Frankfurt am Main, Tuesday, June 9, 2015.
The drive from Dresden to Frankfurt, yesterday, was through a green mosaic of fields and forests. We had a bit more time to enjoy these views than anticipated due to the abundance of road maintenance projects. We stopped at Bad Homburg outside of Frankfurt where my husband lived in 1968, while in the USAF. Bad Homburg is now basically a suburb of Frankfurt rather than the small commuter village of fifty years ago, but still a very charming place.
Frankfurt is a mix of skyscrapers and reconstructed 18th and 19th century buildings, hence the nicknames “Mainhattan” and “Chicago am Main”. Last night we ate at a restaurant on the Frankfurt City Center plaza. There was a large crowd joined in a sort of line dance to live music. We asked a young man what it was all about, and he explained that it was a celebration of the Kurd Party’s victory in Sunday’s elections in Turkey. There is a large Turkish immigrant population in Germany, including, evidently, many Kurds. Throughout our dinner, we could hear triumphant speeches and chanting, that only seemed to be getting started as we finished eating. Demonstrations in Berlin, celebrations in Frankfurt, we’ve seen more political civic participation (albeit for non-German politics,) in a week than have in a year at home.
The two German political issues we’ve heard about are: one, the burden of Greece’s bailout on Germany’s pocketbook; two, the problem of the striking childcare workers. The 240,000 Childcare workers’ union has agreed to mediation after a three-week strike http://www.dw.de/mediation-to-halt-german-day-care-worker-strike-for-now/a-18495655, but the problem of Greece seems to be pretty hopeless. http://eedition.inyt.com/epaper/viewer.aspx> and http://www.nytimes.com/2015/06/09/opinion/roger-cohen-greece-the-greek-trap.html?_r=0 . (One of the things we consider an added bonus to European travel is the availability of the International Herald Tribune, now the International New York Times—excellent paper.)
Today we visited the Stadelsches Kunstinstitut with its wonderful art collection including Botticelli’s portrait of Giuliano Medici’s mistress, and Vermeer’s “The Geographer”. We were especially lucky to go there during a special exhibit “Monet and the Birth of Impressionism.”
Tomorrow we’re driving to Amsterdam. I have enjoyed our stay in Germany, with its great people, beautiful sites and art, but most of all its great food. I had given up red meat and alcohol for about three months, but a week of amazing sausages, sauerbraten, sauerkraut, schnitzel, spargel (asparagus), wine, not to mention chocolate and streudel may not have improved my health, but has definitely improved my disposition.