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Frankfurt – Good friends in an often overlooked city

Andre & Tonya - loving their new home in Germany

 

 

The reason we are heading to Frankfurt is to visit our old friends Andre Haermeyer and his wife, Tonya Stevens. We’ve known Tonya since the good old days of the Fitzroy Football Club and got to know Andre well when he was police minister in our home state in Australia.  They moved to Germany about four years ago and have settled in to life in this thriving community.

 

 

 

The old city

 

 

 

Most people only stop at Frankfurt’s airport on the way to other places (we’ve been guilty of this in the past) or come to the city on business with the finance sector. What they miss is a city filled with wonderful architecture and history.

 

 

 

Frankfurt - toasting the wine region

 

 

Tonya has taken to her new home with a passion usually reserved for long-time residents. She takes visitors on walking tours of the old city giving them an insider’s look at what survived WWII and what has been created out of the rubble.

 

 

 

 

The memorial to the night they burned the books

 

 

 

There is no hiding from the past in Frankfurt. In the middle of the main square is a memorial that marks the day the Nazis burned the books in 1933 – it was an ominous sign of things to come.

 

 

 

 

Their home is long gone but they Strauss brothers are remembered

 

 

There are markers showing where Jews, rounded up and removed from the city and taken to the death camps, once lived.

 

 

 

 

 

 

12,000 names

 

 

And the wall around the old Jewish Cemetery bears the names of those 12,000 Jews, among them Anne Frank and her family. It is an evocative way to ensure we never allow such atrocities to occur again.

 

 

 

 

 

Anne Frank

 

The Cathedral

 

 

 

The city was bombed heavily during the war but the magnificent cathedral survived.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This buidling survived

 

 

 

Some of the surrounding buildings were also untouched – others have been carefully rebuilt to restore the beauty to the city.

 

 

 

 

An array of fruit and veg

 

 

And Frankfurt is a place of great food with regular farmers markets held in the squares and a marvellous fresh food market. This fruiterer helped Tonya learn German in her early days in the city.

 

 

 

 

 

Brian and Tonya sample a local delicacy in one of the street markets

 

Apple wine

 

 

 

The local delicacy is Apple Wine – always served in ceramic jugs and drunk from stylised tumblers.

 

 

 

 

Heidelberg

 

 

Andre and Tonya took us on a day trip to Heidelberg – one of the few cities that wasn’t bombed during the war. Its narrow streets and squares are alive with tourists and students from the local university.

 

 

 

 

 

Heidelberg

 

Heidelberg Schloss

 

 

 

It is all overlooked by the amazing castle which, like most, was built in stages over centuries.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The wonderful Munchy

 

 

 

We can’t thank Andre and Tonya enough for looking after us so well. And special thanks have to go to their two amazing cats Munchy (who enjoyed exploring our bed) and the camera shy Paris. It was hard to say goodbye. That is the downside to a journey like ours – constantly saying goodbye to new friends and old.

1 Responses to “Frankfurt – Good friends in an often overlooked city”

  1. Tonya says:

    It was so wonderful having you both here!
    We had such a great time with you and we are so glad you enjoyed Frankfurt and got to see the “real Frankfurt” We all miss you here- Munchy and Paris too.
    (yes, saying good bye to you was hard, but the joy of seeing you and spending time together and being a small part of your adventure was just priceless for us!)
    Can’t wait until we see each other again
    Until then enjoy your amazing journey.
    Love from all of us here in Frankfurt
    Tonya, Andre, Munchy and Paris xxxx

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