Thursday, June 9, 2011

Frankfurt Germany

I wasn't sure what I would find in Frankfurt. Other than a six-hour overnight layover in Munich last year, this was my first visit to Germany. I've heard from so many people that it's super organized, very clean, and generally a nice place. To me, it sounds a lot like Calgary except with Oompah bands and Lederhosen instead of Poutine and hockey players. :-)

Well, it turns out that Frankfurt is a bit like Canada. It is very clean, well planned, the people are awesome, and it is indeed a nice place. Most things look new. What is extremely different is that Canada didn't get flattened during the second world war, which accounts for the newness of everything. Here's a photo that I took of some photos in a local museum in the center of town that shows the damage in the area immediately surrounding the cathedral:

I was told by our hosts that most of the town that exists today has been built since 1945 and that my vision of what Germany looks and feels like is probably more in line with towns in the Bavarian region (and unbeknownst to them, what I saw in European Vacation). Frankfurt is trying to remake their historical core using traditional German architectural styles in an attempt to recover a bit of history that was lost. This area is the same one as in the photo above. You can see the very cool cathedral in the background and some of the new "historical" buildings in the foreground:

Like I mentioned, Frankfurt is a modern city that serves as Germany and Europe's financial and banking center. There are tons of banks here including the main offices of the European Central Bank, home of the Euro:

Frankfurt's a cool city to hang out in. If you've ever flown into/out of the massive Frankfurt airport, you probably know that the area is actually called Frankfurt Main (pronounce "mine") due to it being the "Frankfurt (located) on the Main" river, which runs through the middle of the city:

If you're curious, I didn't really see many indications, other than the display above and all the new-ish buildings, of what had happened in Frankfurt before, during, or after the war. I have to be honest that I didn't look too hard but this concentration camp memorial was the only large thing I stumbled upon:

So, in review...what I didn't find during my visit to Frankfurt were tall blond-haired blue-eyed people, beer drinkers, and overly-punctual folks. Oh, wait, yes I did but, unfortunately, I never actually saw any Oompah bands or anyone wearing Lederhosen. Maybe next time...

So why was I in Frankfurt you ask? I was there to attend the Techtextile/Texprocess/Tensinet textile trade show and fair at the Messe Frankfurt Conference Center. It's a textile-industry trade show that covers anything related to textiles, similar in style to more clothing-oriented Colombiatex that I went to earlier this year.

But the real reason for the whole trip was that Diana won an industry-sponsored award for the revolutionary research she's doing on lightweight structures for her PhD. Techtextil and Tensinet paid for the airfare and a couple of night's hotel and held a ceremony the night before the trade show started. Here's everyone's favorite international world-traveling Chiquinquireña accepting the award for all her hard work:

Congrats to Diana on winning earning the award. Estoy orgulloso de ti!

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