Relationships. Always difficult. Relationships between siblings. Special. Somehow, I ended up between brotherly love and sisterly affection.
I moved to Philadelphia from the outskirts of its sister-city Frankfurt. In the beginning, one sibling looked nothing like the other, but after 7 years in Philadelphia, I want to show you that 24h with those siblings are actually not so different after all.
Let’s pretend we start every day with a nice morning run. Depending on where you are, we run along the Schuylkill river trail or the Mainufer. Both trails have beautiful views of the skyline. If you are still a little sleepy, you might be even confused in which city you woke up. The skylines are of similar size (12 skyscrapers in Philadelphia and 14 in Frankfurt) even though Philadelphia has double the population than Frankfurt. We are running past kayaks on both rivers, which you can book for a tour on another day. But, we don’t want to over-do it, because we still have a lot to explore.
After we are refreshed and showered, it is time to head to center city. Be focused, because we either take the subway in the direction of Frankford or Frankfurt Hauptbahnof to get off at City Hall or the Römer, Frankfurt’s city hall for over 600 years. The Römer is a medieval building in the old part of Frankfurt and is one of the city’s most important landmarks. The 548-foot tower of Philadelphia’s City Hall is the tallest masonry structure in the world without a steel frame and was designated a national historic landmark in 1976.
Coffee is past due. So, let’s grab a nice cup from the local coffee roasters. Near City Hall, across from Dilworth Park, is one of Philadelphia’s famous cafes, LaColombe. Taste a draft latte, the next generation of coffee. If you like it more traditional, take a few steps to the Wacker’s Kaffee in Frankfurt. This family-owned coffee shop is mostly unchanged since founder Luise Wacker started her business in 1955.
Hungry? Only a 5 to 10 minutes walk will make you feel as if you are in the land of milk and honey. Reading Terminal Market and the Kleinmarkthalle welcome you with national and international specialties. Both markets combine a wide variety of vendors selling everything from meats, seafood, cheeses or baked goods with little deli’s and restaurants under one roof. Truly iconic markets.
Did you know that the first constitutions of both countries were signed in Philadelphia and Frankfurt? Philadelphia is well-known as the birthplace of America. The Declaration of Independence and US Constitution were both debated and signed at Independence Hall. However, less obvious, but still of high importance, Frankfurt is known as ‘die Wiege deutscher Demokratie’ (the cradle of German democracy). The Frankfurt National Assembly (Frankfurter Nationalversammlung) brought the first democratic constitution to paper at the St. Paul’s Church (Paulskirche). Both sites are well-worth a detour, not only for history lovers.
I have to admit that I have a secret love – dinosaurs. So, I think, visiting the Senckenberg Natural History Museum is a must. The best thing is that it is free for those who live in Philadelphia (with valid ID, of course). Certainly, no less exciting is the Academy of Natural Sciences. If you are lucky or you have planned your trip well, you might be able to have a drink between the dinosaurs at ‘dinos after dark’ or at ‘Nacht der Museen’. If you are not visiting during those special events, I would suggest we go up in the clouds for an aperitif. It is a little far to walk, but the views will be worth the trip. The Lounge on the 53rd floor of MainTower reminds me with its huge window fronts of the R2L of Two Liberty Place. Take a deep breath, relax and enjoy the view of our sister-cities.
Despite the fact that siblings share a lot, personalities often differ. I don’t want to deny that both cities have their special characters. To get the best taste of it, we will end the day in one of Frankfurt’s traditional cider restaurants, Fichtekraenzi. This restaurant serves local delicacies since 1849. My favorite – Handkaese with Apfelwein (hand rolled cheese with cider). To end our day in Philly, you cannot miss the famous Cheesesteak accompanied by a cold Lager. I don’t know about you, but I am going to pick one up from Ishkabibble’s on South Street on my way home to enjoy on my roof deck. Cheers and Prost!
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