Frankfurt, Germany -- Photo by Bekah Wright

I’ll admit it — I’m a sucker for a view. And when I was in Frankfurt, Germany in May, this was the view that greeted me.

Frankfurt, Germany -- Photo by Bekah Wright

Alas, the day ahead didn’t involve cycling along the river or simply soaking in the sun (that would come later). This was, after all, Frankfurt’s Museum Mile. The halls of recently reopened The Städel Museum beckoned.

The Städel Museum, Frankfurt, Germany -- Photo by Bekah Wright

The Städel Museum, Frankfurt, Germany -- Photo by Bekah Wright

Right away, I was delighted by the view indoors. The foyer was filled with people en route to various sections of the museum. Entryways, by their very shape, heralded masterpieces just across their thresholds.

The Städel Museum, Frankfurt, Germany -- Photo by Bekah Wright

Before art came into play, my eye caught sight of a coffee shop with mouthwatering pastries on display. A fellow journalist tugged me away by the elbow. There was lunch to be had in the near future. Best not spoil our appetites.

The Städel Museum, Frankfurt, Germany -- Photo by Bekah Wright

“What about shopping?” I beseeched. “Some of my best finds have been in museums.” My request fell on non-compliant ears. I was, after all, the only woman in the group. No shopping genes in this throng.

The Städel Museum, Frankfurt, Germany -- Photo by Bekah Wright

Soon, our guide arrived. As with any visitor, we were given the complimentary opportunity to see the museum’s collections through the eyes of an expert. I’d like to say it was at this point that I became the sophisticated adult I’m supposed to be. The petulant child in me, however, was still crying out for sunshine and adventure.

A stop in a gallery soon got my mind whirling — this looked like just the place Thomas Crown would spend an afternoon… This museum wasn’t stuffy after all. No cobwebs. No dust. And thus far, no Thomas Crown. Yet, the day was young.

The Städel Museum, Frankfurt, Germany -- Photo by Bekah Wright

Slipping away from my group, I spotted some youngsters in another room. Perhaps they’d want to play? No, they were riveted by the art. Especially in the reopened Main River wing and “Old Masters” (1300–1800) collection. And then I realized, I’d been struggling with my inner middle-schooler all morning. And since the little girl in me wasn’t in the mood to grow up, why not look at the art with the same wonder as these children?

My mind shift was instantly rewarded with works like this one from Ferdinand Van Kessel, The Dance of the Rats.

Photo of The Dance of the Rats by Ferdinand Van Kessel by Bekah Wright

Before I knew it, we were moving on to the contemporary art extension. As opposed to the main wing’s walls of deep purples, reds and blues, The Städel’s contemporary area was stark white, bright and yanked me right into the present moment.

The Städel Museum, Frankfurt, Germany Photo by Bekah Wright

Which way to turn? So many choices. So many things to see. Like… This formidable fellow.

The Städel Museum, Frankfurt, Germany. Photo by Bekah Wright

This very confused gentleman.

The Mad Priest by George Condo in The Städel Museum. Photo by Bekah Wright

A fun house mirror?

The Städel Museum, Frankfurt, Germany Photo by Bekah Wright

Life mimicking art.

The Städel Museum, Frankfurt, Germany Photo by Bekah Wright

Me mimicking art. The little girl couldn’t help but come out to play. Even if only for a two-second photo opp.

The Städel Museum, Frankfurt, Germany Photo by Bekah Wright

When the lunch hour was announced… I pouted. Really? We had to leave? Already?! My mate who’d pulled me away from the coffee shop reminded me of my desire for sunshine and pastries. Something I’d all but forgotten. Lunch! Who needs it? Especially when there’s art to see. My stomach gave a growl that said, perhaps, it could use a bite or two.

Holbein’s Café and at The Städel Museum, Frankfurt, Germany -- Photo by Bekah Wright

Fittingly, Holbein’s Café and Restaurant at The Städel is a work of art unto itself. The structure was veritable eye candy with plenty of glass, bricks, mortar and, yes, sunshine.

Appealing to American palates on the menu board — burgers!

Holbein’s Café and at The Städel Museum, Frankfurt, Germany -- Photo by Bekah Wright

Vitamin D came by way of balcony seating.

Holbein’s Café and at The Städel Museum, Frankfurt, Germany -- Photo by Bekah Wright

Bubbly for the refined palate.

Holbein’s Café and at The Städel Museum, Frankfurt, Germany -- Photo by Bekah Wright

Anti-oxidant delights by way of smoothies named for film stars Julia Roberts, Paul Newman and Nicole Kidman.

Holbein’s Café and at The Städel Museum, Frankfurt, Germany -- Photo by Bekah Wright

Oozing cheese on finely pressed paninis.

Holbein’s Café and at The Städel Museum, Frankfurt, Germany -- Photo by Bekah Wright

And then there was comfort food for the homesick.

Holbein’s Café and at The Städel Museum, Frankfurt, Germany -- Photo by Bekah Wright

As it turned out, The Städel had delivered exactly what I needed on this particular day — visual and mental stimulation, education, FUN and, yes, sunshine! My determination: to recreate this fulfilling experience as often as possible. Even on home turf.

BRINGING IT HOME:

Metropolis II, LACMA, Los Angeles, CA -- Photo by Bekah Wright

Metropolis II, LACMA, Los Angeles, CA -- Photo by Bekah Wright

How easy it is to forget about hometown museums. Errands get in the way. As does traffic. Most often, pure laziness. Happily, since visiting The Städel, I’ve found my way to several Los Angeles-based museums. Just right for my middle-school side was LACMA’s Metropolis II.

Metropolis II, LACMA, Los Angeles, CA -- Photo by Bekah Wright

Making the day all the more special — sharing the experience with my dear friend, Daily Concepts‘ co-founder Emilio Smeke. After watching the Matchbox cars race to our hearts’ content, we lunched at Ray’s and Stark Bar. In lieu of paninis, we went for the flatbread.

Another sunny day made my mind wander to Malibu Beach. It wasn’t the shore front I craved, but the opportunity to take in the Getty Villa.

Getty Villa, Malibu, California -- Photo by Bekah Wright

Yes, there is much to see within the Getty Villa’s halls. Equally alluring, though, is what guests find outside.

Getty Villa, Malibu, California -- Photo by Bekah Wright

And, as a reminder that museum’s are fun, there were signs like this one encouraging hands-on experiences.

Getty Villa, Malibu, California -- Photo by Bekah Wright

Did I mimic art here? You bet. See that pose in the pool? Uh huh, did that at next time I was at VNSO. The sign above didn’t make me bold enough to try one on site in water. I am, despite earlier reports, a responsible adult. (Still working on that sophistication thing.)

Getty Villa, Malibu, California -- Photo by Bekah Wright

Thomas Crown? Are you here? I’m still on the look-out.

Getty Villa, Malibu, California -- Photo by Bekah Wright

Beauty.

Getty Villa, Malibu, California -- Photo by Bekah Wright

And little ones, just like me, mesmerized by a day at the museum.

Ready for a visit yourself? A great time to do so is on September 29, Museum Day. Sponsored by The Smithsonian, the day brings with it free tickets to participating venues. I’ve already got mine!

Getty Villa, Malibu, California -- Photo by Bekah Wright

To learn more about The Städel Museum visit http://www.staedelmuseum.de/sm/index.php?StoryID=1190&websiteLang=en. For information about Holbein’s visit http://www.meyer-frankfurt.de/de/holbeins.php?pageid=70. To learn about LACMA and its current exhibits visit http://www.lacma.org/. To check out Getty Villa visit http://www.getty.edu/visit/. Ready to visit Frankfurt? Learn more at http://www.frankfurt.de or about Germany at http://www.germany.travel. To get tickets for Museum Day visit
http://www.smithsonianmag.com/museumday/ticket/admission-ready-to-print.html?hash=6598abed13ede291eb593d42b3767532

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