In Bad Homburg there is always something to do. Sometimes it is right up my alley (as we say in the States – meaning it’s something that interests me a great deal), and sometimes, when I’m quite lucky, it is literally up my very own street.

As is traditional on May 1st, the big Eschborn-Frankfurt bicycle tournament (also known as Rund um den Finanzplatz) is on and fortunately, everything in Germany is shut down on this day because with such a massive quantity of people out and about on the streets, nothing at all would get done. My daughter and I moseyed along the Kaiser-Friedrich-Promenade (locally dubbed the KFP) and Höhestraße (which is the same street only not as wealthy), watching and waving to the cyclists as they sped past. 

Radrennen Bad Homburg

View from above: the last remnants of the bicycle race on May 1, 2013.

I’m not into bicycling at all. The idea of sitting my rear on an uncomfortable too-small seat and then moving my legs up and down has no appeal to me. However, watching other people do it, especially if there are quite a few of them massed together, is quite entertaining. I don’t have to join them to build a greater appreciation. In fact, quite the opposite is true: I can watch and clap and think to myself, “No way would I ever want to do that.” That’s when I applaud their efforts even louder.

 

The great thing about living in Bad Homburg is that this town is big enough and close enough to the city that there is a lot happening here. You don’t need a car at all and yet ballet, theatre, open air concerts, great cafés and restaurants, shopping, beautiful parks with really nice playgrounds, a variety of specialized doctors, a hospital, train station, extensive public library and a plethora of festivals and special races all come here. In fact, I can reach any one of these things on foot within 20 minutes or less.

Even though the Eschborn-Frankfurt race this Wednesday came through Bad Homburg and in fact right past my door, there were no hundreds of onlookers from outside of town driving here just to watch the race. The pleasure was just for the locals.  The event was major, televised, involved a large number of police and extra security, it caused roads to be blocked off and bus schedules to be shut down, but nevertheless, my life wasn’t all that affected by it. I enjoyed the happenings but there was nothing that impaired or littered my life, as is so often the case when a major event hits a small town. The litter went to Frankfurt.

 

It’s wonderful! I walked out of my front door to the main street below and stepped-out in front of a swarm of professional athletes. I waved, I clapped, I watched their muscled legs pump up and down, and then popped into a nice restaurant for a very large and satisfying brunch.

Omelette! Yummy.

A lovely omelette with fresh tomatoes and bacon in it topped off with my own personal French-press of piping hot coffee filled my stomach completely. I rolled out, saw there were more athletes, and waved some more. I walked around town, enjoyed the day, took my daughter to a playground, and slowly we made our way home. We waved to more athletes, and then climbed the stairwell up to our apartment. It was lovely.

 

No traffic save for all the bicycles.

 

At one point during the race, I watched a tall, very strong looking man in his early 30s struggle to move his bicycle forward. He looked like he was ready (or perhaps really needed) to stop. He looked in fact like he should just get off of his bike and go have a nice breakfast, maybe a nice cup of coffee and an omelette with bacon.

A few meters behind him and closing fast was a scrawny man in his 60s with a scruffy salt-and-pepper beard who saw his rival struggling, and grinned wide the most vengeful and gleeful smile of competitive wickedness I think I’ve ever seen. It was interesting to watch, this kind of competitive glee, especially as I was not more than 4 meters away from it. I could see and hear and smell them. This was not at all like watching sports on television.

Family on Bicycles

A family on bicycles, following the racers that day.

 

Once I returned home, I poked my head out the window. I’m not sure if it was because of the race or because it was a day off on a sunny day, but about every 30 seconds or so, at least a bicyclist – sometimes a pack of cyclists – would pass. So nice to watch people doing that, being physical and taking in the fresh air deeply and vigorously. It reminds me of going to the dentist. I really ought to go sometime soon.

What’s Happening Next?

 

There is never a lack of interesting things to do in Bad Homburg. What’s happening next you might wonder? Well as it happens, the Güterbahnhof is open at last! After having been disused as storage containment for several years and finally being cleared-out and renovated, the old train station formally used for unloading transported goods is now a place where special events can be hosted.

This May 3rd and 4th, Nachtexpress im Güterbahnhof will be the first such event. This is a special multimedia dinner show and so far only two nights are scheduled. A dinner show in the historic setting of the Güterbahnhof sounds very much my speed, and something where I can fully participate… whilst sitting down.

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