It’s true – they do eat frankfurters in Frankfurt. They don’t call it a frankfurter (it’s a bratwürst, or fried sausage) and there usually isn’t any bread or ketchup or mustard, and it isn’t unique to Frankfurt, and its larger, and…well, lets stop being picky and say it exists.
My first view of Frankfurt was, rather expectedly, the airport. It was a strange airport – supposedly one of the largest but at the same time one of the quietest and emptiest that I have seen. The architecture seems to hide away the bunches of people that you normally see waiting at the gates in other airports. This feeling of emptiness is repeatedly encountered in Frankfurt, though. For all its prominence in the European scheme of things, it is firmly a small city – bustle is reserved for just a few places. Back to the food and drink. It is easy to see the German influence on American fast food – its all there, minus the frills. There’s hamburger (without the bread), frankfurter (without the bread), steak (without the bread)…well you get the picture. If you want bread; German bread is the best in the world but you’ve got to pay it individual attention, not mess it up with a whole lot of greasy meat or yukky mustard. To top it all, they have better cheese than Kraft (though that’s mostly from France). And there’s generous quantities of potato – mashed, hashed, or fried in tripe; bacon bits adding to the sinfulness. The drinking habits of the Frankfurters (the people, not the sausages) are, however, a little unusual. The prime drink of the place is not beer but a strange concoction called apfelwiene. That’s apple wine in English, drunk only in a small fifty-mile radius around Frankfurt. It’s alcoholic, drunk warm or cold and has a strange dry taste that takes getting used to. My focus in the pub crawl was, therefore, centred purely around apfelwien-taverns. Now apfelwiene is not quite like any alcoholic drink you may have faced. The closest, in fact, is teetotaler tea. Firstly, it looks like tea – a light golden colour. Second, you can drink it either hot or cold, just like tea. And you can drink it anytime; Frankfurt has quite a few vendors resembling our local Nescafe stalls where one can get apfelwiene in small plastic glasses.