Ich Bin ein Frankfurter

Detour: Frankfurt

Want to shake your booty in Frankfurt? We know, Germany's financial center is not exactly South Beach. (Why do you think so many Deutsche vacation in Miami?) Still, there are plenty of ways to cut loose. And this month, that probably means getting down with those party animals at the huge Frankfurt Book Fair, which will be the only game in town.

Hotel hiatus

For a close-up view of Eurotrash at the source, break out your black turtleneck and get on over to 190 East (www.190east.de). The club caters to a young, style-conscious crowd of blonds with high cheekbones and features three full-time DJs, including American expat Joe Jam. If you're looking for a slightly older crew, try the King Kamehameha (www.king-kamehameha.de), where you can listen to house music as well as live performances from jazz greats like Dave Brubeck, Roy Hargrove, and Les McCann.

Ditch the convention center

So it's been a long day at the trade show: the crowds, the life-sized chipmunks, the spokesmodels in skimpy little dresses. What did you expect from the global publishing cartel? What you need is some hearty German food. Hop in a cab and head for the Zum Gemalten Haus for some Handkäse mit Musik, a symphony of cheese topped with onions, drenched in an oil-and-vinegar sauce, and served with bread. Some people eat the whole thing with a knife and fork; others eat the cheese separately and dip the bread in the sauce. Hey, it's a messy sandwich; there are no rules. Wash it down with a few glasses of apfelwein — sour-apple wine, something you'll find only in Frankfurt. Zum Gemalten Haus, Schweizer Strasse 67; 069-614-559

Escape the airport

Sure, you could check out that fascinating biosphere project over at Terminal 2. Or you could cash in those leftover deutsche marks, rent a Mercedes SL or an Audi TT, and go fahren, fahren, fahren auf den autobahn at 150 MPH. You'll wish that your layover could last forever. For airport car-rental information, visit http://www.flughafen-frankfurt.de

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