Tales From Lands Afar

The Adventures of Frankfurt~

Category: Frankfurt

T’is the Season~

Why hello there my lovely readers and welcome to another post! It feels like not long ago since I wrote the last but alas, December is already upon us and Christmas is in fact fast approaching. And what better to write about than the ever so famous German Christmas Markets!

Now, I am not going to lie. I am a complete sucker for Christmas markets. I love them! The sweet smell of Gluhwein, mixed with all round festive cheer is just something I cannot get enough of. So one can only imagine just how excited I was to discover I would be spending my Christmas season in Germany! The origin of these beautiful markets! They have only been up for just over two weeks now and I have already been more times that I can count.

Not that you can help it really. In Frankfurt, although the main Christmas markets can be found in Römer (the old part of the city), the market stalls can actually be found spread all across central Frankfurt! Which means, every day on my way to and from work, I have to walk through these beautiful (yet permanently busy!) huts in order to get home. And, if I am walking through the area anyway, there is no harm in stopping buy a few stores for caramel coated peanuts, or a lovely mug of cinnamon flavored hot chocolate, right?

Because eating at a Christmas Market is obviously part of the fun. And with the crazy amounts of food they have on offer (over half of which I have yet to taste although this is definitely something I am going to rectify) it is almost a crime not to try as much as possible. There are pretzels in seemingly every flavor, from the traditional salted, to chocolate flavored! And then all the other assorted baked good, which, luckily for me, included Lebkuchen, my utter FAVOURITE christmas snack! And then of course they offer pizza, pasta, crepes, waffles, assorted nuts, candy apples, candy floss, chips, bratwurst mit rind- oder schwein- fleisch and burgers. Because how could you forget burgers, am I right? As for drinks, as you may know, Germany is almost famed for their delicious Glühwein at Christmas, which traditionally does contain alcohol however you can also buy it without alcohol (which in my opinion is arguably nicer – the warm berry flavour is definitely a lot stronger!). There is really nothing nicer on a Friday afternoon that to join your friends at the Christmas Markets, warming your hands on the steaming hot mugs of berry flavored drinks.

And if the excessive food eating does not epitomize the essence of Christmas, then the endless rows of shops will! They sell everything! From the traditional wooden figures of nutcrackers to mouldings of famous buildings in Frankfurt, to glasses and mugs to Christmas decorations to honey candles to the cutest teddies I have ever seen (I am definitely buying a kitten on. No question.)

And then of course there are other pieces of eye candy at the Market. There at least three different merry-go-rounds in the Frankfurt Christmas markets, which are amazing fun, for adults and children alike (although predominately for children, I have heard….). And then, our WONDERFUL CHRISTMAS TREE (which was donated to us from a company all the way in Austria! Our Christmas tree traveled all the way from Austria! Is that not AMAZING??)

Being in Frankfurt during this time of year has been a truly magical experience. It was like stepping into a fairytale except everything was even bigger and better than I could ever have imagined. Because the Christmas Markets aren’t just about eating tons of food and spending all your money. It’s about sharing the space with what seems like the entirety of Frankfurt, all of whom who have gathered to celebrate this wonderful time of year. It is about spending the evenings outside, despite the freezing cold, to talk and laugh with friends and colleagues. It is about that sense of family and other such traditional values which, to me, is very symbolic for German culture. I feel honoured to have been a part of this experience and, I hope that if you ever get the chance to, you will also get to participate in the wonder that is Germany at Christmas time.

Anyway, that is it from me for the time being. I want to wish everyone who is reading this a truly ‘frohe Weihnachten’ and a simply amazing New Year! 🙂

xxx

Oh, and ps, for all of you who can read German and are interested in making your very own Lebkuchen, check out this awesome recipe!

German Section:

Lebkuchen Recipe:

1 – Ofen auf 200 degreesC vorheizen

2 – Zutaten:

350g Mehl

300g Zucker

1 päckchen Vanille

1 päckchen Backpulver

100g gemmahlen Haselnüsse

(ggf 150g kandierte Früchte)

3-4 TL Lebkuchengewürz

1 TL Nelkenpulver

3 – Add und Zutaten:

2TL Honig

150g flüssige Butter

250ml Milsch

4 Eier

4 – Teig auf Backpapier auf dem Backblech ausbreiten

– 20 min backen

And there you have it. It is really that simple! Do try this at home and let me know how you get along! 🙂

Happy baking y’all 😉

xxx

Light Up the Sky~

Dear Readers,

As promised, this is my second post of the month, to make up for my lack of during October. As November comes to a close and the cold really starts to creep in to Frankfurt, there is a certain amount of festivity in the air. The Christmas Markets officially opened in the city today and boy, am I excited 🙂

However, as advent does not officially start until this Sunday, I thought I would share a different festival with you that is celebrated at the beginning of November instead – the Laternenfest.

The Laternenfest, otherwise known as St. Martin’s Day, is a festival celebrated in many European countries. I, however, had not heard of it before living here. A widespread custom in Germany, St Martin’s day is a little reminiscent of the British Bonfire Night. It is celebrated on the 11th November and every St Martin’s eve, there is a huge bonfire called MartinsfeuerIt is usually considered a children’s festival as usually the children of Germany would sing a little nursey rhyme about it (click on the lyrics below to hear the song) and make lanterns at school to carry to the local bonfire.

German Section: See if you can translate the lyrics and learn the song!

Laterne, Laterne,
Sonne, Mond und Sterne.
Brenne auf, mein Licht,
brenne auf, mein Licht,
aber nur meine liebe Laterne nicht!

Unfortunately, I had not realised that this festival existed prior to the evening, so I did not have time to make a lantern, so instead I went to the festival, camera in hand and just spotted all the lanterns I could!

   

So what is the story behind St Martin’s day anyway? Why is it celebrated in the first place? Well, my dear readers, I shall tell you….

German Section:

Martin und seinen Mantel

Eine Winterabend, Martin und die anderen Soldaten fährt nach Amiens. Am Stadttur ist ein Bettler gesessen und er war so kalt, dass er nicht um Hilfe bitten konnte. Marten hat kein Geld oder Essen mitgebracht, so hat er seinem Mantel mit dem Schwert geschnitten. In dieser Nacht, hat Martin von Jesus Christus geträumt. Im Traum, hat Jesus ihm gedankt, weil Martin ihm den Mantel gegeben hat. Dieser Traum  überzeugt Martin, Christ zu werden und sich taufen lassen.

Overall, the night was really lovely. Despite the fact that weather has now got Germany firmly in it’s grasp, the bonfire warmed everyone’s hearts. I found the sense of community spirit to be inspiring, and it was really lovely to see all the children running around together with lanterns that they had made. The sense of pride, the fun and youthful spirit (Goodness do I feel old…).

   

It is times like these that I find German culture to be truly fascinating and although unlike bonfire night in the UK, there are no fireworks, the atmosphere more than made up for it. With Gluhwein in one hand, and a sausage roll in the other, the night ended perfectly with my friends and I all stood round the bonfire, listening to the live brass band and laughing the evening away.

   

  

And that, my dear reader, is the end of today’s post! I hope you enjoyed it. If you have any experiences to share or thoughts on the Laternenfest, please do write it in the comments below! I will also leave a link to the festival for all those who are interested in learning more about it, and ways you could even celebrate it at home – but other than that, I look foward to catching you again in December!

Yes. This is a Lantern.

http://www.alphabet-garten.com/freebies/unitstudystmartin.pdf

A Tourist’s Guide to Frankfurt.

10/09/2014

Dear my wonderful readers,

Hello there again. I hope all is well with you. I realise that it has been two months and a week since my last update, so I apologise for the month long delay, however I hope that your summer holidays have been going well and that you are all settling back in to your usual school routines, feeling refreshed from the wonderful sunshine that I hope you had.

How have I been for the past two months? The term ‘busy’ (or beschäftig) springs to mind! There is always SO much to do and what with the amount of people who have been visiting me (I have either friends or family visiting every single weekend, quite literally!), I have pretty much perfected the tourist route round Frankfurt. And so, my lovely friends, I have decided to put here a little “Weekend Gettaway” plan for Frankfurt, so if any of you ever get the opportunity to visit, you will have a few ideas of what to do before you get here!

1. Main Tower

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(photo taken by Thomas Wolf, http://www.foto-tw.de)

So, this is the first, absolute must-do of Frankfurt. It is the second tallest building in Frankfurt and is simply marvelous for trying to get yourself round to seeing the entire city! I have been up on three separate occasions, in all sorts of weather conditions and during various times of the day and it is ‘wirklich wunderbar’ each and every time! Not only that, but students get in for only EUR 4.50 (which, when compared with the shard is simply marvelous!). The viewing platform is on the sechsundfünfzigsten Etage, however there is a lovely (but rather more expensive) restaurant to be found in the dreiundfünfzigsten Etage. Be warned though – at that high up, you might want to bring a nice wind proof jacket and some sunnies as it can be both windy and blinding at the same time!

Tickets!

Tickets!

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Lift Selfie 😉

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Told you it gets windy...

Told you it gets windy…

2. The Cathedral

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So this sight actually is two fold as you can go into the actual cathedral, which is super schön with the pointy arches, candles, choral music and multitudes of religious paintings and then you can go round the corner and climb up the tower! Now, this tower is only 66m high, but as it was built yonks ago, there are no lifts. Which means? You get to climb 330+ steps! Wooooo! However, it is very worth it. Because unlike the Main Tower where you are a part of the skyline, from the Cathedral you can see the skyline as a whole, which is just such a rewarding experience. Which is why I have now climbed those stairs 5 times. That’s right. 1650+ steps… My thighs are like rocks… And is brilliant views aren’t enough, it only costs EUR1.50!

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3. Römer, The Alte Oper and Lock Bridge

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Otherwise known as the Old City, Römer is famously the one of the few parts of Frankfurt which weren’t destroyed by the second world war. It is very distinct from the rest of the city with it’s old, Germanic buildings and cobble stoned flooring (which eats up high heels). One can find a huge number of German pubs and places to buy various different types of Wurst! After

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The Alte Oper is slightly out from the rest of Römer, but is also another old building. It is just down the road for work and so it quite often where I eat my lunch! On a sunny day with ice cream, the fountain is the perfect place!

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And Lock Bridge, my favourite of the many bridges in Frankfurt. There is something about the colours and the view it presents, as well as the style of the bridge that makes it just so special to work across!

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 4. Sunset Viewing

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This should actually probably be number one on the list because oh-my-goodness, Frankfurt really does the BEST sunsets. Regardless of rain or sun, the sunsets (or Sonnunter) here are always astonishingly beautiful. I have seen at least a million by now but they really really never disappoint me. In fact, I think I have more sunset photos in my collection than I do selfies! 😮

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5. The Museums!

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So Frankfurt, as most big cities tend to be, is absolutely FILLED with museums! After two months here, I still haven’t managed to visit them all! Here are a few of my faves so far:

Goethehaus: The house belonging to Germany’s answer to Shakespeare~

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Historische Museum

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Film Museum

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Architekturmuseum

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6. The Chinese Gardens

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Continuing with this cultural theme, I am sure you won’t be surprised to know that I was more than excited to discover that Frankfurt has a Chinese Garden! With the soothing atmosphere and serene location, it is the perfect place to take a book and just relax for a while.

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7. Boat Tours anyone?

As Frankfurt am Main actually means Frankfurt on the river Main, it is probably not a stretch of the imagination to think that boats are pretty common place here. Now, naturally not everyone can own a boat (although I wish I could sometimes….) however the city does offer two options for Tourists so everyone can get a little go actually in the river!

First things first, you could rent a little peddle boat (or treppboot) and then get some strapping young lads to peddle you up the river for a nice 10EUR/30mins – not bad at all when split between three!

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Or for those of you who prefer to travel somewhat more luxuriously, there is an official tour boat that goes every hour which allows you to sit back, relax and enjoy a cup of whatever takes your fancy whilst the captain gives you a little information about the city in both German and English. Being the British girls we are, my friend and I opted for tea 🙂

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8. Shopping

Because what’s a holiday without a little bit of einkaufen to keep one happy?

German Section: In Deutschland, es gibt zwei verschiedene Ort, wo man einkaufen kann. Für Leute mit viel Geld, haben wir Goethestrasse. Goethestrasse ist wo mein Arbeit ist und es ist im Stadtzentrum. Man kann Louis Vouton, Gucci, Prada, Chanel, Dior, Tiffany’s und Burberry alle da kaufen, wenn man genug Geld hat!

And finally, we have the big shopping mall called MyZeil, which is also located in the city centre! With it’s funky architecture, bazillions of cool sales and even more food-stalls, you can be sure to find whatever you need. But be warned, Germany has a NO-TRADING policy on Sundays so best get all your shopping done on Saturday!

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And so that, my lovely readers, is the end of my Frankfurt Tour. Of course there were a million and one other things I could have added, like some of the lovely food restaurants or the zoo or some special food and drink we have here in Germany, but alas, this post was long enough already… So for thank you very much for reading. I hope you have learnt a little German along the way and if you have been to any of these places, please do let me know in the comments!

Alternatively, if you have anything to recommend me, please do this too as I would love to keep exploring new things to do in Frankfurt!

Other than that, I will see you next month~

A New Journey.

08/07/2014

Dear my lovely readers,

I have, finally, moved to Frankfurt after three months and twenty two days of waiting and oh my goodness, I cannot even begin to describe just how much of an adventure this experience is! From the packing to the moving to the working to the sight-seeing to the living-by-oneself-without-much-money… It has truly been the experience of a lifetime so far. And it’s only been a week!

However, before I delve into the depths of Frankfurt life, let us rewind back to the very beginning.

Am Montag den 30sten Juni 2014

Packing. It felt like not long ago since I was last packing all my stuff into boxes to move to University for the very first time… and now… I’m doing it all again, but this time with an essential difference. I have only one 23kg suitcase to take with me!

To do this, I had to ask myself, what do I really need?

The immediate answer of EVERYTHING did spring to mind however I eventually managed to keep myself together and against it. After all, tights can be found in Frankfurt, I’m sure…

So in the end, this is what I brought with me.

GERMAN SECTION:

In meinem Koffer, habe ich:

Ein Deutschen Buch. Es heißt ‘Schneewitchen Muss Sterben’.

Viele Röcke

Viele Kleide

Viele Hemden

Ein paar Schuhe

Ein Notbook

Meine Handy

Mein Laptop

Mein Reisepass

Und letzt, meine Fahrkarte eingepackt

Leider, habe ich meine Decke nicht mitgebracht…

Next up, getting to Germany!

Meine Reise~

Pre-Flight Selfie!

 

Travel Essentials~