Trying to find authentic places to eat in central Frankfurt is futile, because just like any modern international city, it’s filled with every cuisine you could throw a pointy stick at. As I wandered the streets this evening I found Lebanese, Malaysian, Vietnamese, Japanese, Chinese, Italian, and countless other restaurants – and strangely no German ones (well… unless you count the river-side restaurant I’ve passed several times while here, which seems to be the exclusive domain of stock brokers).
After an hour wandering around the city centre this evening I gave up, and was contemplating a late night visit to the supermarket – a common habit while working away from home – when I turned a corner, and spied something.
A sports bar.
A large, noisy, popular, Australian sports bar.
After crossing several road junctions, I finally arrived at the front door, and was met immediately by a pretty brown haired girl in the bar uniform of black jeans and t-shirt. She grinned and volleyed a “G’Day!” at me.
She didn’t ask me what I might like – but then I didn’t not follow her to somewhere to sit either.
“Are you here for the big game this evening?”
I looked blank. She grinned.
“Bayern Munich are playing Dortmond – kick off is at 8. Would you like to order some food before the bar fills with people?”
And that’s how I managed to order the best meal I’ve had while in Germany so far – an Australian/Tex/Mex plate stacked with a humungous chilli burger, fat fries, and home-made coleslaw. Half way through eating I realised I should have ordered another beer. I contemplated sticking around in the bar for the Bayern game, but it got louder, and busier, and louder, and busier – you get the picture.
While eating, I amused myself with watching those around me. A group of friends had met up to watch the game alongside me – each with one of the colossal beers I hadn’t dare order. I was kind of envious of them – if I drank three litres of beer I would have to be carried back to the hotel in a wheelbarrow.
Perhaps the best memory of the night was a family meeting up in the middle of the bar early in the evening. A guy and his girlfriend arrived first, and moved table twice before settling down – then perhaps twenty minutes later two older people arrived – her parents at a guess, and the happiness, hugs, and toothy grins shared between them all made me smile too. I couldn’t help it. Thankfully they didn’t look up at me – who knows what they would have thought of the half-drunk guy in the red jumper grinning at them with chilli sauce all over his face and fingers.
I’m back in the hotel now. I watched the beginning of the Bayern/Dortmond game, but switched off at half-time, because if I hear the crowd shout “Bayern FC” one more time, I might possibly put my foot through the television set. I suppose it’s no different than the band that follows the England team around though, playing the same three or four bars of music on an endlessly repetitious loop.
Bayern were winning at half time – not that you would guess from the manager’s stony-faced expression. He looked like somebody had just let their dog pee on his shoes – even as they scored to take the lead.
Now if you’ll excuse me, I have some orange juice to drink in order to avoid a colossal hangover tomorrow. I have to pretend to be clever for one more day, and have one more evening to walk the streets of Frankfurt before heading home on Friday morning. As much as this is all fun, I’m kind of looking forward to going home now.