GERMANY, FRANKFURT: A story of a high school volunteer

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Looking back to high school memories one can always think of many bad as well as wonderful opportunities and memories. Especially if you just finished with all the prom drama and have no clue what to do next while waiting for college dreams to come true. For me, one of the questions I believe every person has to face during a lifetime is whether to stay or leave their family home. Further on, even if the leave is shorter, everyone doubts once in their lifetime if it is wise and suitable to move across the world and taste the feeling of foreignness.

My first experience in Frankfurt can be described as bittersweet since the reasons I left were disappointment and failure. However, it made me reconsider and look for short-term solutions to fill my time. I accepted a summer job and a language course in Germany, Frankfurt, even though ironing and cleaning were not at the top of the list of my dream jobs. At the same time, this provided me an escape from reality and problems I could not solve, and an opportunity to try and learn something new. The point was to use the time well and wise.
The first impressions were, of course, positive, the working and studying group I was in were both extraordinary. The people were friendly, from all over the world, ready to share thoughts, ideas, experiences, and help whenever it was necessary. We enjoyed both parts of our day together – study in the morning, work in the afternoon. And the evenings gave us the opportunity to explore the city, visit every little nook we might find interesting and new. It was the process of making a friend for life, and in most cases, it turned out that way for sure.

 

    Places worth seeing

Frankfurt Zoo

A wild, preserved, peaceful, heart-of-the-city oasis established in 1858 is one of the oldest zoological gardens in the world. It will give you the experience of the natural habitat of over 5000 animals in the middle of the city crowd and smog, and take you back in time. It became famous throughout the world thanks to its legendary director Professor Bernhard Grzimek, an important zoologist, animal filmmaker and conservationist who rebuilt the zoo after its destruction in the Second World War and organized a TV program ‘Ein Platz für Tiere’ in the 1960ies and 1970ies.

Also, it is Europe’s largest home for nocturnal animals, and in the Grzimek building, day becomes night, so the Zoo’s visitors can watch nocturnal animals such as bats or African aardvarks in every day (night) activities. A lot of attention I also gave to the Cat Jungle, where visitors can see Indian lions, Sumatran tigers and rusty-spotted cats behind glass instead of barred cages. The Seal Cliff simulate a turbulence both above and below water and create a natural surrounding for fur seals and common seals that are very popular with the visitors.

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Frankfurt Book Fair

The world’s largest book fair with a 500 years old history. For lovers and haters of books and those just enjoying grandiose experiences of any kind. It starts every year in October, and usually last about five days so you have quite a time to explore, plan your visit and spend an entire day wandering the exhibitors and shelves and also spend a large amount of money.  Several thousand exhibitors representing book publishing, multimedia, and technology companies use the first few day to discuss legal affairs such as international publishing rights, license fees, authors rights, censorship and etc. More than 7,000 exhibitors from over 100 countries and more than 277,000 visitors per day. The story originally began in 1454, soon after Johannes Gutenberg had developed printing in movable letters in Mainz, near Frankfurt. So, the first book fair was held only by local booksellers and a few interested citizens. Over the years it became a world’s, profitable event visited by scholars, writers, poets, students, scientists, organizations, publishers, companies, businesses, and others.

Goethe House and Museum

These actually stand on the site of his birthplace, because after the building was destroyed in the Second World War, it was soon restored to the original from the Late Baroque period and contains faithful samples of furniture and displays adequate for that time. It is supported by a non-profit organization also taking care of Goethe’s parents’ house, the Goethe Museum, the poet archive, and a research library. There are both regular exhibitions available only a few times during the year and special exhibitions when visitors can see valuable and sensitive documents and prints from the collection, the manuscript archive, and the library. Depending on the exhibition type, part of the year and week the entrance fee varies, but it is definitely worth every dime spent. 

 

Drinks and dishes you must try

 

Apfelwein

A hard apple cider is one of the legendary drinks that became popular in the Frankfurt area several hundred years ago because it was impossible to get a hold of wine. It is usually served in a “Geripptes” glass, which has small diamond-like lozenges that deflect light.  Of course, as it name says it is made of apples, but wild, green ones that give it a rough, strong taste. It is not unusual even for children to drink it as Ebbelwoi, i.e. mixed with juices such as tonic water, Coca Cola.

 

Dishes

The food is, also, inevitably related to Johann von Goethe who was very fond of the so called Grüne Sosse (green sauce). It contains parsley, sorrel, dill, Burnet, borage, chervil and chives, and is usually mixed with sour cream or quark. This makes it ideal to mix with meat but also other dishes since it is not light, nor salad-like. Whether you ask it for breakfast, lunch or dinner the waiters will always find something to recommend it with; usually, hard-boiled eggs, boiled potatoes, French fries, so it can be a sauce, a dip or a salad and you can even find it in local pubs.

Bethmännchen, are a last but most sweet thing i.e. biscuits with marzipan in the center and almond slices on the outside. The legend says they were first made and served to Herr Simon Moritz von Bethmann ( a highly respected banking dynasty member). For its relation to this famous family, the biscuit has three almond slivers decorating the outside, which are believed to represent the three sons of this famous banker.

Since I do not wish to bother anyone with too many details, I must, in the end, say that I would probably hesitate and ask millions of questions before actually starting to pack my bags and prepare for moving or traveling somewhere. So, if you are indecisive right now, read the story once again and think of all the things you might see and learn if you go. If my story inspires you, it will be another plus side of my visit to this wonderful city. In other words, do not think too much and pack light. (wink)

 

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