Our second trip to Germany (our first was last Christmas - okay, right before, but just barely! - to Berlin, and we really enjoyed it. See more here if you like!) was our second of two extended layovers on our way to Madrid this past September. We didn't have quite as long in Frankfurt as we did in New York City, but that was okay. After all, it's not like we'd gotten a suite or anything on the plane the night before (this is a real thing! Singapore Airlines, who we flew from New York to Frankfurt, offers rooms with actual beds, seats, etc. for the bargain price of something like $23,000!!).
Because I had nothing else going on in the weeks before we left (haha), I asked Danny to help out with planning either New York, Frankfurt, or our road trip around Basque country. He chose Frankfurt, and it went great. The most interesting thing he told me about the city that I didn't know before? It's the most important financial center of the European continent (okay, anything he told me would have been new. I knew nothing about Frankfurt). Also, about half of the population has an immigrant background, and about a quarter are foreign nationals! Finally, a bit of what we got up to in one of Europe's most important cities...
We took the train into town from the airport and got started on a walking tour through the business district into the older part of town (much of which has been rebuilt since WWII). We had trouble picking somewhere for lunch that would accept our credit card (everywhere wanted cash! And we didn't have much left from when we left Spain back in March) and finally settled on a grocery store food counter in the basement of a mall. It did the trick.
The Römerberg was easily (in my opinion) the most picturesque part of Frankfurt. It's the historic heart of the Altstadt, which is the old town - it's what all those American tourists come to Europe to see, right? Pretty old buildings, cobblestone streets, things older than America itself, etc.
When we finished up in Römerberg, we continued Danny's walking tour. Next up was the Neuer Börneplatz Memorial, a site made up of a grove of 60 sycamore trees surrounded by a wall with nearly 12,000 small steel blocks wedged in it, each with the name and date of birth and death of a person from Frankfurt who was killed in the Holocaust. It's located next to Frankfurt's Jewish Museum, and is where the Jewish synagogue was located before it was burned down during Kristallnacht.
Our final stop on the tour was the Frankfurt City Model, a working model of downtown Frankfurt that is constantly being added to as buildings are built or changed. It's located in the atrium of the City Planning Department and is open to visitors (like ourselves) to come and take a look, but it's mostly used by urban planners, architects, and investors. Even though we'd only been in Frankfurt for a mere three hours, we could still pick out the places we'd been or walked - it was pretty neat!
And, finally, if a city has water, we can't resist. We went down to the Main River (as far as I know it's the only river but that's the name! Promise. Although...it is pronounced like "mine.") and you know, walked a little. Then we caught the train back to the airport and called our layovers good. A few hours later, we were finally in Madrid! Only 284 hours after leaving my parents' hours in Colorado. Or so it felt.
Frankfurt was nice. Seems like a bit of a trite statement about a city, but it's true. It was just pretty nice! I think we saw pretty much all we wanted to see, aside from going to the top of one of the skyscrapers for a view (it only took cash and we were watching that pretty closely this time around), and although I feel like we could do about eight more layovers in New York, I feel pretty good as far as layovers in Frankfurt go - one is probably enough for us (jokes on us though - we have two there this Christmas, one each way from Madrid to Denver!). I just don't think it's one of those cities with loads and loads of sights, but that's okay. It was what we needed after two overnight flights and a busy day in New York. Until December, Frankfurt!