Back in the saddle at last!
During my first week along the Baltic Coast I passed through many holiday resorts with picturesque towns in Barock style, but now the character of landscape and towns will become quite different.
After reaching Frankfurt/Oder (not to be mistaken with Frankfurt am Main with its world famous airport) at lunchtime I decided to go on a sightseeing tour. After all, I've never been to this city of 60000 inhabitants on the River Oder before. This river forms the border with Poland and will be my guiding line going south until the city of Görlitz from I will venture westward to the national park called "Sächsische Schweiz", the "Switzerland" of Saxonia. But back to FFO.
FFO is situated in the state of Brandenburg, directly opposite the town of Slubice (Poland), which was part of Frankfurt until 1945. Looking back at the town's long history, (check the brief but informative article on the English language wikipedia) https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Frankfurt_%28Oder%29 , one fact surprised me. In the 19th century, Frankfurt played an important role in commerce between Prussia and Poland and later during the Third Reich the town housed the second-largest annual trade fair of the German Reich, surpassed only by that in Leipzig.
After Re-Unification Frankfurt was marginalized within The Federl Republic and gradually shrank from 80000 to 60000 inhabitants. After Poland joined the EU and the Schengen agreement, trade and travel to and from FFO grdually picked up. Today, the town's infrastructure and its landmarks have greatly improved.
Since the city was not destroyed during WW II, its buildings are today frequently used as movie sets for German productions, such as
Halbe Treppe (Grill Point, 2002)
Lichter (Distant Lights, 2003)
Die Kinder sind tot (The Children Are Dead, a documentary about a 1999 murder-by-neglect in Frankfurt, 2004)
No Exit (2004) and Kombat Sechzehn (Combat Sixteen, 2005), are both pictures which deal with the Neo-Nazi scene in Eastern Germany, "No Exit" being a documentary. A topic which is of great concern to many people in our country; this is not a politically oriented blog, but I need to note that the increasing support for right-wing and unconstitutional parties that are playing to xenophobic tendencies and irrational fear of refugees coming into our country, after all one of the most affluent in the world, is very worrying indeed. President Obama's statement in Hannover at the Fair two weeks ago that Mrs Merkel is "on the right side of hostory" might ring true with liberal and forward-looking people but also provokes lots of sarcastic rejection by people who believe that Germany should close all borders and close its fist instead of opening heart and hand.
Sights to see in Frankfurt:
Marienkirche. famous for its medieval window picturing the Antichrist's life. The only known depiction of the story of the Anti-Christ from the Bible. It is on display in the Rathaus (town hall) but should soon be on display in the church.
Heilandskapelle, Akazienweg 31. Wooden church built during the first world war by mainly Russian prisoners of war in the Karelian style.
Rathaus (town hall), Marktplatz 1. Gothic architecture edit
Post office. neo-Gothic architecture
The very beautiful Lenné-Park, Germany's second oldest landscaped park was planned by the landscape architect Peter Joseph Lenné and opened in 1836
In the afternoon I found my way to the campground at "Helenesee", Lake Helena, to the south of the town.In the morning I set off for the "official" bike path along the Oder-Neiße Rivers. I had a surprise waiting for me first, though: My phone battery just gave up and it was brand new - yucks!
So I planned for Eisenhüttenstadt, an old industrial town on the way, but I had set off so early (6:30) that I passed that townat 9 am already and everfything was still shut down. A lady in a pharmacy helped me out and gave me an adress in Guben, the next town - and that's where I am nor. However, to me it seems this town is even more backward than any little "city" in Montana or North Dakota: No WiFi anywhere, not even if you're willing to pay. So after buying a new battery for my phone I used up part of my data allowance to upload this post .... Let's see how far I'll have come this evening.
Döbern has a small but comfortable Campground. However, I'm beginning to wonder why campgrounds here don't offer WiFi. So I asked the owner and he said that he was offered to have the service installed for a fee of 550€ plus 50% of turnover. At about 150 to 200 visitors, discounting the permanent visitors who expressed their reluctance to pay extra for the service, this just doesn't work out. Well, this isn't a major travelling area ....