Monday, June 08, 2009

The Dusseldorf Diaries: Day 4 - Thursday 7 May 2009

Catch-up time this week on the blog so I thought it was time to finally finish off my holiday diary.

Thursday morning. The blue skies finally came to Dusseldorf. Not a cloud in the sky this morning and no sign of rain. Today’s weather forecast says 20 degrees. A very nice day for a trip out of town!

Before the holiday we had planned to return to Cologne - our 2006 summer holiday destination - as it is only 30 minutes by train from Dusseldorf. Now you know that there are many stereotypes about Germany and I like to hold the country up as an example of how a country should be run. The trains always run on time, for example. If a train is due to leave at 11.30 am, then it does, and not a minute later.

If we needed any proof that the world is in terminal decline, look no further than Dusseldorf train station this morning. The 11.30 am train to wherever-it-was via Cologne, was delayed, and it didn’t appear before 12.00 when we got on the next train which was going to Koblenz.

(A quick word about European trains, which are marvellous of course, but why do they persist on the first and second class system? I know we have it here too but it’s usually only one carriage, and not half a train like the ones we travelled on today)

Arriving in Cologne is a feast for the eyes - the first thing you see when you come out of the station is the massive Cologne Cathedral (part of it pictured above - I could never fit it all into one picture, it's so massive) which looks even bigger than I remember it from last time. We make our way down to the riverside (pictured below) and have lunch outdoors at one of our old faves, the Lowenbrau. It’s a warm, sunny day and I’ve got my shades on!

After lunch we walk along the river and up through the old town and then stop for coffee at Heumarkt (above) which has a very good selection of restaurants and cafes. Then up through the shopping area which is still as busy as ever. You can’t go to Cologne and not have a Kolsch - the legendary local beer which is to Cologne as Alt is to Dusseldorf. Stopped for a couple of beers at Fruh, which is a very famous brauhaus, which we missed out on three years ago. Local cuisine is also being served here - someone at a neighbouring table is having half a pig on his plate! Here's a picture of a Fruh Kolsch....

Standing room only on a packed (and too hot) train back to Dusseldorf and it looks as if they've enjoyed a nice sunny day too.
The good weather has brought the people out tonight, the beer terraces are all open - Uerige is particularly mobbed. Tonight we have an enjoyable meal at La Grappa on Berger Strasse then (quelle surprise) head round to Bolker Strasse to end the evening sitting outdoors at one of the bars, people-watching.

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