Atlantis Alumni

Saturday, May 19, 2012

The Journey To Frankfurt

This morning we took an early train to Offenburg, Germany and waited there for the express train to Frankfurt. (See Jim’s pics for the Romer Square in Frankfurt, along with the Cathedral and the Vermeer masterpiece from the Stadel Kunst Institut, the important local art museum.) At first, one admits, Frankfurt seemed too large and impassively modernistic, in a mid-Twentieth century style, with tall buildings that had little character. But as we explored the city we discovered the Cathedral, which has a tall Gothic tower, and the charming, re-constructed square before the Town Hall. This Romer Square was completely rebuilt after World War II, since Frankfurt was one of the heaviest bombed towns in Germany. Another problem arriving in Frankfurt by train was that the nearby taxis refused to take us to our hotel, claiming the distance was too short. So we had to lug our bags down to the underground, which can be arduous. On top of all these problems, we also ran into the protest against capitalism by Frankfurt’s own version of Occupy. We learned much later, via online news, that over 400 people were arrested here, out of 20,000 protesters. Polizei were everywhere, and they shut down several subway lines. After we reached our hotel, we immediately set out for the museum area of the city and toured the magnificent Stadel Art Museum, mentioned above in an abbreviated German title. The museum includes an old masterpiece and Impressionist and early Modernist collection rich in important paintings, including works by Grunewald, Van Eyck, Vermeer, Rembrandt, Poussin, Manet, Renoir, Courbet and many others. In the early 1930s, after the Nazis gained total control of the country, the collection lost 680 of its modern masterpieces, but now the museum has replaced those works with great examples of Symbolism and German Expressionism, particularly works by Beckmann and Kirchner. Besides the wonderful art, the museum also had a superb restaurant, called Holbein’s, since the museum has some fine works by that German Renaissance master. After a short rest at the hotel, we headed out to the Cathedral and the Romer Square, enjoying the old Germanic-type, reconstructed half-timbered houses and the smaller Gothic churches. We ate dinner at a fine restaurant, Margarete, in the neighborhood, enjoying such dishes as a superior curry-flavoured soup, and a linguine that was garnished with huge slabs of shaved Parmesan cheese, olives, greens and pignolas. We washed this down with a good French red wine. While we ate, a downpour started, and the waitress kindly called a taxi to take us back to the Dream Hotel. Yes, dear reader, this is actually the name of the hotel where we are staring in Frankfurt –am-Main. --Dan

No comments: