When you’re done sightseeing and ready to unwind, go to Frankfurt’s apple-wine pub district. The cobbled, cozy Sachsenhausen neighborhood is both a well-heeled residential area and an eating-and-drinking zone, enjoyed by tourists and Frankfurters alike. More than a hundred characteristic apple-wine pubs have taken root here (alongside plenty of other options).
Apfelwein, drunk around here since Charlemagne’s time 1,200 years ago, became more popular in the 16th century, when local grapes suffered from disease. Apple wine is about the strength of beer (5.5 percent alcohol), and is served spiced and warm in winter, cold in summer. To complement your traditional drink with a traditional meal, order Frankfurt sausage or pork chops and kraut.
From the seedy to the sublime, from Goethe to apple wine, even two or three hours in Frankfurt leaves you with some powerful impressions. You’ll have seen 21st-century Germany, beyond the country’s cliches of old castles and cute, cobbled squares. For years, Frankfurt was a city to avoid...but today, its energy makes it worth a look.
Rick Steves (www.ricksteves.com) writes European travel guidebooks and hosts travel shows on public television and public radio. Email him at email@example.com, or write to him c/o P.O. Box 2009, Edmonds, WA 98020.
© 2010 Rick Steves