Many people have told me that Germany is a squeaky clean country, almost obsessively so. That is no longer the case, at least with the obsessively clean part. Around the Central Train Station, at several bus stops, and in some of the large apartment blocks, cleanliness remains a constant challenge. The CST , or Hauptbanhof (Hbf), is still a very stately place, and a beehive within this greater beehive that is Frankfurt am Main. Get used to my using the local names of things. Everyone I have met here breaks out their English, as soon as I speak German (or French, for that matter,) with my North American accent. It’s important to go halfway with these things, if we are ever to really understand one another. Still and all, I will carry on here with putting the local term side by side with our English colloquialism.
Here is Frankfurt Hauptbanhof, inside and out.
I spent several minutes, once disgorged from the speedy train from Frankfurt International Airport, trying to find the bus stop for the route given me at the Information Booth. This is where my fatigue kicked in, and it took three other people being asked, before the Captain Obvious scenario played out, and I was en route to my Saturday night lodging. I left my bags in the hotel’s safe, and was registered by a rather saturnine desk clerk. When I returned from the mandatory hiatus, at 2 PM, I saw why: A group of 75-100 university students were at the hotel for the night, with all that could imply. The men outnumbered the women, almost 3:1, but I would hear no hanky-panky or excessive noise, during the night. These folks have built a culture of deepening true friendship, and I hope it continues, without being side-tracked by “real world” distractions.
I walked to the Frankfurt Messerhaus, the city’s major trade and exhibition hall. On the way, I discovered a small wursthaus (sausage restaurant), run by a couple who are German/Polish. They have been here in Frankfurt for twenty years, and have watched the world come to Germany. Indeed, an African woman runs a grocery store, a Sri Lankan man has driven a taxi for 35 years, and East Asian people are everywhere. We are at the point where EVERYONE is EVERYWHERE, and that’s a good thing, to me.
Anyway, here is the hotel where 200 kids, and I, stayed last night.
Many German homes maintain the “fairy-tale” quality that places them in so many of the “original” Grimm tales.
That quality is enhanced by the evergreens nearby.
Any economic powerhouse needs good parts for its engine. These parts in Frankfurt are largely provided by the work done through the auspices of Frankfurt Trade Center, or Messershaus Frankfurt.
With that, I am tired by today’s long and full series of life lessons. Tomorrow, a tale of transition between cultures.