Some Wanderings in Frankfurt
(Monday - June 25, 2018)
I won´t write so much these last few posts - as you can tell I´m playing catch up. The day I´m writing this is actually Friday - my flight was cancelled this morning by Icelandair and I was rebooked with Lufthansa for tomorrow morning.
Today I relaxed at my hotel in the morning and figured out if I am going to go to Heidelberg, Trier, or Aachen for the next couple days. I settled on Trier for a few reasons: I was supposed to go to Trier in 1993, but my friends\' host family got us lost on the way there, it isn´t as far as Aachen, and has more to offer than Heidelberg (sorry John Lafayette... don´t hate me! LOL).
But for this afternoon I walked through the shopping district and checked out the Pauluskirche. This is a very special church to Germans, perhaps a bit like Indpendence Hall in Philadelphia for Americans. It is here, in 1848 and 1849, that German liberals had the first ever German national parliament. At this time Germany was ruled by the Prussian Frederick William IV as a monarchy, not a representative democracy. The parliament ended up drafting a document, ¨The Basic Rights of the German People,¨ and a Constitution by March 1849. The Constitution offered the Prussian king a hereditary monarchy, but kept law making with the parliament - much like England is today.
Unfortunately, the Frederick William refused to agree and Prussia, backed by Austria, sent troops to put down the revolution and parliament. One wonders how German history would have progressed differently in the 20th Century, if the revolution had succeeded in creating a Constitutional system.
Many revolutionaries fled to the United States, a significant number to Wisconsin which was granted statehood in 1848 (and therefore was the American frontier at the time). Many great minds on social and political reform ended up in the United States and Wisconsin - which explains one reason for Wisconsin´s history as a fairly liberal, open, and forward-thinking state: workers compenasation law, social security, unemployment compensation, kindergarten, and civil service reform all started in Wisconsin.
On the Pauluskirche itself are plaques commemorating the revolutionaries and parliamentarians of 1848, including Carl Schurz, who after fleeing Germany, settled in New York, became a Union General in the Civil War and a leader of the Republican Party (then a very liberal party advocating for the freedom of slaves). There is also a plaque to John F. Kennedy - obviously not a contemporary of the others - but further proof that JFK had a powerful influence on Germans.
After this short stop, I went to the Frankfurt district of Sachsenhausen, south of the Main river. I found a restaurant I stumbled across online, called ¨Apfelwein DAX¨ with an image of a green Bucky Badger! What is this?? Well, ¨DAX¨ sounds like ¨dachs¨ and dachs in German means... Badger (the dachshund dog was bred to chase badgers down their holes and kill them). I ate a traditional meal of pork hocks with Frankfurt green sauce (herbs in a aoli like sauce), sauerkraut, and potatoes. Washed down with the Frankfurt apfelwein.
After that, I walked past the museums to my hotel (it was almost 7pm). My dad was right, there seems to be a lot of good museums on the south side of Frankfurt and I probably could have spend a day there - the German Film and German Architecture Museums looked especially interesting. Schade, oh well. Tomorrow, Trier!
See the video below of the Pauluskirche... just caught it late in the day when the bell was ringing.