Lex got himself a nice present for a memorable birthday. So last weekend we went to Germany, to Frankfurt, to be exact. Before Lex was told what his present would be, he had to solve a riddle: every right answer would give him a letter. With 9 right answers he could earn a bonus letter, which would have helped him enormously because it was the B. It was my job to come up with nine Elvis related questions. Easier said than done; Lex knows a lot about our man.
With a little help of his friends, ahum kids, he solved the riddle rather quick; against my will of course. I would have loved seeing him struggle a bit longer. But the answer was Bad Nauheim and they booked us a hotel in Frankfurt, thinking Frankfurt would be a nice place to stay for the weekend.
Friday was filled with the long drive from Holland to Germany, especially because of rather bad weather during the drive. A lot of serious accidents were the reason of a couple of traffic jams. In the evening we explored the neighbourhood of the hotel. Unfortunately it looked like Amsterdam twenty years ago. Lex and I are both born in big cities and rather used to drug addicts and homeless people, but the things we saw around the hotel made me shiver. I decided right there and then NOT to go out on my own!
Saturday we drove to Friedberg first. Our goal was the Ray Barracks. Well, what can I say: I have never driven such a long way to see something so desolate and sad. Even the 'guard' dogs had left the building.
Okay we have seen it, we have been there, but was it worth the drive? Ehm... not in my opinion.
Back to the car and Lex gave me directions. I had no idea where he led me, but after a while it was clear: the marker that was supposed to be there for Elvis was torn down, and the whole place was demolished to be build up again in a little while. Nothing for us to see than a building place, but still called Elvis Presley Platz.
Time for Bad Nauheim! Well, this was a pleasant surprise: what a lovely place it is. A real beautiful little town, clean and friendly looking.
Our next stop was his house on the Goethestraße. For a short while we were in doubt which house it was. Nothing there reminds you of Elvis. Well, just before we even could blink our eyes, two people walked in front of us, and took a picture of a house. After a little chat it was obvious they had been here before. Lex and I just looked at each other and we agreed: no need to come here more than just once!
Still two more things to explore, so we decided to cross the park on our way to Grunewald Hotel. And there it was, without warning, wow, a worn out picture of Elvis on a lamppost. This was THE bridge his picture was taken. I must confess, this was a nice surprise! Although I am very sure not many people would notice this picture.
We pursued our walk to look for the Hotel. After a little while, there it is: Grunewald. There is a small memorial stone for Elvis, with an image. Well, it could have been my brother back in the 50s as well, because the resemblance is zero. A few plastic flowers, some sad wet candles and teddybears were left on the ground.
I often think “if you can't say something nice, shut up entirely”, and now “if you can't pay decent respect to Elvis, do nothing at all” came to my mind. But then again, I am not allowed to judge others unless I walked a mile in their shoes. I am sure all meant well, but it was not my piece of cake.
Thankfully the weather was fine and we did have a nice afternoon snack in the park before returning to the car again. Back to Frankfurt, which is a lot less 'special' than the song in my book.
In any case, if you do want to go to Germany to see for yourself, pick Bad Nauheim to stay the night, instead of Frankfurt. And foremost, don't expect too much of the Elvis Legacy there, because it is obviously a long, long time ago.
Nevertheless I enjoyed the trip, but am grateful we went on our own, instead of an organized tour with some fanclub. That would not have been worth the extra money for sure!