Happy Wednesday everyone! By mid-week sometimes I’m dreaming of the weekend, or dream-planning my next vacation. Wednesday seems like a good day for wanderlust. So let me tell you about the highlights from my Dusseldorf, Germany trip in April.
Dusseldorf is a city in the northwest of Germany, about 2 hours from Amsterdam, 1.5 hours from Frankfurt, and 30 minutes from Cologne. It’s on the Rhine river, known for being a fashion center, and having its own style of beer- Altbier. Here were my highlights!
Altstadt is the old city. This is where the monuments to the city’s founding are. Napolean came through several times, and all that is left of the old castle is a round tower. There is a crooked church, a street of bars, cobblestone streets, and a lovely promenade along the river.
Guys, I love towers. If a city has a hill, a steeple, a tower- I will want to climb or go up it. I love the perspective that height gives. So going up in the Rheinturm was definitely on my list. J was sweet enough to come with me, even though he isn’t a fan of heights like me. It reminded me of the space needle in Seattle- a round tower at the top with a restaurant.
We went on the first full day in Dusseldorf to orient us to the city. It was almost empty at 10am, but great views of the river, city center, promenade, new bank, and surrounding area.
Dusseldorf has some great museums. J and I went to two modern art museums, known as the K20 and the KIT.
The K20 had a temporary exhibit that was frankly strange. The regular collection was very extensive, particularly representing German artists. I got to see some of my favorites- Kandinsky, Picasso, Pollack, Mondrian. Totally worth it for those.
The KIT was phenomenal. It’s a small gallery space under the Promenade in Altstadt. The big north-south highway that goes through Dusseldorf goes underground along the Altstadt, so the Promenade is car-free. An extra tunnel space was created for a gallery. On exhibit while we were there in April was a collection of pieces from a German-Israeli artist exchange program. The pieces covered all mediums- paint, cloth, wood, film, sound, prints, watercolor. Here are some of my favorites.
The Ko is the fancy green space in the center of Dusseldorf. There is a bit of water, grass, trees, bridges and streets lined with fancy shops. It was created as the “Kings Alley”- a displace piece of the city. It was nice to walk through and along it.
We took two short trips in a single day from Dusseldorf. It would have been nice to give them each their own day, but sigh, schedules. We went to Cologne and Neuss. In Cologne, we just went to the cathedral, lunch, and square. In Neuss, we walked around, saw a church, and had dinner. Both were 40 minutes or less from Dusseldorf.
There is a fair amount of traditional German food, as well as cuisine from all over the world. We had three traditionally German meals- one in Altstadt and one in Neuss. For me, the fries and asparagus were the best.
Altbier is the beer of Dusseldorf. It’s dark, and kind of bitter. I’m sure J could tell me more about how it was made to make it taste like that. It’s in direct contrast to the beer of Cologne- kolsch- which is very light in color and can go with anything.
And strudel. We had apple strudel with cream in Cologne. OMG- it was everything I was hoping for.
One of the big questions is always what did you eat before and after the marathon? The night before we cooked pasta- pretty basic. After the marathon though… I wanted beer and fries within the hour. And for dinner we went to a Korean place in the neighborhood we stayed in. It was fantastic! Papa Young’s Korean Soul Food- it was quick, spicy (the good kind), and a nice change. It hit the spot in terms of taste, nourishment, perfect portion. So don’t be afraid to venture out and try neighborhood places!
Finding a place to stay is always one of the most important things to me when traveling. I feel secure and confident in traveling when I have my plane/train tickets books and a place to sleep at night.
In Dusseldorf around the marathon, the hotels I could find within walking distance of the marathon start/finish were $150 a night. So I hopped over to AirBnB and VBRO. At lot of the time, you can find better deals (more space, location, price) through these sites. For example, J and I stayed in a 2 bedroom apartment, a block from the tram line, 2km from the marathon finish line, for about $100/night. This gave us the flexibility to have meals in the apartment, space to spread out, and let us explore a neighborhood. I love staying in neighborhoods with regular people and not in the touristy parts of town. Sometimes it’s unavoidable, or there’s a reason to stay in a particular place, but for me, give me a window into the regular life of place anytime.