Hello from Frankfurt, Germany (excerpts from an email sent Oct 29, 2004)


Mats has told me that Mueller, (in Germany, Muller with the two dots over the U) is a very common name. Here I am at a department store with the same name as my family in Weimar.

Typing from an internet cafe near the Frankfurt Haubtbahnhopf (main trainstation). Mats has to get ready for his upcoming trip to South
Africa and get vaccinations and do paper work so I decided to tour around Frankfurt. It’s always a little confusing in these public transportation places with everything in German but the people are usually good enough to point you in the right direction, provided you know where you are going! My standard “Tut mir leid, mein Deutsch ist
schlect, sprechen Sie English?” has served me well 🙂 (Sorry, my German is awful, can you speak English?)

There are so many interesting architectures here, some in the area of 300 years old.

The Romer area of Frankfurt, 300+ years old.

Other cool building architecture

Frankfurt also has a lot of skyscaper style buildings, which is very rare in Germany.

Downtown Frankfurt

I have yet to figure out what Sbahn (subway) train to get on to visit downtown. I was told by Mats what destination I was looking for but
didnt see it on any of the departure train lists. I think I’ve had enough of trains and their frustrations for the rest of my trip!

Konstablerwache Subway Station

I enjoyed going to the soccer game 2 days earlier in Berlin with Mats – they definately take the sport seriously. Public drinking is legal
here, so everyone including our group of Mats, Bjorn, and Josh brought 6 packs of beer with them to drink aboard the train to the stadium. All
the serious fans wear team colored and marked apparel and sing loud team anthems to the station, in the stadium, and on the way back if
their teams win. They also sing very nasty songs to anger rival fans. Prior to the match we watched of Berlin Hertha vs. Dortmund, for
example, the Hertha fans on the train were singing “We built a bus to Auschwitz for Dortmund and their fans” – which as you can imagine is a thing in very
poor taste of people in Germany to say. The atmosphere at the game itself is quite the spectacle, to say the least.

Prior to arriving in Wiesbaden we stopped in Weimar, home of Goethe, a famous German writer. We had a nice walk and a couple of Thuringerwurst
sausages in the park there.

Feeding a duck invisible food

Reminded me of home

Great park visuals in fall..

From there we headed on to visit the Buchenwald concentration camp.

Buchenwald Concentration Camp Prisoner's Area Entrance

Buchenwald is a very sombre and sad place, many artifacts were on display as was good information about the history of the camp. It was
established mainly as a work camp, and acted also as a holding and transfer camp for inmates ulimately headed to other camps.
Approximately 56,000 died here from disease or extremely difficult working conditions. Some lethal injections and strange science
experiments also lead to deaths. It was established in 1937 and was liberated in 1945.

Mats has commented that German school children really get the horrors of what happened in World War 2 drilledinto them, (almost to the point of seeming to place a share of the blame on the children) so he sees places like Buchenwald in a slightly different light then I do. But you can also tell not every German child
has learned.. on the guest register at the camp, one visitor noted in German – “Thank you Mr. Hitler, this was a very nice museum to visit.”

I am enjoying Mats’ home town of Wiesbaden. Mats’ mom is also very nice and welcoming, and the whole family can’t seem to stop trying to overfeed and overbeer me. At first it may have been because table etiquette is to place your cutlery cross-wise across your plate when you’re finished eating – I didn’t do that the first couple meals. But the overfeeding didn’t stop!

Mats and his family..drinking beer and eating ice cream?

Mats’ mom is Swedish, and she has kindly cooked a few interesting Danish and Swedish meals for me, which have been very good for the most part. Beer is a completely different thing here also, menus have their own section dedicated entirely to different kinds and flavors and tastes of beer, I was told people pick their beer to suit the type of evening they are
having, what kind of food they are eating, and what establishment they are eating it in. And they drink a hell of a lot of it! (For the most part it’s as cheap as soft drinks, sometimes cheaper)

Mats and I enjoying Dunkle (dark) beer