“Frankfurt really knows how to keep you on your toes”- BJ
Arriving at Frankfurt Hauptbahnhof in the evening is a very peculiar experience. The Hauptbahnhof (Main station) is situated in an area of Frankfurt mainly reserved for the red light district and the central hub to use/sell drugs within the city. This part of town is small and unique in comparison to the rest of the city, but it's also a great way to look into the city’s past.
It is important to note that the red light district and narcotics area only publicly fill a couple of well-known streets in this area (areas such as the main station and Taunusstraße) and I would suggest that you only walk through these areas in the daytime, as it has a completely different vibe at night.
Brothels in Frankfurt are completely legal as long as the prostitutes follow the laws that have been provided to protect them as their profession is considered a legitimate business here. Drugs are also heavily used within this area and the government has provided three safe houses for people who need a safe and hygienic place to use their drugs. These safe houses (large buildings) provide clean needles, advice, and other services in order to help minimise infections and diseases within the drug using communities.
My advice would be to take care and keep hold of your possessions at all times in this area (and in general whilst in Frankfurt)
Things to see and do:
The city is easy to navigate on foot as long as you have a map and some sense of direction.
If you’re looking for beautiful original buildings in Frankfurt, then you will struggle as the city was heavily bombed during the war. But Frankfurt has tried to recreate some of the buildings to look as authentic as they can and the best places to see these would be in the Römerberg which is a pretty little square where the town hall is based. One of the most interesting points of interest within this square is actually situated on the floor. If you head near the fountain within the square and look on the ground, you will find a large round commemorative book burning plaque which roughly translates to (outside writing) "That was but a prelude; where they burn books, they will ultimately burn people also." (Inside writing) "At this site on May 10, 1933, Nazi students burned the books of writers, scientists, philosophers, and publicists." The plaque truly is a melancholy reminder of work and knowledge that was lost at the hands of the naïve and misguided.
The river Main that runs through the city is also incredibly pretty. The north side has the Town Hall and is filled with shops and tourists and the south side filled with museums, traditional eateries and bars. There are several bridges connecting the two sides and I recommend walking across the one adorned with locks from couples who have symbolically locked their love forever. It’s a sweet reminder of the human capacity to love and have compassion for each other.
And if a city view is what you’re after then definitely head to the Main Tower where you will witness an aerial view of the city. (You won’t be able to take the stairs but there is a lift to suit everyone’s needs… unless you’re scared of lifts) But overall it’s a pretty cool view
Things to eat and drink:
Apfelwein: There are two variations of the sour kind. One where you drink it neat and the other which is mixed with sparkling water. I personally thought both were delicious. (There is also a sweet kind but it’s mixed with a fizzy orange drink… apparently it’s not the Frankfurt way and you’re best to avoid it)
Currywurst: Basically a Bratwurst sausage with curry powder and a tomato based sauce, served with delicious German bread. It was oddly tasty but I definitely felt a little ill after mine.
Green Sauce: This sauce is divine. It’s made up of herbs that are pretty difficult to find outside of Germany and is usually served with potatoes and eggs. I personally omitted the eggs from the dish and it was still spectacular.
Whilst in Frankfurt I was fortunate to catch up with another friend SB (who is from Frankfurt) that I had met in Canberra, Australia earlier this year. It was so lovely to see a familiar face and to reminisce about our comical time in Canberra.
And a very special highlight has to be the time spent with some incredibly awesome Australians (with a dash of USA) who genuinely made my time in Frankfurt far more hilarious with their anecdotes, guitar playing and general friendly banter. It truly was a pleasure to be a strange variation of “one of the lads”, teacher and… sighs “mum” and I will certainly miss you all and our “class trips” to the park.
Overall Frankfurt really is worth visiting and I truly hope that you get to experience it in your own unique way. Just be careful.