A Frankfurt(er) By Any Other Name

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October 29th 2017
Published: October 29th 2017
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Truth be known, I will spend the night here, that is all. I am tired, and it is time to go home. As Paul Simon once sang, Homeward Bound!!

How many of you have changed planes in Frankfurt over the years? I have changed planes here at least half a dozen times, on the way to or from: Tripoli, Turmenistan, and Tabouli to name a few. Frankfurt Main Airport is one of the busiest international airports in the world, and of course, a hub for the state airline, Lufthansa. The airport is the biggest cargo airport in Europe. Over 342 trains daily arrive and depart for other parts of Germany, as well as Europe. But little do I know about this great German city.

I recall from Uncle Murl's world history class as a sophomore in high school, only a few pertinent facts about Germany. Names pass by, like Charlemagne, the Holy Roman Empire, storming of the Bastille, the Napoleonic Wars, WW 1 and 2, and the old Common Market. In fact, it was Charlemagne, the Kings of the Franks, who gave the city its name, after winning a battle against the Saxons. He called it "Ford of the Franks" or Frankfurt.

I first spent a night here back in the 70s, when the U.S. Army or Air Force had a big presence here. I even had dinner at an air or army base, pretending we were GI's with long hair, cold war spies perhaps. I also stayed in Wiesbaden for many days, and spent a day in Kaiserslautern as well. Frankfurt sells themselves as the largest financial center on the continent. It is home to the European Central Bank, Deutsche Bundesbank, and the Frankfurt Stock Exchange. Over 4 million tourists a year visit this city.

And only one person in three do not hold a German passport. Fully 51% of the population has an immigrant background. Why does this work so well here? Yet, it is only the fifth largest city in Germany, with about 2.3 million people, behind Berlin, Hamburg, Cologne, and Munich, my personal favorite. Catholics (23%) make up the largest segment of religion, followed by Protestants (19%), with Muslims (12%) third. Over 180 nationalities live here peacefully.

The city is located on both sides of the Main River. My train from Munich will arrive at Frankfurt Central Station (Hauptbahnhoff), which opened back in 1888. Not only the people here are called Frankfurters, the sausages also answer to that name! The Frankfurter Buchmesse is the largest trade show for books in the world. Big publishing deals are closed here, Barry the V!!!!

The famous writer, Johann Wolfgang Goethe was born here, with his birthplace now a museum. It is possible to see the puppet he played with as a child. Frankfurt was home to the inventor of the printing press, Johannes Gutenberg. You can spot a memorial dedicated to him and the early funders of the printing press in the city centre, Rossmarkt.

This is I did not realize: "This one’s for all you story lovers. Flashback to childhood! Remember reading or listening to the likes of Cinderella, Rapunzel, Snow White, Sleeping Beauty and more? Well, the creators of all these stories- the Grimm Brothers lived in Hanau, which is merely 25 kms away from Frankfurt! They later moved on to study at University of Marburg, which is about 100 kms away." FYI, Grimm Brothers and Brothers Grimm are one of the same.
Frankfurt has the largest inner-city forest in Germany, taking up around 80 sq. km. (a third of its territory), and the world-famous 20-hectare Palm Garden, which hosts plants from every climate zone on the planet.
Besides Goethe and Gutenberg, Frankfurt also boasts the following famous Frankfurters: Helmut Kohl, Oskar Schindler, Ludwig Erhard, Alois Alzheimer, Anne Frank, and Martin Lawrence. How about Lawrence Welk or Lawrence of Arabia or Felix Frankfurter (not really)??
I may be here only for part of a day, to catch my plane back to the US. But it sure is better than changing planes in Addis, Bogota, or Newark!!!

See you back home around midnight Wednesday. It will be a looooong day, but made easier by following the sun. I need to see Sheri, my little puppy, Lexi, and my own bed!


1st November 2017

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2nd November 2017

Thank You!!!
I shall!

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