Frankfurt am Main

The D&O Diary was on assignment in Germany last week for meetings and to attend a conference. The excursion was a bit of a return tour, as I have previously visited all of the stops on the itinerary. My wife accompanied me this time, and for her each stop represented a first encounter. With the help of the excellent German train system, we managed to visit a number of German cities in a very brief period, and to see a little of the countryside, as well.


Our German tour included visits to a number of cities, starting in the northern port city of Hamburg, traveling from there progressively southward through Cologne, Mainz,and Frankfurt, and then ending up in the southwestern city of Freiburg. It turns out that without consciously having planned it, all of the cities we visited sit alongside important German rivers – the Elbe for Hamburg; the Rhine for Cologne and Mainz; the Main for Frankfurt (as shown at the top of the post); and the Dreisam for Freiburg.


The far side of the Elbe River in Hamburg is heavily industrialized; seen here from just above the Landungsbrücken boat landing. (As the picture shows, it was a rainy day in Hamburg.) Hamburg  is not always so gloomy, as reflected in my travel post about earlier visits to the city, here and here.



The Rhine River and the Cologne Cathedral (Kölner Dom), viewed from the North.



Here is a view of the Rhine and of Mainz, which is located about 120 miles south of Cologne, at the junction of the Rhine and the Main rivers.



The Dreisam River, a swiftly flowing stream that originates in the southern Black Forest (Südschwarzwald) and pours through Freiburg.


As the pictures above show, traveling in northern Europe in March can be a mixed bag; the weather can be great at times, but it can also be wintry as well, as we found out on Sunday morning. A soft layer of snow had fallen overnight, covering Freiburg in a chilly white blanket.



The view from our hotel in Freiburg on Sunday morning, looking across to Colombipark.


We managed to make five different stops on our brief German tour by relying on the Deustche Bahn, the excellent German railroad system. The trains were punctual, clean, quiet, and with free WiFi and comfortable seats, they provided an efficient and pleasant way to travel between the cities on our itinerary. (I typed the preceding sentence while traveling on an Inter-City Express [ICE] train between Freiburg and Frankfurt, so it expresses my experience and sentiment on a real time basis.)


The central train station (Hauptbahnhof) in Cologne


View from the ICE train between Mainz and Frankfurt, with the Rhine River, some vineyards, and a castle.



The central train station (Hauptbahnhof) in Frankfurt


While we enjoyed the chance to get to visit several German cities, the main reason for our trip to Germany was for me to attend and to participate as a panelist in a conference in Frankfurt hosted by the DRRT law firm. The conference was well-attended, with participants from all over the world — from Japan, Korea and Singapore, to Brazil and South Africa. It was a pleasure to be a part of this excellent conference for the fourth year in a row, and to have had the chance to meet so many people from so many places who read The D&O Diary.


A well-attended conference at the new Sofitel in Frankfurt



With my good friend Francis Kean of Willis Towers Watson. Together with Francis’s colleague Jonathan Simon, Francis and I spoke on a panel about important developments from the D&O insurance perspective. (We couldn’t find Jonathan when the time came for the picture; sorry Jonathan!)



With Joe Gulino of the DRRT law firm. Joe and I were on two different panels together.



With Alexander Reus, the DRRT law firm’s managing partner. Alex was kind enough to say some very nice things about The D&O Diary in his opening remarks, for which I am grateful.


More Pictures of Germany:


Lovely bird, the German Green. Beautiful plumage. He’s not dead, though. He’s just pining. Pining for the Rhine. (Seen in the trees in Friedenspark, in Cologne.)


The Gutenberg Museum in Mainz. It is the reason that we stopped in Mainz. The museum is an amazing place, basically covering the history of printing — one of my favorite museums in the world.


We had gloomy weather for a lot of our visit, but we did get a very nice day of sunshine in Frankfurt. That’s Frankfurt’s famous Saint Bartholomew cathedral in the back ground, with the Eisener Steg footbridge in the foreground.



We also enjoyed an afternoon of nice weather in Freiburg, as shown in this picture and the next. This picture was taken on the Schlossberg, the castle hill adjacent to the Freiburg old town.



A view from the Schlossberg in Freiburg. From the hilltop you can see the Vosges Mountains, in France (not visible in this photo, unfortunately).


The Römerberg plaza in the restored Frankfurt old town.


Everybody has that one friend … (street scene in Cologne).



Street scene in the restored Mainz old town



Along with everything else, we also had the chance to enjoy the German food. Here’s a plate of the local  Hamburg specialty, Labskaus, a sort of hash made with beef, onions, beetroot, herring, and potatoes, and served with gherkins, pickled herring, and beets, and topped with two fried eggs. Believe it or not, it was good.