Traveling home

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July 7, 2012 by marieelia

My last day in Frankfurt, I knew I wanted to visit the MMK, the Ikon Museum, and the Städel Museum. I also knew where to get coffee this time, so I headed straight to the Kleinmarkthalle. I got my coffee and a giant pretzel. If you don’t have Celiac, and aren’t severely gluten-intolerant, I recommend throwing caution to the wind to experience a German pretzel:


I sat on a cement tree planter / bench on the sidewalk and sipped slowly, tearing my pretzel up. I watched people go by, and I felt like I was part of the rhythm of the city. Like all travelers, I was happy to be going home, but I was sad to leave. I’d seen only a fraction of the city, but I really fell for it.

I headed to the MMk first, and this was one of my favorite pieces. I finished my day at the Städel, where I started with the Dutch Masters and worked my way forward to contemporary art. But my favorite museum was the Ikonen-Museum. My favorite art is medieval art, and I miss living right near The Cloisters. Part of my love for it is a fascination with story-telling—with documentation as art—and medieval artworks are nothing if not stories. Icons, too, are beautiful renderings of meaning, a gorgeous conveyer of important information. I wish I could convey the warm glow of the egg tempura on wood in the pieces I saw. I was the only one in the museum, so it was a very private and luxurious visit. I also got to say hi to Saint Seraphim of Sarov, someone Rita has mentioned quite a few times in the Food, Faith, and Fasting podcast:

Seraphim von Sarow

The Ikon Museum and MMK were right near my hotel, so before I headed to the Städel, I spent a few hours wandering around Sachsenhausen, a chic little neighborhood right across the river. I went into lots of sweet little shops and sat in a park with some fizzy water for a while. (Why is it so much harder to find seltzer or mineral water in the U.S.?) I added this shop to my informal Tour of Bicycle Shops of Frankfurt. They were very nice there, and I almost bought a beautiful pannier, but I refrained:

Feine Velos

I also scouted out possible places to have some real apfelwein later, but most of the cafes I saw were very hip. I wanted something traditional, as touristy as that sounds. I finally headed to the Städel in the later afternoon, as it looked overcast. When I left, it was raining, so I got to do one of my favorite things when I’m visiting a new city: Ride the bus! I took this photo of the Städel from the bus:

Städel Museum

Back in Sachsenhausen, I accidentally came upon the cluster of traditional outdoor dining places it’s known for but that I had somehow missed earlier. Really, I turned down one street and found myself transported to narrow cobblestone streets and alleys:

One place blended into another

The whole area looked like this

None of the places really felt right, though, maybe because it was on the early side (5pm) and they were mostly empty. Just as I was about to give up, though, I found Atschel. There were a few late 20-somethings at one table, a middle aged man at another, and an older couple as well, and it was small and quiet. I ordered apfelwein and schnitzel with green sauce. I felt like a tourist, but when my meal came, with the green sauce in this beautiful tiny Weck jar, I knew I had ordered the right thing:

Apfelwein, and sauce in a jar!


Tired traveler

I dropped off some things at my hotel, went over to my little gelato place (completely abandoning all healthy eating on my last day, apparently), and successfully ordered and paid for my walnut & chocolate gelato in German. I ate it while sitting in the middle of the Domplatz, watching the evening activity and saying goodbye to my little neighborhood.

The next day, I had breakfast at the hotel again, in the pretty white dishes:

Muesli & Coffee

As I was leaving, I met a man who was just arriving. He was from Texas, and he was going to be staying in Frankfurt for a little while. It was so strange to speak English with an American again, like suddenly having a microphone when you had previously been trying to speak loudly enough without one. Similarly, I felt too loud, and too clear. Then I got my suitcase, walked confidently to the U-bahn, bought my subway ticket—fingers flying over the screen, knowing which fare to purchase—successfully switched to the S-bahn to the airport, and made my way to my gate, stopping to purchase a bag of Milkas for my coworkers.


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