I thought that it would be fun to share some of the photos from my trip that might give you an impression of the size of the trade show and also some of the interesting things I noticed around the buildings of the "Messe" or fair.
Only a scrapbooker would have the nerve to ask a total stranger to take her photo in front of the sign for her destination! It was interesting to see that Madrid (where we went a couple of months ago) was right next to Frankfurt on the sign and that Frankfurt is even farther away - 265 more miles. If I had gone to CHA in California I would have been "only" 2975 miles from home.
When we lived overseas (from 1992 to 2000), I learned that only about 10% of Americans had passports. This has changed somewhat now that passports are required for travels to Canada, Mexico and the Caribbean and the latest figures I could find show that about a third of all US citizens now hold passports. If you don't have a passport, think about getting one. You never know when a chance to travel to another country might come up and it's always best to "be prepared" (as the Scouts say).
I left on Thursday afternoon on an overnight flight with Lufthansa. The plane was not full and I was lucky to have an empty seat next to me. We arrived in Frankfurt in the wee hours of the morning and I was quite proud that I managed to find my way to the hotel using public transportation (the S-bahn line went from the airport to a few blocks from our hotel). It was dark and snowy when I arrived at the hotel and met Mandy. She had arrived the day before me from the intense summer heat in Australia (over 40 Celcius which is about 104 degrees Fahrenheit!) and was excited to see a bit of snow. This was the view from our hotel window - you can see some white on the rooftops. We wanted to see the antique store (Antik Bodenheimer) but never made it over there (isn't that a great font they used on the wall!).
The UBahn (underground train) stop was just a few blocks from the hotel. The environmentally conscious German fair organizers included free public transportation in the cost of our tickets so we were happy to make good use of the passes. The funny thing was that we were never asked to show our tickets during our time there. There are no gates to pass through and people just hop on and off the trains. If an inspector did check and you were without a ticket the fine is 40 Euros (about $52).
Here are Mandy and Enfys outside our hotel on the second day (Enfys arrived Friday afternoon and didn't come to the first day of the show).
Messe Frankfurt organizes large trade fairs in a huge complex of buildings. This is the plaza near the entrance to the main section with flags of many countries.
I was fascinated by this enormous sculpture of a man with an ax - it actually moved.
Here he has raised the ax, ready to chop.
The people and bikes in this photo give you a sense of the size of the sculpture. I think that these bikes are another free service that you can use like a zip car to get around in the city.
The fairgrounds are huge and it took about ten minutes to get from the entrance to the hall where we spent most of our time. Buildings are connected by enclosed walkways with moving sidewalks.
These escalators brought us up to the level of the entry for the shows we were attending.
The figures reminded me of Legos!
After checking our coats in one of the many cloakrooms, we started the trek to the halls. This moving sidewalk took us beside an older style building with interesting windows.
The halls for the Christmas fair were very far away. Mandy and I went there the first day and it took about twenty minutes to get to the actual show after we got off the train.
Each of the three fairs had banners listing the halls to visit. The CreativeWorld was the most relevant to us and occupied only one (very large) hall.
Each show had a special a special lanyard color but our tickets were good for all three - so I alternated lanyards using the one that looked best with my clothing each day!
The connecting hallways were extremely long and it was great to have the moving sidewalks to help get us around a little faster.
There were large open halls and places that served coffee and snacks at the intersections of the connecting hallways.
This is just one of the halls for the PaperWorld show - I think there were six or seven all together. These sections were primarily office supply paper, pens, notebooks, backpacks - all of the things that you would find at an office supply store or stationer's.
On the first day (before we discovered the short-cut) we walked through the large PaperWorld hall to get to CreativeWorld. I thought this pencil car, driven by a stuffed bear was very cute!
The teddy bear driving seemed so odd with the formal and serious atmosphere of this section.
Some of the displays of writing implements looked like fancy jewelry stores.
Finally, we made it to CreativeWorld. This section included all sorts of hobby and craft materials.
You could tell that you were in CreativeWorld by the brightly colored carpet throughout the hall.
There were 87,000 buyers at the combined fairs and it never felt very crowded - there were so many spaces to see. We did visit ChristmasWorld on the first day (before the other shows opened) and next time I will share some of those photos. The rules for photography were much stricter than at CHA so I don't have an overwhelming amount to show (but I probably took more photos than the average person would take!).
The next items have been added to the Blogoversary gift boxes - be sure to check the post on Saturday morning and leave your comments for a chance to win.
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