June 2006


Frankfurt Furienmeister

As I write this, I’m at my hotel in Frankfurt, having passed the afternoon wandering town.

My main objective, and truly the sole reason I came early was to see the works by “der Furienmeister” at the Liebieghaus. The sculptures, all by an unknown master around 1600, were fantastic. The intricacy and detail of the carvings on these miniature sculptures was awe inspiring.

The show is in Frankfurt through 9 July, so if for any random reason you’re going to be in the neighborhood, be sure you stop and take a look.

I spent the vast majority of my time at the museum viewing these sculptures. It was hard to imagine the hand control and the abilities of the artist to carve with such detail at such a small scale.

The rest of my time in Frankfurt was spent wandering. I’ve come to the unfortunate conclusion that Frankfurt sucks—it’s a financial city without a soul. The shopping district is large scale, but lacks a human dimension, and inexpensive decent restaurants.

I did manage to find the Frankfurt American Apparel store, where I picked up two new pair of underwear: I have aggressively started replacing my old and dying Structure underwear. As a part of the process, I am moving from boxers to briefs: briefs take up considerably less space in the suitcase, a critical variable for me.

One of the biggest downers in Frankfurt is the city’s single-minded focus on the upcoming FIFA World Cup—that silly month-long soccer (fußball) event that is sweeping Germany. Living in Weimar I thought the attention given to an event whose closest venue is an hour away in Leipzig, was excessive: soccer chocolates, soccer umbrellas, and soccer cake mixes are just a small sample of what I found at home. Here in Frankfurt, such items would not be noticed in the rush to the multiple soccer related events that I spotted in my brief city tour.

While checking train times at the train station, I did notice something I’d only read about: two British Bobbies were patrolling, accompanied by two German police officers.

Trip Summary: My transatlantic flight on Northwest is not full. I’ve often noticed that the Detroit to Frankfurt flight seems to have a lighter load than their Detroit to Amsterdam flights. Sometimes this emerges because it seems easier, in my random tests, to get inexpensive seats on the flight. The flight attendant who sits at 2R is excellent—she’s been around the cabin three times (while I’ve been awake) serving drinks and checking on people. She seems quite friendly and nice. There’s a reason I like nwa so much—especially when I can get seat 10J or 10A (10H and 10B are also good) on the A330-300.

I checked in for my flight online, using the KLM facility—I printed out my “Boarding Card,” and went straight to the gate at the airport—it was an easy experience, until it was time for the security gate interview, where I was told I needed to get a “real” boarding pass. I was annoyed. I mean, what’s the point of checking in online and printing out a boarding card only to be told it is not real. I understood that they wanted to verify my passport, which was something they should be able to do without having to print “real” boarding cards—nwa can, and does, do this—they have a stamp that they use to indicate that the passport has been verified.

Anyhow, the flight is short—we’re supposed to land 40 minutes early, at least we were told that.

And we were early, early enough for me to catch the connecting flight that left Detroit an hour and a half before the one I was supposed to catch–a great relief.

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