Sometimes life throws you pleasant surprises. Especially when involving sponteneity and travel.
By chance I found myself in Germany on the 25th year anniversary of its reunification. Quite unexpectedly I decided to take a trip to Dusseldorf on the first weekend of October unaware of the significance of this historical date.
While walking the Schadowstraße
in Dusseldorf center, completely by chance I discovered I had wandered in the midst of an amazingly ruckus street party. Now I may not be the brightest apple that ever feel from the tree but I know a good party when I walk smack dab in the middle of one. Truth to be told, I came to Germany to sample the exquisite beer selection. But like a blind mouse that walks into a hunk of cheese..well, viola! Suddenly there was German beer everywhere! In the cafes. All over the streets. And the next thing I knew, even in my hand! This was shaping up to be a serendipitous weekend of infinite possibilities!!
Twenty five years ago the Berlin wall came down. Although the unrest in Eastern Germany began in 1989 the actual demolition of the wall followed by the official reunification declaration was signed in October 1990.
A quiet cobblestone alley
So here I was again, blatantly reminded of the reason I enjoy traveling. And it had nothing to do with the frosty German beer in my hand either!
I started at Uerige Obergarige, a beer garden that brews its own beer since the 18th century. Its conveniently situated at the corner of Flinger and Berger strasser, a main artery of Dusseldorf which acts as a passageway to the city’s other interesting strassen. The mood was lively and festive but not over the top. Germans can be a bit stoic at times but they know how to celebrate when there is plenty of beer around.
Dusseldorf’s history is a storied one at best. One many Germans would just as well forget. Formally an industrial city of strategic importance in WWII. So important the Allied bombers dropped several hundred tons of explosives in one night, in effect leveling the city. The intensity was so severe they are still finding unexploded bombs in Dusseldorf today. The last was discovered in August 2014.
The Twisted Tower, dating back to the 14th century
Rebuilding Dusseldorf has been a monumental, albeit arduous task to say the least. Previously heralded as one of Germany’s chief industrial cities, it has since migrated into a modern municipality of technology and business. As a result, through the painstaking efforts of the city planners, the architecture is sleek and sophisticated mixed with a blend of neomodern . While traversing the city you feel as though you are in a futuristic, or even, dare i say it, “space age” megalopolis.
Gehry Building, featuring its titanium exterior, Dusseldorf center
Along the Rhine there are mundo cafes lining the promenade. The only question was,
bratwurst or weinersnitzel? Now I knew this was probably not the healthiest thing to eat. Considering it would probably give me brain cancer, stomach lesions, wreck havoc to my colon and a host of other ailments yet undiscovered by man. But heck, there are worst thing to eat right? Well, maybe not, but I was in Germany,
Futuristic Neomodern design, along the Rhine
and local custom dictates that every wide eyed traveler has to gorge themselves on bratwurst and beer upon entering the country.
Of course I am not one to break the rules. So without hesitation I proceeded to indulge in the local custom. Over and over again. After a few more foamy glasses of courage my guilt subsided. But if these photos appear to be a bit out of focus, you know why!
So next time you are in Dusseldorf. Forget about seeing the architecture and go straight for the brautwurst. Your colon may not appreciate it. But your taste buds sure will !~ZT