Published Categorised as Germany, Popular Posts, Travel No Comments on Düssel­dorf

I spent most of August in Germany, teach­ing some school work­shops and going to Docu­menta art fair along the way. My first assign­ment was in rural Nordrhein-West­falen. The agency has a tend­ency to book you on flights at brutal times early on a Sunday, so instead I booked my own flight to Cologne on a Friday even­ing, and claimed it back off them. I have been to Cologne loads of times, and my colleagues were flying into Düssel­dorf, which I had never visited. So I decided to stay in Düssel­dorf, do a bit of sight­see­ing, and then meet up with the others before head­ing to the Sauer­land. (A delayed flight and the ques­tion­able joy of rural DB trains on Sundays meant that that turned out to be a bit more complic­ated than planned, but every­one got there in the end).

I can’t say I knew much about Düssel­dorf. It’s in the Rhein­land, the most densely popu­lated part of Germany, it’s a rich place with a big finan­cial industry, Kraft­werk come from there, they say isch rather than ich (check out Kraftwerk’s Neonlis­cht), and they have an intense rivalry with their better-look­ing and more famous neigh­bour Cologne (to the extent of selling post­cards every­where saying “Düssel­dorf statt Köln”- Düssel­dorf instead of Cologne. Nice try Düssel­dorf).

The centre of Düssel­dorf is very posh- the König­sallee is full of expens­ive design­er shops, and there are lots of expens­ive restaur­ants and gleam­ing modern corpor­ate headquar­ters. It wasn’t really my thing. There are a surpris­ing number of Japan­ese restaur­ants too- which I did avail myself of. There was cool look­ing modern art museum, but I got there too late for it to be worth paying to get in. The rest of the city isn’t quite so gleam­ing though, just kind of bog-stand­ard Germany, and I stayed in quite a nice hotel for €30. There were a weirdly high number of stag and hen-dos/exam celeb­ra­tion groups in town too. There was an annoy­ing group of Bavari­an boys in leder­hosen at my hotel. The sarcast­ic manager poin­ted them out to me and said “look, there’s some Bavari­ans in their famous sexy leder­hosen. As a free gift from the hotel, you can pick one. None of their moth­ers will mind”. I declined.

Kraft­werk are famously from Düssel­dorf. I made a trip to see their old studio Kling-Klang, near the train station (they now work in a bigger place out of town). It was cool to see, but is not going to occupy you for more than a few minutes. The street it’s on is both empty and seedy at the same time. I guess that’s how they could afford it.

This isn’t the greatest photo, but I really like how the tram­lines in Düssel­dorf are grassed over, with this chequer­board paving on the stops. As per in Germany the tick­ets are reas­on­ably priced, and incred­ibly confus­ing. The tick­et machine offered me a choice of zones, but the zones weren’t marked on any of the trans­port maps. Even­tu­ally it turned out all of Düssel­dorf is in one zone.

I got a free vouch­er from the hotel to go up the Rhein­turm. I was disap­poin­ted to find it didn’t rotate, but you did get good views. Before going in, I used the cash machine in this office build­ing, and got this great view of the tower.

Here is the mighty Rhein itself, with some barges making some very slow turns. Earli­er in the year I was actu­ally right at the begin­ning of the Rhein, on the Austri­an-Swiss border near Dorn­birn. It’s more of a stream down there.

This build­ing looks really cool from above.

The tower has some very reflect­ive lights inside. The Photoshop content-aware heal tool is a marvel, it really is.



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