The soft sides of a business queen
It’s been a long and sometimes painful journey through a jungle of misconception and prejudice. Both seem to die as hard as any of the bad habits the world so happily cultivates. Eventually it looks as though Frankfurt – Hessen’s largest city (but not it’s capital, that’s Wiesbaden, you didn’t know that, did you?) has managed to shed its unjustified reputation of being nothing but a money-minded financial hub. See for yourselves how winsome it can be.
Other cities might harbour a grudge after being treated in such fashion for so long. Frankfurt is of the forgiving kind and gladly shares its often charming properties with those ready to explore the soft side of this city sporting the world’s largest book fair and one of Europe’s busiest airports.
First of all, you’ll have to learn the native language. Come on! Just give it a try to outshine friends and colleagues or to render your local business partners thoroughly flabbergasted by your knowledge. Here we go:
The sounds of Frankfurt…
Mooomendemal! – Stop! Just a moment!
Dribbdebach – on the opposite side of the river
Ei, Guuuude wiie? – Hello!
Bembelsche – a small mug for Cider
babbele – to ramble, chatter, speak
Bobbelche – baby, toddler
De Maa – the river Main
Maabrigg – a bridge across the river Main
Klaamackthall – (Kleinmarkthalle) covered market (hall), small
gugge – to look, to watch
e bissi – a little
Dabbes – shlemiel, awkward person
desdeweesche – that’s why!
Dorschenanner – commotion
Graedediersche – a small fish
krumbelisch – crumpled
nuffzus – upwards
nunnerzuus – downwards
naggisch – in the nude
Schnibbelsche – snippet, tidbit
Schodder – wherewithal
And: Mei Zuggerschneggsche – a term of endearment literally meaning: my little Danish Pastry
(the curled sort which, in Germany, is called ‘snail’)
… and of music: Dining out
Being an international city, Frankfurt sports cuisines of every conceivable flavour, colour, spiciness, odour, consistency, shape, size or provenance in outlets from rustic to posh at bespoke prices.
The dish best known locally pretty much tastes the way it looks – and looks the way the language sounds: somewhat peculiar. One has not been to Frankfurt, unless one has had a hearty bite of the legendary Handkaes’ mit Musik (a cheese of soured milk made by hand and sprinkled with Cumin seeds to jog digestive activity). Handkaes’ is very healthy – with only one percent fat content. One should not indulge in it too much, though…
The cheese is bathed in a simple vinaigrette with loads of wicked onions in it. The ‘music’ usually starts resonating once the human metabolism sets on… At which point Handkaes’-mit-Musik-eaters are highly recommended to swiftly seek a deserted place far away from civilization – unless they prefer to play the tuba or clarinet part in a questionable rhapsody with the likeminded.
Those who do not care for cheese can opt for ‘Rippchen mit Sauerkraut’, whereby the former are smoked ribs simmering in the latter, accompanied by a mighty heap of mashed potatoes. What the after-effects of this dish are? Please vide above.
Both delicacies are washed down with a mug of Cider – the ‘Bembelsche’ of ‘Ebbelwoi’. It is unwise to drink it straight. One should rather dilute it instead with either mineral water or something sweeter. Here comes another warning: Ebbelwoi even accelerates the movements described before.
Did you know?
Between 1562 and 1792 ten German emperors were crowned at the Frankfurter Dom (St. Bartholomaeus Cathedral), the last one being Franz II.
St. Paul’s Church (Paulskirche) was completely destroyed during WW II. After its reconstruction it became a symbolic site for the renaissance of a democratic Germany. Each year, during the international book fair, the Peace Prize of the German Book Trade is awarded here.
It was by a hair’s breadth, that Frankfurt did not become Germany’s capital in 1949. One was so sure of winning the vote, that a plenary hall had been built prematurely within Hessen’s Broadcasting Station – in anticipation of the dramatic change in the city’s fate. It was not to happen and Bonn emerged as the victor.
Of course you were taught at school that the great German Poet Johann Wolfgang v. Goethe was born in Frankfurt. His former residence – the Goethehaus – is one of the city’s most vividly visited attractions. Goethe’s mother Aja’s gravesite lies right in the centre of the school yard of the Liebfrauenschule.
The Jewish girl Anne Frank spent her early childhood in Frankfurt, before her family fled to Amsterdam in 1933 to escape from the Nazi regime. Her unsettling diaries still shock the world; Anne died at the concentration camp Bergen-Belsen in 1945. Hansaallee 150 is a touching place, that allows youths – and adults – to train their awareness of the disconcerting history of Nazism in Germany.
The city has successfully been running the so-called ‘Kinderbuero’ (Childrens’ Office) for well over 20 years. Around 60 paid helpers plus many honorary ones invest much of their time to create a child-friendly city. Two events the little ones can hardly await are the yearly Ducks Race and the atmospheric Torch Light Festival, both taking place along the banks of the river Main.
Museums galore. Put your trainers on!
Are you fit for a marathon of the impressive array of museums Frankfurt boasts? Many of which make rather wonderful venues for events, by the way! Plus: the most renowned ones are clustered along the river Main, which facilitates conquering them on foot: the ones for Archeology, Communication, Architecture, Film, History, Icons, Sculptures, Applied or Modern Art, World Cultures, the world-famous The Städel or Museum Giersch…. All in all, Frankfurt offers more than 60 larger or smaller museums and exhibition sites across the city.
On the same side of the river, ‘dribbdebach’ in the Sachsenhausen district, there are located some of those irresistible places serving the authentic speciality Handkaes’ mit Musik. Enjoy!
All images: ©Christina Feyerke