History & Traditions

Part 4 – Euro Scandi Odyssey – Offenbach and Frankfurt Christmas markets

Day 4 – Winter Wonderland Tour Day 1

Offenbach & Frankfurt, Germany

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Offenbach
Offenbach

Sunny tending to Overcast was the weather prediction and it was about 2 degrees when we set out to explore Offenbach proper. We walked northward, or at least we thought it was northward and happened upon a farmer’s market, where we found a plethora of advent wreaths and candles. Little did we know that seeing this was going to be a common occurrence in the weeks to come. 

Our breakfast had been huge: Smoked salmon, herring/ cheese/and chocolate banana muesli. I could get very used to that!!! Delicious mouth watering pastries/cake/fruit as wellas hot dishes and the most scrumptious pretzel buns. My new favourite food!!

Significant attractions this morning included many buildings and fine houses and a delightful church with wrought iron gates. Some of these manor houses are quite large and some built post war, others’ obviously pre dated the war or were rebuilt afterward, as Frankfurt was fairly heavily hit in WWII


Something unexpected was the appearance of Peter Parker a.k.a. Spiderman and of course the landlady or spouse in the apartment above was dutifully cleaning the windows. ( An obsession that is purely German, I think). 
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Schloss Offenbach is the largest manor house of all in Offenbach.
Dating from the 18th Century, it overlooks the river and the barge fleet, and appears deserted but is open on some occasions, according to the sign on the door. The orange paintjob is a little perplexing and I do wonder what the interior is like….. 
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The Offenbach equivalent of the Gallery of Modern Art, was closed but H. was pleased about that as she thought the building looked creepy. In contrast, the Leatherworkers museum was open but did not look enthralling enough for us to spend more than a little time checking out the shop. Maybe if I was into leathers and whips I might have found something to buy?????:P Then there was a rather weird structure sitting outside, some kind of car with sails, that would fit right into the set of Mad Max Thunderdome!
Tourist tip: keep walking along the Leatherworkers museum street to see some really fantastic suburban architecture and manor houses. Must have been studying history for too long, as I could imagine wartime Offenbach and see German soldiers or SS trotting about with their boots on, in the ever present piles of Autumn maple leaves that seem to be omnipresent in this part of the world at this time of year.  On arrival back at the Sheraton Offenbach hotel, ( via the mall and the Xmas markets), we checked the free internet in the lobby and met up with our tour guide, Sue Mason.The Winter Wonderland tour begins, but where is the snow?

Frankfurt Orientation Tour

On tour of Frankfurt proper, we were introduced to modern Frankfurt The Euro bank ( in the news predominantly at the moment) tent city, Financial Deutsche Bank HQ with the affectionately named ‘credit’ and ‘debit’ towers, and our final stop which proved to be the most exciting of the day. 

We found the bus that was to be our quasi day home for the next 9 days was roomy and comfortable. We ended up the back, opposite a couple from Texas, and in front of a Brissy couple who were headed for London for 2 years who alighted with us at the Frankfurt Xmas markets….. our highlight….
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Well it was a Saturday but an ocean of people greeted us. It was all but impossible to make your way around. I felt like I was back at sideshow alley at the Royal National Show. Most items were a little expensive compared to Offenbach, but we did find a few souvenirs and H. bought me something for xmas on the sly. (Dear little thing) Food wise there was opportunities to sit and drink gluhwein, for 7 euro.  Your payment includes  a deposit, refundable when you return the empty cup, but who has time to sit when there is so much to see and so many people to squeeze past!!! I did grab a  baked potato with dill sour cream sauce (delicious) and that filled me up!! 

The Romer square or Romerburg is something to see, even with a sea of people. The quaint half timbered houses were amongst  the only few buildings untouched by the bombs as a postcard in one of the shops grimly testified. The city was reduced to rubble, and I mean rubble, except for the Romer square timbered buildings that we see today. Imagine how pretty Frankfurt would be if it all looked as the Romer does. 

Don’t miss the Romer round church if you go to Frankfurt, but the city hall is somewhere you can whip around in, literally, in less than 5 mins.  It was the site of the first German parliament of the unified Germany 1832 and 1871. Inside some of the gorgeous shops, real old world charm was happening bigtime, and others, no different, to any modern merchant house, had been thoroughly modernised.  


To Sum up:

The good: Romerberg square original houses and Round church
The Bad:  High prices at the Xmas  markets
The Ugly: Very touristy and worse on a Saturday

5 thoughts on “Part 4 – Euro Scandi Odyssey – Offenbach and Frankfurt Christmas markets”

      1. I was there 2 1/2 years. There were street sweepers. Everything was very clean and historic! I’ve been to Europe again a couple of times since, but not back to Germany. I’d like to visit!

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  1. Well I can tell you that the level of cleanliness has not changed. I did not see one skerrick of litter even after the throngs of people traversed the Christmas markets. There is a lesson there. Thanks for the comments!

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