Weekly Photo Challenge: Unexpected

Weekly Photo Challenge: Unexpected

On my travels, I discovered Peter Parker lurking around in Offenbach, outside of Frankfurt, Germany.

Something I pondered about in Offenbach.
More here:

Related Posts:

http://hollyedejer.wordpress.com/2013/11/22/weekly-photo-challenge-unexpected/#comment-230

http://windagainstcurrent.com/2013/11/22/weekly-photo-challenge-unexpected/

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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

Part 3 EuroScandi Odyssey – Landing in Frankfurt

Day 3

Although it was Friday and we spent most of it flying over Asia and the Middle East, we were to move backwards in time and experience Friday a second time. It was shortly after 6 am Friday when we landed, so the start of Friday again!

Our Lufthansa flight was on the then new and so enormous A-380, which has two floors of seating. With the Lufthansa CEO and his entourage taking up most of the senator class on the Upper deck, (spotted later on German TV, otherwise would not have had the foggiest who he was),  it then took us almost a full hour to board this mammoth, flying monster that had just come into service; so recently in fact, that it still smelt new. I must comment that the cabin was very well insulated, which did cut down on that awful vibrative noise one gets during long haul flights.

The Crew were not very friendly, but not unfriendly either. Just a presence, could not really say  a verbal one, more a physical one. As for the passengers, the man next to me was either Russian or East European and he was the best flight neighbour I have had yet. He just curled up and went to sleep, and I did  not hear ‘boo’ out of him all night. The other side of the plane consisted of a large group of square-headed, severely blonde gentlemen with no. 1 crew cuts, shouting in what sounded like an angry Deutche. But then German sounds like an angry language, sometimes.

Frankfurt airport itself, is huge and extremely difficult to get one’s bearings in unless, of course,  you go directly out to an exit. On passing through Passport control, we were asked about our itinerary as happens when you are a foreigner. I must say that the customs/police were very kind and friendly, as was our taxi driver, (who was hell bent on breaking the sound barrier, getting us to our hotel in Offenbach, a satellite town of Frankfurt. He was from Pakistan, ( aren’t most taxi drivers?) and he told us how he had a near fatal car accident when he first started driving… eeek! Something he tells his customers to reassure them, no doubt……

To our delight, our room at Sheraton Offenbach was made available for us straight away, at 7.15 am, which was either by good fortune, or because we were part of a large tour group that was commencing the next day. So, after settling in, we toddled out to find what Offenbach had on offer….excuse the bad pun/Dad joke.

What we found was a small  Christmas market, focused on food, in the “main” (again excuses for the pun/Dad joke), a wonderful Cafe at the Rathaus, where hot chocolate would be served to you for a  meagre $1.20 Euro, but who am I to complain? (Especially when I am used to paying $6.00AUD).Also,  a medium sized indoor shopping centre with some wonderful clothes shops, just a short stroll from our hotel. Heidi and I spent most of the day there buying jumpers and t-shirts, also some jewellery that was a bit more stylish than the mainstream shops back home. We loved it and found many a bargain and some nice new winter gear. When I visited Germany in 2004, everthing was so  expensive, now…. things were very inexpensive. Was the AUD performing that well against the Euro?

It was rather cold and we started to feel it, but nothing daunted, we did spot a squirrel in the nearby Palais park, and it was far too tempting to not chase this little fellow into the park. Whilst the Autumn leaves periodically dropped around us, we attempted to get a good photo of the illusive creature (which turned out to be a blurry shot anyway). The Palais building, pictured below,  is now a conference centre for the hotel, but looked like something that the Von Trappe family might have once owned.  The outside temperature was about + 5 degrees, but felt a little colder, presumably after our Singapore sojourn, and we had not yet acclimatised to the cold.

Busing Palais Offenbach
Busing Palais Offenbach

Europe 2011second batch 063Europe 2011second batch 075Something else we had yet to learn about Offenbach was where to find good local eateries and we were somewhat put off by the name of some of the food at the supremarket and  Christmas markets such as  “Super Dickman.”  (The mind boggles but there we have it…) Opting for something safer, we purchased some simple bread rolls from the Supermarket, (it’s always good to check out the local’s food ) and found some delicious pastries as well, which were more than satisfying. The German bakery treats were to become so familiar to us and indeed part of our permanent body shape for the next 3 weeks and hopefully not part of our body shape for three years. They are sooo good!!!Come nighttime, we dined at the hotel restaurant and the prices, once again, I have to say were moderate, compared to Australia. I had a delicious prawn pasta dish, seen below, in its triumphal glory and Heidi had a bolognaise that would have easily fed 6 people!!!
Travellers tip: If you are used to having still water with your meals, then beware, in Germany you have to specially request still water and pay for it, or they will provide mineral water in a bottle for you, again at a price.If you just ask for ‘water’, they will give you the version with bubbles, or ‘gas’, as they say. In other words, sparkling mineral water. You have to ask for ‘still vand’, or ‘still water’. Perhaps because it is much colder in Germany than at home, noone seems to drink still tap water here.  You can see our requested ‘water’ in the background of this picture, where we learnt this lesson very quickly. Water was something we pondered about on our first night in Germany.

Searching for the illusive Squirrel