We arrived in Frankfurt late in the afternoon. So we quickly checked into our hotel then hit the town. Frankfurt is pretty popular and big city. But this is more due to it being a hot spot for businesses then travelers. Unfortunately the sites for travelers are pretty limited.
We wondered around the streets until we came to a square I remembered from my last visit to the German city. The square is the most well preserved part of the city. Sadly a number of the older buildings were destroyed during WW2. There is no trace of destruction, only brand new shinny buildings. With perfect straight German lines and everything all clean and neatly ordered.
Once in the square we got some postcards and stopped at one of the German restaurants. It was one of those restaurants that looks very authentic, but deep down you know it is probably overpriced and more touristy then a truly local hangout spot. I enjoyed Schnitzel Frankfurt style and M enjoyed a selection of sausages. He gulped down some great German beer and I finally got my cider!
The following day started as any day in Germany should start, with a brat, frites, and beer. Unsure about what to do for the day we picked up a “Hop on, Hop off” map. Instead of spending $20+ on tickets, we did the cheap version and just followed the map around the city ourselves.
We walked around the square again, snapping photos in the daylight. Then we walked to the river and watched the river pass under the pretty bridges over the river.
Going off our Hop on/Hop off map there was a neighborhood that was supposed to be a fun site to see. So we crossed the river and searched. And searched. And searched. Now we either never found the neighborhood or it was not as popular as the map implied. What we thought was supposed to be a cute bustling street with lots of shops and restaurants, was an empty walkway with bars. Closed from the night before and lined with broken beer bottles from late night partiers. We shrugged and continued on our journey.
Across town there was a beautiful garden we decided to walk around. With a pretty tulip green house and fountains everywhere, we strolled the park with nothing but time.
Tired from our adventures we stopped for an espresso and dessert.
We went back to our hotel to get some work and homework done until later that night when it was time for dinner. After walking the streets all day and nothing really popping out at us we asked our hotel for a recommendation. They suggested a local hot spot, not really known to tourists and very popular.
We crossed town and found a building which clearly looked to be closed. We continued in and what we found did not disappoint. The room was filled with Frankfurt locals who all looked like they just got off of work. The low ceilings, wood paneled walls, long picnic tables and candle lights gave notice that this was indeed an authentic German restaurant.
*Cue the drag queen.
While we waited to be seated in the very busy pub, a man in drag approached us and asked, in German, how many? We hesitantly held up 2 fingers, as if signaling to these locals, us tourists come in peace. He chuckled and showed us to a table. Told a group of men to move down then let us squeeze in. Five minutes later we were ask to squeeze a little closer with the locals, while a father and his boys sandwiched us in. There was no leaving. We were suddenly a part of the family.
Kindly, they gave us some English menus and we attempted to order the most Frankfurt dishes on the menu. We ordered their house apple beer and took in the coolness that we actually found a local favorite.
Then it started. We heard a cup bang against a table, the room fell silent, then the drag queen stood up on one of the tables and began to sing what we think was German Folk Opera. This large man in make up serenaded a room full of Frankfurt men in business suits, with a beer in one hand and pretzel in another. Not only did the room fall silent and everyone listen, as if it were the German National Anthem being sung, but then joined in yelling the “EH!” and clapping at the exact right moment. This was no spur of the moment singing, it was tradition.
M and I stared at each other in disbelief. Is this real life? The stereotypical image we had of German pubs was coming to life. Only it was led by a man in the best makeup I have ever seen.