My business partner and I were in Frankfurt last week to attend the ACHEMA trade show, particularly to see if there is anything new in filtration products. We found one or two new products (new to us at least) and a couple of products which have given us some ideas to improve one of our products we manufacture in Johannesburg. I'll bring you up-to-date about the new products in a later blog.
But let me tell you a little about the visit to Frankfurt. The ACHEMA show is so huge that it took us three days to get around to see the sections we wanted to visit and then there were some we weren't interested in which we didn't bother about. On the Tuesday night we attended an Eaton Filtration distributors' meeting to tell us something about the new Eaton Maxload filter bag and then dinner at the Marriott.
We did a little site seeing on Thursday and Friday ...I must say that I enjoyed the cafes and eating stalls in some of the streets closed off to vehicular traffic. Frankfurt is a clean city with the mixture of old and new (as you can see in the picture below) giving it a rather nice feel. It dates back to Roman times and bisected by the river Main is known as Frankfurt am Main...its name derives from "ford of the Franks." I was impressed by the proliferation of large bank buildings which accounts for Frankfurt being known as the European banking metropolis. Couldn't help wondering about the the financial stabilty of the banks!
We stayed in a guest house in a little village called Eppstein Bremthal about 34 kms north west of the city just a pleasant 20 minute train journey...a lovely quiet area with rolling hills and plenty of trees. So all in all, we had an enjoyable trip until the last moment. Our flight was scheduled to depart at 2225...it was after that time when the door was closed and we trundled down to the runway for take off. At precisely 2300 the captain announced that we were just about to take off when the air port shut down. Can you believe it?! Frankfurt the gateway airport into and out of Germany (and the third biggest hub in Europe) closes at 2300 until 0500 in order to "protect citizens against aircraft noise." This is a ban which has been enforced by the courts.
As a consequence we ended up at the Sheraton hotel getting to sleep about 0130, then up early in the morning to stand in a queue for 3 hours in order to get booked on to another flight. We arrived home a day late with nasty things to say about German bureaucracy....and planning a campaign to "protect visitors from German bureaucracy!"