Friday, 12 October 2012

Wandering around Dusseldorf...

On my way towards the old town, I spotted this rather strange-looking
machine. It goes some way to making recumbent bicycles cool.
My work finished around 4pm yesterday and the weather was fine (unlike today) so I decided to stroll through town and head for the river. In my head I was aiming for the old part of town, but in reality, I was simply heading in the direction of the river, which was a mistake. I walked for about an hour, or thereabouts, following tramlines most of the time, but I ended up probably not far from the river, but somewhere off the beaten track.

I retraced my steps using a bus and the help of a Brazilian student who lives in Dusseldorf and soon enough, having changed from bus to tram, I found myself at the Heinrich Heine Strasse, which is a short walk from the old town, which is right on the Rhein (or Rhine as we pronounce it in the UK).

A small square in the old town

Wandering around on your own is fine, but it's nicer when you got somebody to share it with; sadly, I was alone and there's nothing worse in my opinion. Okay, it's nice to have your own space once in a while, but here, as I strolled around the old town, it was strangely lonely. The problem, however, is always the same: I'm on business and not on a holiday and if I was on a holiday, would I visit Dusseldorf? Well, the answer is probably yes. It's under an hour from Gatwick and it's a fairly pleasant sort of place. It's easy to get around, not overly pricey and it has its own charm.
I used to yearn for one of these, but now I'm happy just to look.

Incidentally, on the bike front, I never found any, although I did find some interesting bike shops, selling very expensive MTBs (I like that abbreviation, in fact I like all abbreviations, especially CSR and Capex, which mean 'corporate social responsibility' and 'capital expenditure' respectively). But enough business talk, let's get back to Dusseldorf.

After swanning around and feeling a little sorry for myself (I wanted my wife and daughter to be here too) I found a bar, Bar Cherie on the Kurze Strasse. This was one of those places that you find once in a while and realise that there are places in the world where you can leave everything behind and exist in a completely different space.

Early evening. The Rhein from Dusseldorf's 'old town'.

Bar Cherie was a little on the avant garde side, there was some strange but intriguing music playing on the sound system, the vibe was laid back, there were candles on the tables and for a while I thought all this place needs is some decent food. Lo and behold there was food. I watched as a couple of thin crust pizzas arrived on adjacent tables but decided to eat dinner back at the hotel, mainly because I needed to phone home from the room.

My beer on the table at Bar Cherie
I enjoyed two small bottles of dark beer (Alt) and then left, heading through the shop-lined streets to the subway and a train to Dusseldorf.

I fly back home tonight, but looking at the weather (it's raining) I'm not going to be doing much in the way of sight-seeing. Perhaps I'll head down to Bar Cherie for a last beer as I need to get rid of my coins (what a great excuse!).

The photos accompanying this post were taken yesterday while out and about, apart from the very last one, which is the sign over the top of an office block that is visible from my hotel room. In fact, the shot was taken from my hotel room early this morning. The sign in question has been my friend over the past few days, mildly (and comfortingly) illuminating my room at night.

Bar Cherie, Kurze Strasse 2, Dusseldorf Altstadt (old town).

It looks pretty bleak outside my hotel window now. The trees are blowing about, the sky is cloudy and yes, I'm flying today! As I said a few posts back, whenever I fly anywhere, the weather turns. I can only imagine that's it's bleaker in the UK, but at least when I return it's the weekend.

Right, it's now time to tidy up the room, pack away my stuff and check out of the hotel. One thing I really hate doing is checking out of hotels. I abhor 'vacating the room', I despise packing and I can't stand being reduced to nomad status, a dog without a home.

The Sparda-Bank West sign outside of my hotel window.
Outside it's brightening up a little, so I might get to see some more sights before heading home, although I think I get the gist of Dusseldorf. It's a pleasant city, small but perfectly formed and with easy links from here to there using trains, underground trains, trams and buses. It's one of those places where you could jump on a tube train (I say tubes, they're really trams that go underground near the centre of town) or a bus and you're never far from where you started. You can walk for hours and still be able to hop on some form of public transportation to get you back to your hotel. It's very hard to get lost here, which is great. Time to sign off.

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