Friday, October 2, 2015

Caveat: We're not corporate types.

BW hasn't looked back since moving to Europe and leaving the business arena, and it's been 10 years since I was a journalist in a cubicle at a newspaper where the publisher would push into the newsroom once a month to write a column about the Rotary Club or sailing on his woody (um, wooden boat) in Florida.

Needless to say, when I went to IB training in Frankfurt am Main, aka "Mainhattan", aka "Bankfurt", I wasn't crazy about the tourist guidebook suggestions to check out the skyscrapers of the city's financial district. We're from America; skyscrapers are a bit yawn-worthy in comparison with things like castles and cathedrals. And, man, Frankfurt is the most American-looking city I've seen in Europe.

After my fist day of training sessions, I set off from my Sachsenhausen hotel and walked 30 minutes to the Eisener Steg, a pedestrian bridge flanked with rusty remnants of love.

It led to Römerberg, the old city center, reconstructed after WWII. The small square was blanketed with Ampelmännchen, the sprightly little men on East German traffic lights. At least something fun came out of Communism.

I tried to get into the nearby Frankfurter Kunstverein art museum, but it had some sold-out event. The outside looked like a gnarled, leafless Banyan tree.

So, I walked along the Zeil - apparently one of the top attractions in Frankfurt. It's essentially a concrete shopping stretch of mall after mall after mall. (I'm not a mall person, either.)

The second night, I simply went to a German pub and had German food with some gals from the conference. No museums, no ZaraMangoH&M, and it was lovely.

On the last day of training, I had a few hours before flying out and so asked a hotel receptionist with drawn-on cheekbones and falsies what I should see. She marked a spot on a map, and I walked to it. It was a lackluster residential area. A few blocks away, I found a couple of deathly quiet streets obviously set up for nightlife, with Irish pubs and shisha bars and Mexican food. It was Sunday afternoon.

On the walk back, though, I stumbled upon Old Sachsenhausen and a small beer garden with a couple of Apfelwein haunts. Perfect!

Fortified by a tart Apfelwein (dryish cider), I walked back to hotel, shared a cab to the airport with some Croatians, and bid Frankfurt adieu. It wasn't a sad goodbye ;)

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