Frankfurt: it's not just finance

Updated: Feb 9

The city of Frankfurt am Main (as opposed to the other Frankfurt in the former East Germany) is known as "Main-hattan" (the Main is the river that runs through it). Financial institutions often have their German headquarters in the city, which is dotted with skyscrapers, albeit nothing like the New York Manhattan. The European Central Bank is in Frankfurt, in a very modern building; Frankfurt is one of the four institutional seats of the European Union.

It's an old city, but much was destroyed towards the end of World War II by Allied bombs. SOme old structures were rebuilt as they were, and this took decades. On the other hand housing was needed urgently at the end of the war and some very boxy residential areas sprung up.

The weather is not the best. Summers are nice, and there are nice forests to roam through on the outer edges of the city. Winters are chilly and gray.

As for gastronomy, Frankfurt os mostly known for its apple wine, and its smelly cheese! Often served in Apfelwein pubs, the cheese is known as Handkäse mit Musik.

German food is not world renowned, which doesn't mean it's not enjoyable. As a teen in Frankfurt, my favorite snack was a sausage on a roll with mustard, or a pretzel, also with mustard. (In those days we could eat anything we wanted: fries with mayonnaise - as eaten in Germany - followed by Italian ice cream.) Cakes are very good, albeit not as fancy as Parisian pastries. During the end of year holiday season, "Baumkuchen" (tree cake) is made, and coated in chocolate. In San Francisco's H-Mart I bought something similar, minus the chocolate, called milk cake.

Frankfurt may be a finance capital, but it is also a cultural city. The old opera was finally restored, but in the meantime another contemporary one had been built. There is a theater just for plays in English: The Englischer Theater. There is a Museum Row along the river, plus art galleries and more.

Personally I spent the best time of my teenage years in Frankfurt, and I'll always be happy to visit!

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