Adventures in Dusseldorf
My first time setting foot in Germany was in the dead of winter. The cold dark winter. Empty, sad! Okay, I got dramatic there for a minute but you get what I mean.
I could not feel my face or fingers. This was my first time to experience winter and snow. Somehow, I had always assumed that everyone was exaggerating when they talked about how cold it was.
Growing up near a hill, it was always misty and the nights were cold. I come from Kenya which is near the equator, so you can imagine that it was not that cold as compared to where I was at that moment.
Germany, on the other hand, was freezing. As I waited for a taxi at Dusseldorf airport, I started shivering. My taxi driver could not speak English and I could only speak two words in German so we did not talk to each other the whole way. Bear in mind that I love talking to taxi and Uber drivers. I come up with the strangest small talk.
This time, I decided to mind my own business and take in the views. He was listening to some German music on his radio. I had no choice but to look outside my car window. The once green trees were now black stems. Like skeletons standing in winter. We drove for miles and got to my destination.
Photo taken on a sunnier day
Sleeping on a Ship on the Rhine River
I was staying at the Oscar Wilde Hotel Schiff, a hotel on a ship. The ship had 88 cabins. However, the taxi driver hurriedly gave me a receipt and left me on the snow to hull my overpacked suitcase to the ship. I was so tired from the flight, layovers and now this!
Someone saw my struggle and helped me and I got to the now warm hotel. “I really need gloves”, I thought to myself. My fingers were now numb. As soon as I got to the room, I opened a tap and warm water trickled on them, making me warm again.
It was amazing to look out the window and see the Rhine River. The other facilities included a fitness centre and 2 restaurants. There was the breakfast restaurant and another one for fine dining. A few days later, I took myself to dinner and they served a delicious and juicy steak.
The beautiful restaurant
I do not unpack when I get to a hotel. I know. It is strange. Most people hang their clothes in the closet but I just put everything on the suitcase. This makes everything so easy. I made myself some tea and called a friend who had offered to show me around Dusseldorf as soon as I arrived.
There is something about arriving at a new destination. You get a sense that it is a new beginning for you. Whether you will be there for a day or for weeks, the excitement is palpable.
My phone rang and my friend, Lena was alerting me that she would be one hour late. That gave me time to freshen up and sneak in a 30-minute power nap. Afterwards, I was feeling refreshed and ready to experience more of this city.
The Longest Bar in the World
When you travel solo, it is always refreshing to see someone you know/ are acquainted with. We met up with Lena and a 20-minute taxi ride later, we were in the city. She somehow knew that I would need gloves and gave me a pair.
I had mentioned that I wanted to try some German beer and so we went to “The Longest Bar in the world”. This is a famous place in Altstadt and it has so many bars all in one street. It has over 300 bars and nightclubs. The bars are located on the Ratinger Straße. The most common beer served here is the Altbier or Alt for short. Alt means old in German.
This was the beginning
There are many bars that extend to outside seating areas. We went to the Zum Uerige bar. People were busy watching football at the screens mounted above or talking while sipping on their brew. Some beers were served n beer mugs and others in long glasses. The dimly lit bar was so crowded I was surprised we got a place to sit.
For me, this was fascinating because I love to see how people enjoy their drink from all over the world. Afterwards, we went to dinner.
I loved Dusseldorf and can’t wait to return. What else can you suggest for me to try?