Let Me Be Frank with You

Our last stop in Germany? Frankfurt. And our first stop in Frankfurt? You guessed it: a Christmas market.

Unlike the fenced-in Christmas markets we'd visited elsewhere, Frankfurt's extended for several city blocks. 

We couldn't, however, wander while we drank our glühwein; we had to stay in the tent where we'd ordered it. 

Ashley, Chelsea, and Courtney flew back to the US early the next morning, Friday. I'm not sure why (because it was the original plan? because I could?), but I felt compelled to leave a day later, on Saturday. I'm so glad I did! After striking out on various other ideas, I realized there's an LCMS missionary based in Frankfurt: Rev. Gary Schuscke! He recommended an excellent walking tour, then met up with me near its endpoint. 

My tour didn't start until 10, but because I'm me, and because our hostel didn't have free breakfast, I headed to the city center early. It was pretty sleepy since none of the tourist attractions were open yet, but I found an open café and watched the market stalls unload their morning deliveries. 

One of the walking tour's first stops was the Dom Cathedral. I liked the juxtaposition of the Nativity and crucifixion scenes.

Our guide did an excellent job of intermingling indoor stops with the outdoor ones, to give us a respite from the cold AND point out free, clean public restrooms. This 1:500 city model is in the lobby of the City Planning Office. See the Dom on the far side of the Main River (this Frankfurt is often referred to as Frankfurt am Main, or Frankfurt on the Main, because there's another Frankfurt on the Oder River). 

Frankfurt's Holocaust Memorial Wall, is deeply personal, with a block for each of the 12,000 Frankfurters murdered at the hands of the Nazis, among them Anne Frank.

Around lunchtime, we had some free time in the Kleinmarkthalle, an indoor maze of stalls selling flowers, meats, cheeses, pastries, spices, produce, and more. Frau Schreiber has been a fixture serving plate lunches for decades. 

The line for fresh fish from the lower level went all the way up the stairs!

The house where Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, Frankfurt's most famous son, lived, was one of the first structures restored after the city was bombed during WWII.

One of seven Spiderman statues hidden throughout the city!

The plaque above the door commemorates where Martin Luther stayed when he passed through Frankfurt on his way to the Diet of Worms.

If you look closely, you can see one of several cat statues perched atop the peak of the pointed façade in the City Hall courtyard. Legend has it that one year when the books didn't quite add up, the discrepancy was blamed on "mice." Instead of hiring an auditor, someone decided to be funny. 

Eisener Steg, a pedestrian bridge over the Main, is adorned with love locks. Museums line the far riverbank in the background of the photo. 

This photo is from just before we parted ways later that evening, but I met up with Gary around 2 pm at the Alte Nikolai church doors. He deployed mere months after I did, so while we'd never met in person, we went through CTSFW's Missionary Formation Certification Program modules together.

We wandered the city center/Christmas market area for a bit, stopping for feuerzangenbowle, a particular type of glühwein made in a copper vat, sweetened by a slowly melting sugar cone, and served in a handleless earthenware mug. I wouldn't have given the stall a second look without a "local."

I was pretty clueless about Gary's ministry, but we hopped the tram for a few stops and visited his parish, Trinity, home to an all English-speaking flock! Frankfurt is a hugely international city, with people from around the world coming to work in its renowned finance sector.

After a bit more Christmas market wandering, Gary led us to our dinner reservation. I had wild boar and Frankfurt's famous apfelwine (apple wine) to drink. Gary also let me sample some of his green sauce (a mayo-based, green-goddess dressing-like condiment made with seven different herbs and traditionally served over boiled potatoes and eggs), another Frankfurt specialty. Each of the cities we visited had such a distinct vibe, but Frankfurt's multicultural flair and mix of stereotypical half-timbered architecture with skyscrapers may have been my favorite! 

Before the sun came up the next morning, I headed to the airport for the start a marathon travel "day." Looking back, I might have planned aspects of the trip differently, and there's certainly more of the country I want to see, but I'm thankful for time spent networking with dear coworkers, the humbling experience of being in short-term volunteers' shoes in an unfamiliar international setting, and the opportunity to have gotten to know even a small slice of the land to which my faith and family can trace its roots. 

Until next time, blessings!


Wow! What an awesome trip! God is good! Thank you for sharing. God bless your New Year as you serve Him! Love, hugs, and prayers, Carolyn