Frankfurt Book Fair: 5 Reasons To Go

If Disney’s Belle lived in our time, she would probably visit the world’s biggest book fair held in Frankfurt, Germany. One of the most iconic book-loving heroines in animated history would definitely be a chick who kept up with developments in the industry, and therefore I’m sure she would expand her reading experience horizons beyond the local bookshop or library.

A few facts and figures for you and for Belle. The 2017 event took place from October 11 to October 15 at the Frankfurt Trade Fair complex, housing several thousand exhibitors of wide-reaching sectors that all still find their way back to the book publishing industry. Both professionals and private visitors such as Belle and myself are invited to attend, with the weekend reserved for us bookworms.

But why should we go, besides the fact that there is a strong possibility of multiplying the amount of feels experienced simply when looking at a book?

Here’s my pick of 5 reasons the Frankfurt Book Fair deserves your bookworm time.

  1. A trip (hopefully) won’t blow your budget. OK, so this is more probable for those travelling in Germany, but still, practical and financial pros are on the list. The Deutsche Bahn offers round trip discounts for those getting to the fair by train. Just make sure to buy your fair ticket in advance, as you are required to have it on you when your train ticket is checked. Speaking of the fair ticket, private visitors pay a currently doable price of 19 euros. The event website is extremely informative in terms of travel routes and finding accommodation. Provided you don’t live too far away from Frankfurt, you might not even have to stay overnight. I did a day trip and caught up on sleep during the four hours there and back on the train. Belle might be able to find a sensible route from France as well.
  2. The event is very well-organized (of course it is, it takes place in Germany, the country where people make a plan to be spontan). The venue is enormous, but numerous strategically placed signs with arrows and readable directions in German and English ensure easy navigation. Not to mention you get a map upon arrival and there is helpful staff everywhere. Phew.
  3. Bookworms will immediately feel at home. Even those of us who are more introverted than others. A crowd provides anonymity and the venue is so spacious that it’s possible to get through without hold-ups. Do your research in advance on which sections you want to visit. For me this was the children’s and young adult area. Who says today’s youth doesn’t read? I saw a line stretching the whole length of the cavernous space I had lost myself in. It’s entirely possible to spend several hours excitedly browsing one booth after another, listening to presentations and maybe even getting a book signed. And of course, everywhere you look, there are books. Rows upon rows of them, shining like their own spotlights on shelves, and you just can’t get enough.
  4. There is something for everyone to see. While in most cases the finished product of all the many-layered work that goes on in the publishing industry is a printed book, the fair also has sections devoted to publishers, literary agents, illustrators, international publishing houses, media and technology professionals, to name but a few.
  5. If you dream about writing your own book, no matter which stage you are at, this fair is for you. You can count on an extensive self-publishing area with an active program spanning all the relevant topics and questions that pop up in connection with this relatively new, but quickly expanding sector of the publishing industry. I was surprised at how many companies already exist in Germany alone, and there are probably even more than the bigger players I saw at the fair.

Sensory overload? Yeah, me too. Cafes and sitting areas follow each other every few minutes of walking, but if they are all full, take heart. There is usually a stretch of carpet behind the booths along one wall, where many of us eventually find our way to sit down and revel in the excitement surrounding us.

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International Maritime Museum

One of Hamburg’s most fascinating museums is a must for history buffs, maritime fans and anyone loving this city. It houses both international exhibits and showcases Hamburg’s prominent link to maritime history in Europe and the world.

I had been meaning to go for a while and found myself making my way there one Sunday morning. The trip there holds a certain amount of excitement in itself, as one of the possible routes takes you to Überseequartier, a cavernous, gleaming station inlaid with blue (immediately reminiscent of all those sea-inspired vibes) and part of Hamburg’s most recently completed subway line, the U4. Getting out, you’ll see ongoing construction in the still new HafenCity district, and then a few minutes walk will take you to the museum iteself.

The International Maritime Museum is located in Hamburg’s oldest warehouse, Kaispeicher B. 10 floors, or “docks” filled with an enormous scope of sailing and ship-building artefacts, sketching out voyages across the world, the development of navigation, battles taking place at sea and the expansion of modern passenger sea travel await discovery.

One of my favourite sections included an outline of the history of lighthouses – it turns out the first ones were built in ancient Egypt. A detailed, intricate model of one of Germany’s most famous lighthouses called Roter Sand accompanied the exhibit, giving a glimpse in to the inside of the structure.

I spent several minutes staring at a model of the cruise liner the Queen Mary 2, built out of Lego. It took six months and roughly one million Lego pieces to put it together.

Models of ships from various centuries hung suspended from the ceiling, some against a background painting of the sea, like that of Wapen von Hamburg (III) from 1722. She sailed from Hamburg, accompanying merchant ships solely for protecting them against pirate attacks. Staring at it, it was easy to forget the strings holding up the model and to imagine her sailing in front of you for real.

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What To Wear #66: “We’ll Always Have Paris”

It’s not quite as dramatic as all that – we’re talking about just a T-shirt here, after all. Still, I can’t miss an opportunity to quote a classic.

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I picked out the T-shirt a few years ago while rummaging in those numerous tourist souvenir (kitsch) shops near the Louvre, and not only does it have some of my favourite landmarks from Paris on it, it also has some glitter sewn on it! Score. The scarf is an addition due to Hamburg’s typical weather forecast for today, namely, we don’t know, and I don’t want a sore neck due to a draft. The boots work well both in the autumn and during warmer seasons, and the heel is comfortable both for balance and walking longer distances in. They also go with almost any outfit. Jeans? Mais oui, bien sur, the classic combo with an individual twist.

Ready to go.

T-shirt: souvenir shop in Paris

Scarf: flea market

Jeans: C&A

What To Wear #65: “‘Cause It’s Gonna Be Hot In My Big Silver Pot”

It is indeed going to be hot, and you can count on me to come up with a quote from Les Poissons to title this post.

Hot weather means grabbing the chance to wear a maxi-length dress! Why maxi? Because I like that length and I have to go to work.

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I had strolled in to the shop and noticed this dress on a mannequin, but not anywhere nearby. After painstakingly searching two times to make sure, I approached a saleslady and asked where I might find it. Always ask a staff member if you see something in a window or on display that you like! In my experience they like the question and clearly you are also showing buyer’s commitment, which is, mais oui, to be encouraged. You may therefore be sure of a helpful attitude. For me personally a little exchange like that also gives me a minor sense of achievement when I locate the desired item afterwards. I’m an adult! I’m a customer! I’m an adult customer who can assert herself amid all this consumerism and knows exactly what she wants! Such empowerment, such confidence!

The pattern on the dress reminds me of a ripple of changing colors on the surface of a sea in summertime. The earrings not only pick up on the tones of the dress, but also make me think of the expansive beauty of the sea and sky surrounding the island of Themyscira in this year’s Wonder Woman.

So ready to go.

Dress: C&A

Jewelry: Bijou Brigitte

What To Wear #64: Lace and Leggings and Layers, Oh My

We are promised two days of summer weather, and today is one of them. This means, based on the local forecast and years of experience in the city of Hamburg, that while I can wear a sleeveless T-shirt, layering and leggings, my trusty standbys, are not to be dismissed.

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While the lacy crimson shirt is not completely see-through, it still works better with a longer tank top underneath, and so far my favorite combo is with a black one. Since the top shirt is not completely red, there is no devil Halloween costume color scheme going on here – which I have, by the way, successfully tried out once, but ’tis not the season just yet. It’s still summer, whatever the weather forecast says.

The scarf has been featured before on this blog, a flea market find from years ago and one of my favorite scarves in my * cough * modest collection. It also doubles as a party accessory when I don’t feel like wearing a necklace, but want something extra, thanks to the glittering gold thread running through it.

The gold earrings are some of the most versatile I have, picking up perfectly on the aforementioned gold bit in the scarf, and the ring adds a shot of brighter green against the subtle hues mixed in the, again, scarf.

Leggings will complete this outfit, need to decide on the color, as well as the black (I like to think) ballet-inspired flats. The ribbons complement the feminine pattern and delicacy of the lace top, and being tipped with gold fastenings, they also round up the choice of jewelry.

Ready to go.

Lace top: most likely Amazon

Black tank top: H&M

Leggings: Esprit

Shoes: Asos

Jewelry: SIX

What To Wear #63: I Feel Teal

There are two things I look forward to in the mornings, two simple pleasures: breakfast and putting on a favorite dress. This is one of those mornings – score!

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This dress has been one of my happiest buys to date – it’s long and comfortable, figure-hugging without being clingy and the jersey it’s made from is perfect for hot weather as well. There’s a length of string to knot around the waist however you like, and the sparkling beading across the chest lends a playful note to an intense color.

Teal works well with browns and golds, especially since this dress has embroidery on it exactly in those colors. The dangling earrings are some of my favorite as well, with the multi-colored sphere at the bottom livening up the long loop, and the rings both pick up on both the dress’ hue and go in line with the golds.

Ready to go.

Dress: C&A

Jewelry: I Am and SIX

 

What To Wear #62: Scarves, Dahling

Well, just the one, but still an impressive one. It is scarf awareness day all over again.

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The trusty sleeveless black, but how to liven it up? Because I feel like a splash of bold color! And inevitably a scene from a 1993 adaptation of A Secret Garden, which I loved watching as a child, pops in to my head. Martha, a maid in the manor where Mary, the main heroine has come to live after the death of her parents, holds up several dresses for Mary’s choosing, and attempting to cheer up the young girl with some humor, she asks her which one she wants to wear, “Black, black or black?” “Are you blind?” Mary responds icily. “They’re all black.”

My black dress usually says, “Dude, where’s the rest?” Who am I to ignore signals. The scarf is a souvenir from my recent jaunt to a flea market in Kiel with a friend, and it was only upon spreading it out that I noticed the pattern of the Union Jack in the background. With flowers strewn across it, it’s less official and absolutely wearable.

The accessories pick up the blue and white in the scarf, since the red speaks for itself. I saw these dainty earrings a while ago and liked the tiny and charming detail of the silver leaf against the dark blue, while the ring with the flower was found by my mother during a relaxed afternoon browsing a market in Spain once. The shoes remind me of the 90s every time I look at them – perhaps it’s the combination of black velvety material and the heel style? Another comfortable pair I can log a lot of hours in.

Ready to go.

Dress: Zalando

Scarf: flea market in Kiel

Shoes: Deichmann

Jewelry: I Am, Bijou Brigitte and market in Spain