Sunday, November 25, 2007

The Pinoy in Frankfurt

The Frankfurt skyline as viewed from our room in the youth hostel.

I'm beginning to love my course all the more, given the excursions they arrange for us. And I'm beginning to love DAAD all the more, given they funded our last travail. We left Freiburg early Wednesday morning and headed to the financial capital of continental Europe- Frankfurt. I can say I have been to Frankfurt once where I flew in after 24 hours of traveling. However, my only opportunity to travel around then was to take the bus from the airport to, uhm, still the airport. No kidding, the airport is a community in itself that it has shuttle services to connect you from the arrivals to the train stations.

Our class visited the headquarters of the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Technische Zusammenarbeit (GTZ or German Technical Cooperation) on our first day, and the Deutsche Boerse (German stock exchange) and the Kreditanstalt für Wiederaufbau (KfW or the Reconstruction Credit Institute). These visits were special as they were something larger than life to me. What I only dealt with through paperwork and meetings back then in Manila were now as real as they can get and at its purest form. It's one thing to read about the story of Mida's hand, and another thing to visit her house.

The lecture at the Deutsche Boerse was just as interesting. I thought the Philippine stock market was already complicated with its two trading floors and analyzing one stock index, only to realize that there are at least four stock indices and seven trading floors, and one main online trading platform here in Germany. This sophistication brings my self-acquired knowledge about finance go on a bearish trend.

As a financial capital, I was expecting Frankfurt to be a hustling and bustling city,
day in and day out, like our own Makati City. Other than the slow traffic and urban skyline, Frankfurt pales to the Philippine central business district. Perhaps the population and density plays a major role in the city's happenings, which is empty compared to mega Manila.

Teddy Paradise

I wiki-travelled to look for interesting spots in Frankfurt a few days before we left, and found that Cocoon Club to be the hippest club in the world next to Ibiza. I ended up like a maggot instead, or a child, after a 40-minute hike to eat our dinner at Oma's (grandma's) Rink. We checked out one pub afterwards where there was a Gothic-rock playing and another pub which was practically empty. Given the group's lack of consensus, we found our own own respective cup of tea, or glass apple wine to be more appropriate. While one big group decided to go to, of all places in Germany, an Irish pub, five us peeked into and found ourselves settling in a traditional apple wine drinking hall not far from our hostel (note: there's a debate going on in the EU whether to consider this drink as "wine" because it's not made from grapes). A grumpy old man served us our apple wine in a jar like an aged porcelain ware, and frizzy water to mix or chase the wine with. The place was a no-nonsense social cloister, with wooden benches and tables, pictures hanging on the walls, only made more home-y but nevertheless interesting by the landscape painting of old German structures which sprawled all over the room just high above the wall. There was no loud techno music nor football match being watched, but just ol' friendly chatter that kept the place buzzing.

Convertible Kombi. Inside this bus are a couple of tables and converted car seats where you can enjoy your bottle of Hefeweizen.

The Underground

Eiserner Steg


Ancient depiction of Rudolf :-)

Tram, ueberal!

Market duel


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