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Thursday, April 03, 2008

Vacation Diary Day 2: Frankfurt

Click here for photos from Day 2

At 5:30 AM we woke up hearing the chirping of local birds, we used it as a chance to try out our new binoculars. A little more fake-sleep and we headed down for breakfast, which had a great spread of dairy foods, breads, meats, juices and drinks. I was particularly happy with the mixed fruit, and Beth really liked the sausage. I also liked the bacon, which was meatier than what we typically get in the US.

We walked to the local train station at Sindlingen and rode to the Hauptbahnhof (train station.) Frankfurt trains work on a semi-honor system. You are never required to pass a checkpoint to access the trains (as opposed to in New York City, where you must deposit your ticket or token before getting access to the train.) Only occasionally are you asked to show your ticket and if you fail to show it, you get a nasty fine.

Our first stop was the Judengasse, the Jewish Quarter, and the only place where Jews were allowed to live, from approximately 1300 to 1850. There's a Holocaust memorial there for all Frankfurt victims, and there's also a cemetery with a special spot for people to leave written prayers. This stop proved to be emotionally tough, so we agreed to visit no more Jewish museums until Aushwitz, in order to keep me from being afraid to go.

Next we walked to three local churches and admired the combination of classic and more modern architecture. In between we had our first meal at a no-question-tourist restaurant. Nonetheless, the beer and schnitzel (mit Grüne Soße) were fantastic.

We took a quick walk through a covered market which we both enjoyed for its familiarity and distinction.

After visiting another church, we caught up with our friend Indrani who took us to the top of the Commerzbank building for a view of Frankfurt. We rode out of downtown to one of Indrani's preferred German restaurants where we at lots of fabulous meat, Apfelwein, and a Frankfurt specialty: "Handkäse mit Musik". Handkäse is a tasty raw cheese. They bring the Handkäse, you bring the Musik. If you get my drift. It was fairly mild, to be fair, but it was covered in onions and caraway seeds.

About our German: Beth has a reasonably mild grasp on elementary German, and I had a little Yiddish, plus I practiced with the phrase book. That, plus the huge number of Germans who spoke English and we did just fine.

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