I have been really really bad at uploading recently. For that, I apologise.
After visiting Turkey and Berlin (refer to previous posts), we had some stuff to sort out at home which caused a lot of stress. We decided therefore to take another holiday. After much debate, we decided the Christmas markets in Germany would be ideal. Frankfurt would be our destination.
This was our first experience of a European Christmas market. We had only tried the UK copies. Frankfurt market stood out to us because it is known as one of, if not the oldest in Germany (it dates back to 1393).
We flew into Frankfurt international, and I was shocked how big it was. As an aircraft nut, I was in my element. I have since learnt that it is the biggest airport in Europe. I can believe that as it took our bus 15-20 minutes to get from the stand to the terminal.
We placed ourselves in a recently opened hotel in Römerberg, less than 5 minutes walk to the market. As it turned out, it was the ideal location.
Now I’m not the most Christmassy of people, some people have even called me a Scrooge in the past. Being surrounded by these markets even got my Christmas senses tingling.
These markets are big, busy and one hell of an experience. We really didn’t know what to expect, but soon the Glühwein was flowing and we got sucked into the atmosphere.
It’s hard to describe a typical German Christmas market. If you have been to one of the UK ones, there is no comparison. During the day it is fairly quiet, but at night, the sights, the sound and the smells of the local cuisine just turns the atmosphere up to 11.
We indulged in Glühwein, Apfelwein, Beer, Pretzels and as many flavours of Bratwurst we could find. We spent way too much money on gifts and souvenirs from the stalls (some might call it tat. I call it quirky additions).
One thing I can also recommend if you do visit German markets is Kartoffelpuffer. This taste bud tingling treat is basically a deep-fried potato pancake which is served to you with apple sauce. I was quite sceptical at the time, but they really are a taste sensation.
Annoyingly, like an idiot, I forgot a European adaptor for my camera charger. I hadn’t charged my batteries before I left, so I spent the first afternoon trying to find an adaptor. I ended up taking a lot of pictures on my new Huawei P20 Pro, which to be fair was quite impressive. Luckily, I managed to find a tech shop which stocked USB battery chargers, so the following day I was back in the game.
I tried to be clever with my photos, but after a couple of mugs of glühwein, I decided to just be a tourist and enjoy the experience. Here is a collection of some pictures of the market I took over the few days we were there.
When we weren’t drinking and being merry, we did find time to wander around the city itself. We visited the main centre, the more modern centre and took in some culture through the eclectic bars of Old Sachsenhausen.
Frankfurt in itself is an interesting city. Dating back before the Romans, it is currently the financial centre of Europe (some have even nicknamed it ‘Bankfurt’) with 63 national and 152 international banks having their registered offices in the city in 2010.
As mentioned previously, it has the largest airport in Europe (with part of it on the site of former USAF base Rhein-Main Air Base). Given its location, it is a major transport hub in Europe, with many flights from the USA and further afield transferring here for internal flights.
The city was heavily bombed during the war, with around 5,500 residents losing their lives. It was captured by the Americans in March 1945.
The main square which had been the seat of city administration since the 15th century was another area that was heavily damaged. as with the rest of the city, much of it was rebuilt in a more simple and modern style (Brutalist in some cases) which was a departure from its historic architecture.
In the 1980’s, some efforts were made to restore the original charm of the city centre, with the Anti-Brutalist groups campaigning to demolish the post-war new builds and replace them with “New Old Style” buildings. In 2010, their prayers were answered.
By 2018, some 35 new buildings, 15 of which were reconstructions had been built. In September, the old town quarter was officially inaugurated.
Once again I did the tourist thing and took a bunch of photos. Some of these came out wonderfully. Here is a bunch of images I took of the city itself.
2018 was the year I first went to Germany. It was so good I went twice. As I mentioned, this was my first experience of a European Christmas market, and it is something that may now become part of our travel itinerary.
Frankfurt itself was a wonderful little city, somewhere I would definitely go back to outside of the Christmas rush. There is a lot of history here, a lot of museums and a lot of galleries that I really need to see.
Thank you Frankfurt, We will see you again.