It was John Darnielle’s dirty, fizzley, basement-boom-box recordings that first trained me to turn a deaf ear to scrappy guitar and to love music that did little more than tell a damn fine story. The Mountain Goats’ early recordings are the music that macheted the way for what would come into my headphones after: anti-folk. (They are also partially to blame for the folk punk, but that’s another story.)
I’ve written about it before, and I’ll write about it again. I can’t get enough. I’d do it every single week if I could. Every day even. I’m talking about visiting the sauna. And for anyone who loves the steamy tradition, Germany is a great place to be.
Resident on Earth has explained sauna etiquette, and I have raved about my favorite sauna in Mainz before. But having recently moved to Frankfurt am Main, I now have a whole new set of what are called Sauna Landschaften to explore. I couldn’t be happier.
Frankfurt, Dresden, Frankfurt, Mainz, Frankfurt. It seems I can’t move to another city in Germany without making a stop back in the first German town I ever called home. And now, as of Saturday, here I am calling it home again. Who’d have thought?
My husband certainly hadn’t. I’d always had a soft spot for the city—there were so many gritty, interesting little corners—and after all, Frankfurt ist ein Dorf (Frankfurt is a village). It may be one of Germany’s big cities and its banking capital, but it doesn’t feel like a big city. Particularly not after you’ve been in New York. But that is part of its beauty: it has a small-town feeling with a big-city’s perks. I’ve never understood why so many expat bloggers spend so much time railing on the place. It’s quite charming if you give it a chance, I say, though my husband is yet another who has never been able to see the place through my eyes.
This is part 18 in a series about the year I spent au pairing in Frankfurt am Main, Germany. If you’d like to catch up on the rest of the series, check out the index here. Cross published on Click Clack Gorilla.
Frankfurt’s Sachsenhausen is a curious place. Though the moniker technically applies to an entire city section—residents, shopping, and everything in between—when you hear people talking about Frankfurt Sachsenhausen, they’re usually talking about the pub district, a concentrated city block of often touristy bars and clubs, a micro city with no permanent residents. It is a place full of trays of bright green shots and hair gel and fake tan, full of spilled apple wine and loud conversation and lost earrings. It is the kind of place you go knowing you’re going to be doing the walk of shame home later/aren’t going to remember most of the evening.
It was easy for me to fall in love with Frankfurt. Despite its negative reputation among many expats (and yeah, I wouldn’t want to pay hotel prices there either—it’s a trade fair city and and banking city and prices can be quite high), I have always had a soft spot in my heart for what Germans sometimes refer to as Germany’s New York. Why? Plain and simple: it was the first European city in which I lived, my first home outside of United States borders. And now, after almost five years away, it looks like I’ll be moving back.
When I moved here I didn’t even really like Mainz. What I liked was the community that I would be living in, and the lack of an hour commute between me and the Beard. Long distance relationships suck, but I was willing to have one with the city of Frankfurt. Expats love to hate on Frankfurt, but I love to love on it. I can see how all the banks and faux New York-ing might put a body off, but it can be quite charming once you take the time to get to know her (as they say in German) “chocolate side.” But that is really besides the point. The point is that, this week, I found myself appreciating Mainz, really deeply appreciating it, for the first time since I had moved here from Frankfurt almost four years ago.
For my money, the biggest disappointment is Eintracht Frankfurt. You name it, they’ve done it wrong, and so they deserve what is looking likely to be the fourth relegation in club history. I mean, just look at them: the worst second leg to a season ever and a disastrous attempt at something approaching football against Cologne this weekend – which, needless to say, ended with them losing 0:2.