Wednesday, 17 June 2015

Ah! I get it! The theme is sixties fashion icons!

Twiggy in Room 207's bathroom
Not being either a fashion icon or in anyway fashionable myself, it's taken me a day to work out that the theme of my 'boutique' hotel is fashion and, in particular, fashion icons - Twiggy in my bathroom, framed photos of Karl Lagerfeld and Yves Saint Laurent on the breakfast room walls and others whom I am sure my 'fashionista' fellow guests recognised immediately. Except that, looking around me I see businessmen, not fashion victims, so, clearly, if you're a 'fashionista' - don't you hate that word? - there are other places to stay in Dusseldorf.

Breakfast here is not brilliant, although it's not bad either; everything is arranged as if it was thought about at the last minute and is crammed on to a shelf on the bar and a window sill. I miss the big bowls of fruit and the dishes of raspberry or strawberry yogurts found in the bigger branded hotels, but in all honesty there is little to complain about here and I really am clutching at straws. Even the brightly-coloured room has grown on me and now that I've found the perfect Italian restaurant - Da Bruno - about 10 minutes from the hotel I'm made up if I'm honest. More importantly, it was the hotel that recommended the restaurant so top marks to them.

As I write this it's Wednesday night, 1130hrs, and despite having attended a function in the old town of Dusseldorf at a venue on the banks of the Rhine, I still managed to catch a tram in the general direction of Da Bruno and eat dinner there – minestrone soup followed by linguine with pesto, a glass of red wine and some still mineral water. I never thought I'd get there tonight, but I did and I'm so pleased. I'm planning on going there tomorrow too.

Da Bruno is a local Italian trattoria located at Karistrasse 16, 40210 Düsseldorf (tel: 0049 (0) 211-382300). It offers everything you might expect from an Italian restaurant – including quality food and incredibly good value for money. It's homely, the service is good and, most importantly, it's friendly and I feel right at home, even if I do have to dine alone – an occupational hazard for me, I'm afraid,  but one I've gotten used to; I bought a copy of the Economist in Folkestone, Kent, on the journey out here and this morning, sitting alone in the breakfast room (like a few others) I read about Atlanta's growing problem with Asian gang culture. Last night (Tuesday) in the restaurant I read about the need for the national governments of rich countries the world over to let the dust settle on the recession before making any rash decisions about putting up interest rates and thereby setting the whole recessionary nightmare into fall swing again. Last night (Wednesday) I had nothing to read so I messed around with my iphone's Notes facility, writing down how much I'd been eating and generally faffing around like somebody with absolutely no friends. There had been a huge party of Japanese in the restaurant – they kept bowing at one another for some reason – but when they left only seven of us remained – two couples and then two men at diagonally opposed corners of the floor, with me completing a kind of triangle (if you joined the dots so to speak).

After a while I got chatting with one of the restaurant staff. I told her that I'd come from London and that I was flying back there on Friday and that I would be returning to Da Bruno tomorrow for my final meal in Dusseldorf – I've never visited the same restaurant on four consecutive nights. Soon it was time to settle the bill and walk back to my hotel in the dark.

Thursday morning...
This morning (Thursday) I was awake around 0630hrs and when I peered out of the window I noticed that the Buddha statue on the rooftop below the room had, for some reason, been moved closer to my window – I reckon it's all part of a plan to freak me out, a bit like the Weeping Angels in Doctor Who. I'm guessing that in a few days' time the statue will move to the left and eventually make a complete circuit of the small rooftop area that I can see from my hotel window.

I've got a haircut booked for this morning at 0930hrs as I noticed, on leaving the room yesterday evening, that I'm starting to look a mess. After a while – between six and eight weeks after having it cut – my hair becomes a little uncontrollable, like a Brillo pad, and there's no alternative other than to have it cut short, but then, of course, I resemble a criminal, a bank robber on the run or some other kind of miscreant, so in many ways I can't win.

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