I am choosing to stay at home this year. I so dearly want to visit family, or even just hop on the train and go somewhere within Germany, but I don’t want to put anyone at risk. Torn between wanderlust and social consciousness, I decided to be a tourist in my own city and did a walking tour of Frankfurt.
I find a great way of seeing any city is by foot, and have done a couple of walking tours on my travels, learning about the local history and culture along the way. One of my favourites was an alternative walking tour in Berlin, focusing on the stories of the artists and activists that the normal tours don’t cover. Despite a short bus tour when we first moved here, I’ve never done a proper tour of Frankfurt and no shamefully little of its history. After eight years living here, I decided to change that and joined one of the English-speaking, Frankfurt on Foot tours.
The meeting point was Römer, Frankfurt’s colourful main square, and after a brief look around, I found a man holding a sign. It turns out I was going to be the only one on the tour – my own private tour of Frankfurt!
I was a bit worried it would be awkward walking around with a stranger for 3 hours, but the tour guide Dave made me feel instantly at ease. Cracking jokes, and intermixing a detailed (but never dry) history of Frankfurt with some personal stories of his own, it made for a convivial afternoon. Dave took me to the main Frankfurt sights, places I’ve obviously been to before, but gave me a little insight into their history, making me look at these familiar places with fresh eyes. My favourite parts of the tour were some of the Frankfurt secrets that make tours like this worthwhile, such as the cat statues on top of mayor’s office, a robot post box, and a trip to the city planning office to see a miniature model of Frankfurt.
All in all, I had a fantastic time on the tour. Dave was a fantastic character to spend a few hours walking the city with, and I enjoyed what I learnt so much that I gave my husband an abridged version the next day. Playing tourist in my city gave me a little bit of that holiday feeling I miss and made me wonder what else I could do to see Frankfurt with new eyes.