Wednesday, September 8, 2010

European Vacation Day 2

We slept very well in to the morning after our fun first night in Dusseldorf. Our plan was to spend one more day in Dusseldorf before going out to the neighboring towns. Today would be a day we could sight see around Dusseldorf.

We started out getting lunch at a Ramen shop that the wife's friend recommended. The problem was they opened at noon, and it was 11:00... We wandered around the Japanese area of Dusseldorf, there is quite a large population of Japanese people in Dusseldorf, and killed an hour before finally getting a table at the restaurant. We had a great lunch of ramen and gyoza. Then it was off to see the sights!

We walked back to Königsallee then over to the old town to get a look at what Dusseldorf looked like, old school. In the center of the old town is a large statue of Johann Wilhelm the ruler of the area from 1690 to 1719. He lived in Dusseldorf and held his court there. He did many things for the city, and the city showed its application with the large statue.
Jan Wilhelm sits in front of the old city hall. A beautiful old building complete with ivy running around the outside.

The town hall and Jan Wilhelm

After that we walked the short way to the Rhine River and looked out at Dusseldorf's cable-stayed bridges. They have two very nice bridges across the Rhine for automobile traffic, and one for foot traffic. All are built in a similar style and look awesome.

Theodor Heuss Bridge the northern most bridge.

We walked down the Rhine to the TV Tower. This is a very cool tower that has the worlds largest decimal digital clock on the outside. There are lights that run up the side of the 240 meter tall tower that tell the time. There is an observation deck on the top of the tower that gives an unparalleled view of the city.

The tower at night, with how to tell the time

From the tower we moved over to Dusseldorf's iconic new building, the Stadttor. It is an office building essentially, but is built to resemble the Arch de Triumph in Paris, but with a more modern and functional twist.

After checking out the tower and the Stadottor it was time to check out some of Dusseldorf's more unusual buildings... American architect Frank Gehry designed some interesting apartment buildings for a spot on the Rhine river. In his deconstructionist style the buildings twist in strange ways, and tilt at odd angles.

Gehry buildings

About that time it was time for some coffee and cake. We made the trek back to Japan town to have coffee at the Hotel Neko. My first impression of European coffee is that it comes in a small cup. Next it is super duper strong. I thought they had given me espresso by mistake. Nope, coffee. Anyway I added cream and sugar and made kind of a coffee paste. It was awesome.
I have always loved sweets, and if you took one look at me you would know it... The cake that I had was off the hook. You don't get baking like this in Oklahoma...

Then it was off to meet the wife's friend. This was the day that she was going to take us for traditional German food. I was very excited. My wife's friend knew that not only did I want to experience the traditional sort of German food, but I am also kind of a history nut. She chose a restaurant that was absolutely perfect for both aspects.
We went to a restaurant that has been doing continuous business since 1628. The building was partially destroyed, along with most of the town, in 1794 by the French, but rebuilt. In 1811 after rolling through the Rhineland Napoleon and his general staff drank Altbier and had dinner at the restaurant after a victory parade, that he threw himself... Attended by the citizens of Dusseldorf... At gunpoint. Nice.
The restaurant was again destroyed in 1944, and again rebuilt bigger and better.

I started out drinking altbier, I am in Dusseldorf after all. After looking over the menu and talking with the waiter, he spoke English, I decided on a combination platter of mashed potatoes, sauerkraut, and 4 different kinds of SAUSAGES!! The wife had a boiled knuckle of pork with mashed potatoes (It tasted better than it sounds.). On the suggestion of the waiter I switched from altbier to a very nice local heffiwitsen. It was one of the best heffiwitsens I have had. Nice light flavor with the strong yeast taste coming right through. Very good, and it went perfectly with the sausages, which were excellent by the way.

After eating we learned about the history of the restaurant, and I visited the very corner that Napoleon and his staff had their beer. The waiter insisted that the corner survived the bombs of WWII, and had they even had a document signed by Napoleon himself.
Now it was late, and time for bed. We are due in Brussels in the morning!

No comments: