Frankfurt: Flashdance (I Can’t Stay Long)
AVGEEK SEEKS CULTURE
As a junior commercial aviation addict I wanted to live in Frankfurt purely because it had a great airport. But what of the city? With a reputation as a boring finance town it has in recent times taken steps to reinvent itself as more than that. So let’s have a (very quick) look at its cultural make up…
Arriving around six in the morning the tourist info office is dead to the world so I peruse the train station and its many nooks and crannies stuffed full of eateries. Dumping my bags at a nearby hostel I’m out and about exploring the town.
A number of museums interest me and better still they are all conveniently situated in a row on the opposite bank of the river Main (pr. mine), from which Frankfurt takes its extended name (to save confusion with another Frankfurt near Berlin).
First call is the museum of communications (spelt with a Germanic K of course). While there the delightful cafe assistant allows me to use the WiFi, even though the cafe hasn’t technically opened. So I return the favour by buying my breakfast there.
The museum itself is beautiful, especially from the cafe which is bathed in natural light through the glass vestibule (if that’s the right word).
The architecture museum is next up along the river though I don’t go in. Third and final museum is the Weltkulturen Museum whose exhibition on ageing through cultures is somewhat relevant (as I’m ageing myself!).
PARKLIFE, THE XMAS MARKET AND THE CASHED UP CHINESE
Aside the run of embankment museums I venture through the nearby Metzler Park for some more autumnal wonderment.
Crossing the Main back into the central city is the traditional Christmas market, which is already attracting media interest, especially from the orientals in town (who ignore my Ni Hao’s and continue on their way).
My guess is they were cashed up folk from Shanghai who couldn’t care less about anyone on their radar. The friendly Chinese I met in the middle kingdom seem a lifetime away. The Chinese who can afford to travel to Europe are those who make money from the poor coming into the big city.
I stop at Hanz and Franz for a bratwurst – you can’t really be in Germany and not sample their sausages! Unless you’re a vegetarian of course. Close by, a cinema is showing Flashdance – the only nostalgic viewing on offer.
In the blistering heat of summer I returned to have another transitory glance at Frankfurt. Sadly I quickly discover the Frankfurt hostel opposite the station is no more so I try the A&O given glowing reference by many sites but not by this one. Three people on reception all of whom blank me and a shed load of kids – no thanks.
Onwards by tram to the east side, where lie a clutch of hotels and as it turns out another A&O. First call is the BnB and a receptionist who I think is checking prices but nope she asks what I’m doing!? I was waiting for you to tell me the room rate I ask, she seems baffled. At the IBIS Budget things don’t get much better.
At home the IBIS is a staple in budget accommodation, but all I’m getting in Frankfurt is a deadpan receptionist who couldn’t give a shit who turns up or when. All of this begs the question who the hell does the hiring for hotels in Germany, clearly they haven’t got a bloody clue.
Cue the turquoise Motel One and to my surprise a smiling amiable receptionist who knows what hospitality is and also offers a glass of water. Nice rooms but no USB.
For tea (dinner) I eat late at the L’Osteria and wow what a feeling alright, the huge floppy pizza drapes over the edge of my plate. This is pretty much the highlight of this secondary flashdance in the town of frowns where I never stay long.
PLAYLIST AND CREDITS
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Flashdance – Irene Cara/Giorgio Moroder
I Can’t Stay Long – Ultravox
Green Flower Street – Donald Fagen
This Used to be the Future – Pet Shop Boys/Phil Oakey