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Published: April 16th 2018
Canal In Dusseldorf’s Main Street
Unlike Berlin, Dusseldorf is home to many high end fashion labels so we were right at home. Not.
Our last night was plagued by thunder and lightening so the planned pleasant stroll in the Saturday Market nearby and breakfast at Winterfelt was not looking promising. And it wasn’t. The cafe wasn’t open and the rain barely allowed time for a quick look, buy some supplies at a bakery for the train ride to Dusseldorf and have breakfast at a popular cafe that took your order at the counter and then the waitress came empty handed to the table to tell us it was ready to pick up. It was obviously popular because the coffee and food were good; there was no service.
The public transport in Berlin is very organised and efficient. We had been on and off trains and buses many times and never waited more than 4 minutes for a connection. A train and a bus link for the airport was cheap at $5 each, and had us joining a queue at the airport that I would conservatively estimate to be 120 metres long. It twisted back and forwards between barriers, and moved efficiently, even taking into account the people who push in at the front; it’s a pet hate. I think you develop more as
Crowds In The Old Town.
This is the most congested place we’ve visited and even though a festival is os, apparently this is the norm on weekends.
you get older.
Dusseldorf is generally not high on travel itineraries, and travel sections in the media seem to place it low down on things to do in Germany. It was a favourite district to target by the Allies in WW2 as it was a major industrial area, producing much of the equipment needed for the German war effort. On the outskirts of Dusseldorf, and scattered in small outcrops all the way to Cologne, industry is still a dominant force and companies like Bayer have factories that cover acres each. Large smoke stacks in the distance fill the sky with dark clouds that hover over many wind power turbines that probably power the smoke stacks.
We found Dusseldorf to be a hive of activity, and more people shopped, ate, drank, or just walked around aimlessly like us, than I have seen in the time we have been away. I’m not sure whether Germans flock to this town on weekends or whether it is due to the Night Museum Festival on this weekend, but judging from the atmosphere and action around the main Square and waterfront bars, people aren’t here to look at old stuff.
The general ‘look’
Schlossturn, The Castle Tower.
This 13th century Tower was part of a large castle near the banks of the Rhine. It is now a maritime museum with a cafe up the top.
of this crowd was very different from Berlin, particularly around the fashion district in the canal area on the edge of the Old Town. High style, careful coordination and beautifully manicured features were the order of the day, and that was just the men. I thought I saw Donald Trump at one stage but it was just someone else with an orange face. Staged glamour shots were the order of the day and these people did look impressive. Luckily my chameleon powers helped my H&M clothes and hiking boots melt into this glamorous scene unnoticed.
A cruise on a river is a good way to get a different view of any city and Dusseldorf is no exception. Our one hour cruise up and down the Rhine accomplished more than hours of wandering ever would, and sitting back with a drink listening to a commentary over the steady drone of a diesel motor is a very relaxed alternative to walking.
It was getting late, stomachs were rumbling, so where to for dinner? Tim had a Brewery in mind and the Schumacher Brewery, established in 1837, and nothing to do with motor sport. These breweries are traditional eateries in Germany
and have a boisterous party atmosphere where waiters are known to replace beers as soon as one empties and large trays of beer constantly hover, dropping off drinks, with the tally kept on a beer coaster at each table. I’m amazed at the skills required to rush around with a tray of about 20 glasses hovering and swerving at gravity defying angles, without losing a drop. No choices, beer is beer, and before we sat down, 3 beers were on the table in front of us and none had been ordered. Tim had pork knuckles with bread and potatoes but Sue and I opted for the more predictable bacon pancakes. Not bad.
The next morning we made the short trip to the station for our train to Luxembourg and breakfast at a Turkish cafe on the way set us up for the trip. The sweet smell of bread dough and pastries accompanied by mournful Turkish music seemed to characterise the wet day ahead.
Seated in the upper level of the train, we passed by dark, graffitied, industrial buildings with broken windows and damaged roofs from a more prosperous time, wedged between modern factory complexes. The usual small garden
The Rhine River With The Rheinturm In The Background
The 240 metres high telecommunication tower is the highest landmark in Dusseldorf. The boat you see is our Rhine Cruise Boat.
plots line the tracks and provide a release from apartment life for people who have access to few green spaces. They have little sheds, playground equipment and a lawn to relax on, and they are often regarded as an overnight weekender. It’s a great idea to take the kids and get from under the wife’s feet to allow her to do the housework in peace......just joking girls, the kids would be better at home helping mum.
Further out of the city, small white cottages branch out into simple 2 storey housing and finish with concrete pebblestone apartment blocks; I’m not sure that’s progress. Often nearby there will be one large industry that you could assume was the reason for this development. Spring is definitely in the air now and much of the tree lined track flies past in a green blur. Isolated farm houses sit among ploughed hopeful fields just revealing a tinge of green. Three weeks ago it was cold and damp with snow laying in patches along the tracks and around houses.
The atmosphere on the train changes constantly depending on the type of train, your fellow passengers and the length of the trip. Seating and
The Longest Bar In The World
In Dusseldorf 240 bars in a row combine to be the longest bar in the world.
scenery have an influence but overall I don’t think you could have an unpleasant trip. Our trip today took about 4 hours, with the last hour by bus from Trier as there was work on the tracks. The large double level train is smooth and quiet and the view from the upper level unobstructed, until the long banks of trees filter your view with a green haze.
For a person who hated trains and had a break of 30 years from riding on them ( my MO was that I preferred to choose the people I travelled with but the truth was I didn’t like the idea of being in a situation that I had no control of; planes are the same, you’re stuck there whether you like it or not. A bit weired but very real to me.), I now enjoy the carefree peace on a train. In fact I’d like to plan a European holiday where all travel was by train. It would be a bit slower, more expensive, but a very relaxing holiday experiencing a range of different rail systems , arriving in magestic stations refreshed to explore a new city.
We settled back into
Shipping On The Rhine
I estimate over 120 shipping containers are making their way South on this super long barge.
Luxembourg, exhausted from 18 days of tearing around seeing as much as we could, and have a one day break before travelling by train back to Trier in Germany for an overnight visit. It’s the oldest town in Germany and covers a small area so it will be a slow look around.
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