Part 1: A Fairytale Christmas
Part 2: A Winter Day In The City
Part 3: Heidelberg, Germany – Beyond Magical
Part 4: Frankfurt Favorites
No matter where I am in Frankfurt, it feels like the Dom, the city’s Cathedral, looms over me. Officially called the Cathedral of Saint Bartholomew, the Roman Catholic Gothic church sits smack in the center of Frankfurt am Main.
The imposing red sandstone cathedral is as tall – 95 meters- as she is old – opened in 1550.
The Eiserner Steg is Frankfurt’s famous iron and concrete footbridge. Crossed daily by over 10,000 pedestrians, it connects the city center and Römerberg with Sachsenhausen on the southern banks of the Main River. This bridge, with its attached “love locks” reminds me of a similar one in Paris.
Built in 1869, the neo-Gothic style bridge affords amazing views and vertigo, caused by my fear of heights.
Walking along the banks of the river, I’m astonished to find Christmas trees being sold. I touch one to be sure –the ragged branches scratch my hands, the green pointed needles prick and poke — ow. These are REAL trees. A fairytale Christmas indeed!
Innenstadt, Frankfurt’s city center and all its hustle and bustle.
It’s a gorgeous, sunny day and I stand still soaking it all in while squinting up at the Mercedes Benz building.
Not too far away, the Old Opera House, built in the late 19th century. It’s majestic and awe-inspiring.
Around me, people hurry along bundled up against the biting cold.
A pocket of peace found in a side street not too far away from the corporate action.
The 1°C weather has chilled me to the bone, so when my fingers fall off as I clumsily attempt to take pictures, I know it’s time for a hot toddy, or a hot anything, really. There are plenty of stalls where these huge vats of hot liquid tantalize with invitations of warmth.
From alcoholic spiced wines like gluhwein and all variations in between, my favorite is the kinderpunsch, or what I call the kinder punch. Hibiscus tea, one of the most popular herbal teas in Germany, is mixed with fruit juice (usually apple and/or grape and cherry), plus spices. The punch is a gorgeous garnet color, it’s just sweet enough and its tangy flavor titillates. The heated beverage floods my body, and suddenly I am hungry.
I’ve not seen a fervor for french fries like this since I was in Switzerland and the Netherlands. The Germans are exceptional with potatoes, and they cook their fries masterfully — par-cooked then allowed to cool then flash-fried again to attain perfection. This cooking x 2 allows for a marvelously mealy texture encrusted in a crisp exterior.
This is a typical pommes frittes shop seen all over Frankfurt. Cut potatoes are ever-ready to cascade into waiting fryers, their mellow yellow glimmer from deep within the scorching oil. Within minutes, the fries are salted, shaken, and slid into a paper cone where they’re blanketed in a coating of curry sauce.
Let me tell you about this German curry sauce. Sometimes sweeter like Indian curry, other times more pungent with mustard powder and still other various incarnations, what’s absolute is that this curry sauce is irresistible. With fries, the sauce is creamy and comforting, and over sausages as in the famous currywurst, it’s spicy and mysterious. Even my dreams are covered in curry sauce later that night.
Pecking at a giant pretzel, yet another of the things I eat as I pleasurably stroll and snack my way around Frankfurt. I just get the regular salt-studded one, although I imagine the chocolate and Parmesan variants would be nice too.
It’s in Germany where my unreasonable obsession with streusel is welcomed and fed feverishly. Everywhere I turn, taunting me from behind every pastry case, are rows upon rows of streusel cakes and cookies. It’s delicious madness!
Streusel, German for “sprinkle”, is a topping of flour, butter, sugar, and most often, spices. It’s crumbly and addictive and adorns…
…cookies, as in this streuseltaler. Taler is German for coin, so streusel coin, a very large coin. The streusel is compact and crisp, contrasting with the softer yeasted cake beneath. The glazed sugar topping makes this sweeter than most German pastries.
What I prefer is this streuselkuchen, a softer crumb cake teeming with butter and vanilla.
Other outstanding streusel specimens. How I wish I knew all their names and what each pastry tastes like!
As if to underline all my eating, I stumble onto ‘Große Bockenheimer Straße’. This pedestrian zone is affectionately known as ‘Fressgass’ or “Pig-Out Alley”, where a high concentration of Frankfurt’s fine restaurants and food shops can be found.
Care to shop for a Tesla while meandering down Fressgass?
Just a block away is Goethestrasse, a lane devoted to the lush life and luxury. I bump into more Asians here than I do anywhere else in Frankfurt, I wonder why…
The back of Goethestrasse grandly lit up at sunset, which comes at just 4.30pm!
After a full day of shopping and eating, walking back to the hotel along the Zeil, Frankfurt’s main shopping street all lit up for the holidays.