I have been to Frankfurt 4 times. I came to help International Book Fair 2 times. That is a memorable thing. Visiting Goethe house is one of my favorite things to do. I enjoy every time and find something new about his ideas and life.
Drinking beer in a typical German restaurant is a lot of fun. Shopping is also a great fun. Several museums and opera are yet to be awaited. International Book Fair and meeting many publishers, authors and book-fun
The world's best internet training
I just realized that I began training for the internet long before there even was such a thing.
No wonder I felt right at home in the internet from day one, as soon as I got connected.
Now for the very first time I am going to reveal my secret of the world's best internet training. The secret is . . . thirty-four consecutive years of attending the Frankfurt Book Fair.
How does the Book Fair train you for the internet?
1. Both the internet and the Book Fair consist of such a vast multitude of items that no one person could ever access more than a tiny fraction.
2. No matter what your special field of interest aka obsession might be, you will find so much information on it and so many practitioners of it that before long it will seem completely normal to you, and not the kinky aberration that your parents and classmates always thought it was.
3. You can learn how to navigate and find what you want.
4. You can learn not to let the masses of items and information overwhelm you.
5. The people are at least as important as the items on display.
There is one difference, though. After a day at the Book Fair, it's your feet that are sore.
While service charges are included in your restaurant bill, it's customary to round up the bill anywhere from the nearest deutsche mark to 5%. This should be given to the waiter/waitress when paying. Don't leave any money on the table. In a taxi, there's no need to tip beyond rounding up to the nearest mark unless extraordinary service is provided.
Instituto Cervantes in the old Amerika Haus
1. Instituto Cervantes 2009.
2. Amerika Haus 2004.
3. Weatherproof text panels and photos about the history of Amerika Haus and Instituto Cervantes -- all in three languages, German, English and Spanish.
Frankfurt's old Amerika Haus has changed languages and is now the home of the Instituto Cervantes, which is the official cultural institution of the Spanish government and is intended "to promote and teach Spanish and to spread the culture of Spain and Spanish-speaking countries."
I recently tried to attend a concert at the Instituto Cervantes (with soprano Juanita Lascarro and guitarist Heike Matthiesen), but it was sold out so I have learned my lesson and will book well in advance in the future.
The old Amerika Haus was founded right after the Second World War in 1945, and moved into this building in 1957.
It was basically a public library such as might be found in any small town in America, with a typical selection of American books shelved in accordance with the Dewey Decimal System. But they also had an auditorium where visiting American writers, scholars and folk-singers used to appear, and for decades they had a full-time staff member who advised German students on how to get into American universities.
As recently as the 1980s I used to come and borrow books here, and on several occasions I also brought my English classes for a tour of the library.
This was an immensely popular institution in Frankfurt for a quarter century or so, but during the Vietnam War it gradually became a target for protest demonstrations. I was present at some of these, but usually disguised as a journalist. You young folks wouldn't believe the huge reel-to-reel tape recorders we used to lug around in those days (see my Cutting edge technology album for a photo), but I shouldn't complain because my Uher saved me from getting a mighty bash on the head at one of the demonstrations. The club-wielding policeman noticed my tape recorder and microphone just in time, and decided I was a reporter, not a demonstrator. I did get soaked by the water cannon, though, and a friend of mine got badly clubbed on the head that day.
At some point they closed the Amerika Haus library, not only for security reasons but also because of budget cuts and a decline in public interest. The British Council also closed their library in Frankfurt years ago for similar reasons. But the new Instituto Cervantes seems to be going strong, if the first few months are any indication.
Instituto Cervantes Fráncfort, Staufenstraße 1,
60323 Frankfurt am Main
GPS 50° 7'9.99" North; 8°40'13.42" East
Hanau - Alte Fasanerie (Game Park)
The Alte Fasanerie is a historic Game Park first established by the local dukes to disencourage poaching in their hunting grounds. A stone wall was erected around the area that in itself is ten times as large as the Frankfurt zoo. The "Alte Fasanerie" has 15 km hiking paths on their grounds, all the while you are walking past the spacious animal enclosures where several species of deer, bison, wild pigs, lynxes, wild cats, red foxes and even three polar wolves can be seen. There is also a falconry with daily shows (within the doe deer enclosure).
30 minutes east from Frankfurt, direction Würzburg on the motorway A3, exit Hanau - then follow brown sign "Wildpark".