Tuesday, June 10, 2014

June 7-9 2014: Vegetarian Frankfurter

View of Frankfurt from the top
Jetlag + Sauer Applewein kicking in

For our vacation this summer, we decided to head to Marburg Germany to research and get a feel for the town where Olga's novel will be set - and Helsinki Finland where we have friends and also it's super close for St Petersburg family to meet us. Before heading to Marburg, we decided to spend a day in Frankfurt since we had never seen any of it beyond the airport.

Views of Marburg...
...from the castle

Despite being a main entry point to Europe and one of the busiest airports, Frankfurt is a small town, similar in population to San Francisco. We were able to see quite a lot in one day: the Jewish Museum, view of the city from the tallest building, The old Römer square (the 14th/15th century style buildings that were rebuilt/recreated after WWII), the Main River-side bar area (perfect place to catch an hour power nap!), and Alt Sachsenhausen (the authentic old part of town that was spared destruction because it was outside the route of Allied bombers).

Live scene outside projected onto a
table inside the Camera Obscrura
Old Weidenhausen neighborhood
where 13th century tradespeople lived

Alt Sachsenhausen is also the best place to grab apfelwein, the favorite drink of the Hesse region of Germany. I got mine "sauer", which is with sparkling water added to make it more like a sour apple beer. Another local specialty is the Grüne soße (Green Sauce), which is a delicately balanced blend of 7 herbs and spices mixed into a sauce with yogurt and crème fraiche, and served with boiled potatoes and hard boiled eggs. Perfect for vegetarians! The only trick was finding a restaurant that served a vegetarian version of it - or so I thought. Every restaurant we visited, I looked at the menu and kept seeing "Frankfurter Grüne soße." I know Germans love their sausages, but I never expected to see so many hot dogs on the menu. Passed by a couple of biergartens before I realized the Frankfurter is not a hot dog but a designation of being a Frankfurt local specialty. Hah!

The only store open where we could
get groceries was a gas station

Sampling the Bananenweizen (banana beer)!
By evening, we had taken the train to Marburg, setting the alarm on our phones just in case we dozed off and missed the stop (it has happened to us before!) If you like authentic old buildings and super cuteness, you must come to Marburg. The Brothers Grimm lived and studied here, so the castle, towers, houses, and other quaint buildings feel quintessentially old world as they inspired the stories that inspired your imagination :)
Square in Marburg where this blogpost was written

It's great that the town is so charming and cute to explore because the entire city was shutdown from Saturday night when we arrived until Tuesday morning for Whit Sunday and Whit Monday holidays. Scattered things were open - including the Elizabeth Church, Castle and its camera obscura experiment where you can play with a giant pinhole camera. Most bars/restaurants/cafes were open, but all stores (including grocery and drug) were closed. Good thing we hadn't forgotten anything important!

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