got to see all the restaurants and bars that we would normally have overlooked.  After spending the day moving around various shops, bars and walking beside the river Main, we headed into ´Sachsenhausen´, which is the trendy old town for a local meal. Some of the local specialities that we tried out included Apple Wine - like strong tasting cider without the fizz, and a VERY mature cheese.

After the meal it was clear that the weather had changed and for the first time on the trip we had wonderfully clear skies.  As a result it made sense to head down to the river to take pictures of the skyline as it got dark.  Apparently every Tuesday night all the local roller skaters come out and we were able to see thousands of them, complete with a police escort going over the main street. Quite bizarre really.  The last place that we went for a drink was O´Reillys bar, an Irish pub, which was significant because both my cousin and Ben´s sister had worked there recently. Ben´s sister as a result was there to serve us.  Small world.  By now it was getting later so we got a lift back to Oberursel and made a few last minute plans for the next section of the adventure - Bavaria.

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