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  • Writer's pictureNigel

Sachsenhausen. ザクセンハウゼン 日帰り旅行 8th Feb 2022

2020年2月8日

This week we had another one of those rarities in central Germany....a sunny day. Now so far, these have been really rare in this part of the world, and I am not just following the British tradition of talking about the weather. If at breakfast the sun is shining through your kitchen window and the sky is blue you go out. You have to. So I hopped onto the SBahn and was in Frankfurt Sachsenhausen in a jiffy (that is colloqual English for "in no time at all").


In 1931, amongst the wooded slopes that rise up on Frankfurt's southern edge, a tower was built. A viewing tower. You see them in all corners of the earth don't you? Some are rather high and scary, like this one in Yokohama....(well, scary for a me, but not for children it seems!).

However, the Goetheturm, as it is called in Frankfurt, has no windows and is constructed entirely of wood. A fact which enabled an arsonist to reduce it to a charred mess back in 2017. Naturally, Frankfurters were shocked by this vandalism to one of their iconic sites. So it was with great jubilation that it was entirely re-built two years ago. https://www.skylineatlas.de/goetheturm-neubau/

Here is what it looks like today. Unfortunately I couldn't actually go up it - because of.....well you can guess...Covid restrictions....

But I did manage to find this picture of the author at the top in 2007.......😊


At the bottom of the tower, a little notice tells us about a not-so-well known fact - that the original tower was funded by a certain Gustav Gerst. He was part of the family who owned the successful Tietz department stores in the 1930s. The business which suffered a well documented fate under the regime which came to power soon afterwards. After the war the firm re-emerged as Hertie Kaufhaus. How ironic that a man who gave such a wonderful gift to Frankfurt had to flee for his life to America.


Walking back down the hill from the Goetheturm into Sachsenhausen I passed two curious sights....

no, this is not some sort of memorial, but little flower pots in a market garden. I wonder what they will plant here?

And further down the road you come across this....

Frankfurt's emblem...embedded in the walls of the Sachsenhausener Warte - the tower which was part of the city's medieval walls. The emblem crops up everywhere....on the local beer bottles,

and at the Frankfurt Football Club Eintract Frankfurt, where no doubt a lot of the latter is consumed.

I also passed a little gem whilst descending the hill. This unassuming little restaurant serves delicious Sushi - not only here but at the Main Matsuri (see on). On its walls you can see drawings by Polkaerio https://www.instagram.com/polkaerio/ a very creative painter and designer from Tokyo. I once asked the owner what B-Gourmet meant. For me it sounded like something second rate, like an American "B movie". He explained that in Japanese cuisine there is the high-end Kaiseki-ryori - the formal meal with lots of courses, and there is the B-kyuu gurume or B-Cuisine. B-Cuisine is a bit like street food, and is "for the people". It means food like don-buri, yakitori, ramen, udon, gyozas, and in this case, Sushi.

So don't be put off by the modest appearance of this restaurant. The Sushi is おいしい - delicious. Take it from me. I dug up this photo from a few years back soon after it had opened. February 2019....remember that year...pre-covid? I am standing there with B-Gourmet's sushi chef and Eri's drawing on the wall...

.... proof of good food....


 

Down at the bottom of the hill in Sachsenhausen you reach the Alte Brucke (the Old Bridge) over the River Main. The long thin island shown on the old Merian map of 1628 (above the word "Sachsenhausen") is still there, more or less....

The steps going down to the water are ideal to feed the birds...

Being the first sunny Sunday for weeks, everyone is out for a stroll, just like me. The tower of the Lindner Hotel on the right bank reminded me of the Main Matsuri, the Japanese 🎌festival which takes place at the "Platz" there every summer.....



And this year will be no exception. Starting on the 12th August at the Walther-von-Cronberg Platz we will be welcoming Japanese artists, food stalls and cultural associations for this three-day festival. Hurray! ばんざい!😃. It seems a long way off on this chilly February Sunday, but....... we have already had our first kick-off meeting to get the ball rolling....so......thinking of summer already....😎


 

Unfortunately, for foreigners like myself, travelling to Japan has been as good as impossible for about two years now. I am about to postpone my flight to Tokyo for the third time. But I keep in contact with friends. They tell me about the recent festival Setsubun 節分, the last day of winter in the old japanese calendar (3rd/4th Feb). Children go to the door of the house (or at the temples and shrines) and throw out beans (mame) 豆 and cry "oni wa Soto, fuku wa uchi - devils out, good luck in". I think that's great. Rather different to standing in a drunken circle and singing "Auld Lang Syne....".

Our Calligraphy teacher Renaさん picked up this theme in our last session, so here are my efforts.....first Setsubun - the "seasonal divide"

and the vital beans! Mame.......

Sadly my calligraphy for "devil" (oni 鬼 - incidentally a stylish kanji...it reminds me of the English saying "the devil gets the best tunes...") did not turn out very well, so I will not publish it 😅.

If you want to practise some Japanese calligraphy, just join the online course - here is the link https://joylists.com/classes At the least you will need a brush (fude) 筆 and some ink....and some concentration. Unfortunately it is not just about making wild slashes of lovely black ink onto paper. The poise, angle and pressure of the stroke are all part of it.....and making sure no blots get on your table. Calligraphy ink is a pain to clean off wood or ceramics......


 

I will end this post with some some more shots which I took from the Alte Brucke.....

On the left, the ECB (Europan Central Bank), on the right the Lindner Hotel......

........whilst the river Main laps gently on the sandstone steps.......

we turn around and see the city centre.......

....and lastly, just to get you thinking of some nice juicy food, here are some ripe pomegranates ( 柘榴ざくろ) enjoying the sun on the other side of the river......

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nikmyers
Feb 09, 2022

By strange coincidence, we spent the weekend visiting the Bismarckturm on the hills overlooking Göttingen! Built by local businesses in the late 19th century, it's a little more substantial than the Goetheturm (though is also closed at present). Obviously there was a fashion for such things for a time....

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