Saturday, October 18, 2008

Frankfort Book Fair Day 4

Wow. What a day. Today the book fair was opened to the public and they came out in droves. Train load and bus load after load poured into the fair grounds from every entrance. I literally could not get off the train because there was no room on the platform as people made their way to the entrance. Young and old, kids in costumes, adults in costumes, young families, Goths, every walk of life pressed in to be part of the book fair. The German exhibit halls were so packed I don’t know how anyone could see or enjoy anything but it did my heart good to see such enthusiasm for books. This picture doesn't do it justice.

The American hall was very slow. I had a good chance to visit with some of the other publishers. I did a bit more brainstorming on book ideas and development and thinking about plans for future shows.

On the grounds in a courtyard between the halls there were food vendors and craft vendors. The Germans don’t seem to like the bright colored, sassy, girly things my girls appreciate. There were a lot of leather goods and incense. I did find some very cute little slippers that look like elf shoes for the girls’ “trip gift.” I also found a wood carving artist named Gunter Mauch who does amazing carvings of everyday articles in wood. Take a look at his gallery. Again, the photos are not nearly as impressive online as the art is in person. I got a miniature book carving as a keepsake for the trip. It is smaller than the one pictured here but it is wrapped up for the trip home and I don't want to unwrap it to take a picture.

Earlier this week someone told me there was a shopping district between the Hauptwache and Konstablerwache stops on the train so I stopped on the way back from the fair. It was a very typical urban shopping area with department stores and fast food. The streets were closed to traffic and filled with people. I did take a couple detours to see Geothe’s house and the cathedral. The best part of the day, though, was the market at Konstablerwache. There were fruit and vegetable stands and butchers. There were stands cooking every kind of sausage you can imagine. There were guys frying schnitzel and serving it on sandwiches. There was wine, but no beer that I could find. The hit of the market, though, was Rauscher—a hard apple cider. It was more like beer than wine, but not really either. It was fermented cider and it was great! The entire market was packed full of people standing shoulder to shoulder drinking and eating. It was very festive. Long rows of tables with people sitting together, eating and drinking and laughing. The wine and cider was served in glasses—real glasses—red wine glasses, white wine glasses, champagne glasses. The cider was served in small beer glasses. I sat down at a table of strangers, all of whom spoke enough broken English that we could say hello, where we are from, and cheers. I ate my bratwurst with a pierced German and two couples from Venezuela. I had a glass of cider with a group from Canada, and a waffle and coffee (served in a porcelain cup) with a couple from Brazil. It was a really delightful experience.

I forgot how many German words were familiar before I got here. Guten tag, guten morgan, dankeschon, javolt, gunter gleebin glocken globen, auf wiedersehen, etc. The one I didn't hear, however, was "gesundheit." I fake-sneezed several times at the fair, on the train, in the hotel but never heard it. Not even once.

I took the train back to Neu Isenburg and waited about 30 minutes for the bus that was to come at 39 minutes after the hour. The bus never showed. I had misread the schedule. The last bus ran at 4 o’clock on Saturday. I crossed to the other side of the tracks and found another bus line that would get me fairly close to the hotel. It was a new route through a very residential area of Neu Isenburg. I think I took a different transit or a different route back to the hotel every night. While I was tired, the walk back to the hotel was nice. There were huge orange and yellow and brown maple and oak leaves on the sidewalk that sound and smell so good.
One last comment on the tourism ads. . .
You know that guy who does the voiceovers for movie ads? Slovakia hired him to do their tourism ad. It actually begins, “In a world…” Go ahead. Say it in that deep, sweeping, dramatic voice. That is how the ad starts. Pretty funny, but not supposed to be funny. Tonight I’ve seen tourism ads for Bahrain, Armenia, Greece, Croatia, India, Monte Negro, Korea, and Malaysia. Amazing.

This concludes my trip to the 2008 Frankfurter Buchmesse. It’s been a great experience. I miss my family and I'm looking forward to getting home.
Auf wiedersehen!

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