Sunday, 17 June 2018

ballungsraum

Not that the journey would be a particularly arduous or lengthy one and there’s no excuse not to visit more often, but it does strike me as odd to live in such proximity to one of the nodes of culture and commerce, an alpha world city, and not be bothered to make it out more often, but I’m going to challenge myself to get to know Frankfurt am Main (previously) a bit better and take advantage of my workweek nearness to the metropolis.
Having heard that the Altstadt was recently reopened after completion of restoration work to the Dom-Römer quarter (the space between the merchant house and the cathedral) to rebuilt structures lost during World War II, I convinced H it was a good excuse to return. We walked down the shaded promenade of the quay of the river Main (Mainkai) and several of its crossings to take in the skyline and get our bearings.
The new seat of the European Central Bank in Ostend had been completed in the meantime and although there was still scaffolding and some structures under construction in the Römer plaza and my memory of it wasn’t exactly photographic (the new addition is the right-most Goldene Waage, the Golden Scale) but it was a pleasant afternoon out in the sunny square.
Learning about the extent of the project and what was still left to do we were curious to see more but were a bit disincentivised due to the fact that just beyond there was a rather complex series of protests and counter-demonstrations going on that involved a right-leaning group trying to appropriate and rebrand a 1953 East German uprising and general strike (der Aufstand vom 17. Juni 1953) against working conditions under the Communist government which was violently suppressed and commemorated in the West as a national holiday observed until reunification as an excuse to rail against immigration policies.
Counter-demonstrators, however, eclipsed members of the Bürgerbündnis (the anti-Islamification group)—which in turn was equally obscured by a police presence which happily was not pressed into service. We’ll return when there’s more time and space for exploration.