Düsseldorf in a day

It had been quiet for a moment, at least as far as going to places goes. We had been home the last weekend, threw a nice BBQ evening for some friends and so forth, but that’s about it. This week was looking to be the same. Until Waffle was commanded to Germany for work. So on an early Thursday morning I was sitting next to him in the car, heading for Düsseldorf.

Waffle would be spending the day in meetings and I would be released alone to the city. I had done some research over it, just to make it a little easier to spend a whole day in the city. They had some interesting art museums and parks and of course the Rein. Some old and some ultra modern parts to the city too. I set off with a healthy curiosity.

First I wondered through one of the bigger parks, since it was on my way to the Rein. After I returned to civilization I circled a couple of rather beautiful churches and finally bumped into the shining granite wall of one of the art museums.  And walked in.

It was the museum of modern art called K20. They promised to show me a tour through the photos of Andreas Gursky and a collection from Henkell, of course the normal collections were there too. Before seeing any of the art, there is the thing of the building itself. It is dark grey granite on the outside, polished to a nice shine. Inside of it is a whole different nature, it is shining white with very soft light. It is a startling contrast.

The first collection I found were the photos of Andreas Gursky. Is theme was the modern mass consumption, under the name of not abstract. That was interesting for sure, large scale pictures of the signs our mass consumption leaves on earth. Actually a story telling collection.

A floor higher I found the permanent collections, built out of series of sculptures and paintings. Oh dear, I entered the room of the stereotype of modern art jokes. Squares. Painted in a unison color. Plus the people in front of them, sighing out of amazement. Hum. I must be rather uncivilized and dumb not to understand the meaning behind two, gray painted squares on canvases, but I just don’t see anything in them. Sorry.  Otherwise it is a museum worth visiting. They have some of Picasso’s works and at least for me Max Ernst was a pleasant new acquaintance.

After the museum, I started to get a little peckish. I just needed to find some cash to follow that ambition. That meant me running all over the place, looking for an ATM that would accept my card. Finally I had cash and a restaurant to sit in. I ordered a white beer, which made me feel a little sinful. Sitting there with the half liter glass of pale yellow beer. The beer was followed by the worst wok I have ever eaten.

As for the rest of the city. It breathes the German efficiency. Wide streets and straight angles. Even in the older part of town. The Rein offers a bit of softness to it, with its corners. Over all, the city seems to offer enough things to see and do for a day. Much longer time would be difficult to spend there. It is not a breathtaking experience, but a nice pit stop and apparently has rather nice shopping opportunities!

We returned with one of the Waffles colleagues, both rather tired. Now looking for the weekend. Rupelmonde is hosting a small street party and then there is of course Lokerse feesten, which might need us to pop by.

 

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Germany in September – Nothing else needed

We had been thinking how Germany has been forgotten in our travel destinations for a while. We have been a lot to France and quite some times to Luxembourg as well, but Germany we had skipped for the whole summer.

This error has now been fixed. Photographic evidence of the occurrence can be found here.

We have a national park called the Eifel  right at our border, so that was our heading. Since we had been promised good weather, we were looking forward to sleeping outside and hiking a couple of descent circles. The first challenge we usually meet in Germany, is that camping in the wild is rather prohibited. So instead of camping in the actual, well guarded, national park, we searched a forest close by, pitched our tent in the darkness of the night (into a mud pool) and slept like babies for the coming 12 hours. I always sleep so much better in a tent.

A hotel, where ever you need it to be. A.k.a tent.

In the morning we needed to hurry. I had not been so smart while selecting the walk for the day and we were looking at a good 20 km of forestry walking. So breakfast down the throat and off we went.

There is something really pleasant in the light of an autumn morning. It hugs the things it touches in a special way. Also the nature, when the autumn comes, is full of preparation for winter.

Mushrooms pushing up and apples hanging from the trees, all the plants storing as much sugar into their roots as possible, the atmosphere in the forest is very, hm, busy, in a way.

Stubs of trees killed by flooding. Giving a home to new life.

I was rather happy that we were in just a forest, rather than in the Eifel park. We could enjoy a lot more solitude there on our lake circling trails. The forest was apparently so calm that even beavers had taken it as their home. The walk of the day brought us by three streams that all had beaver colonies alongside them.

Those animals, quite some builders they are! And ambitious too, judging by the size of trees they aim to cut down!

The beauty of beavers work.

We decided to move camp for the next night, just to lessen the change of getting caught. We happened upon a seemingly unused BBQ/playground area, with nice and soft grass and some bushes behind which we could easily hide our tent.

There is happiness in the other end of these legs.

That was the best campsite we have had for a long time. Largely thanks to the amazing sunrise we had the next morning.

Who would not love this.

The early hours kept treating us with wonderful views.

The mist kept lingering in the valleys, refusing to give way to the sun. Lining grass and spider webs with tiny shining pearls.

I think we all have that one kind of a landscape in which you can just breathe out and all the worries and stress and everyday life is vanished. That landscape to me, is there. In the midst of misty fields, softly rising to hills and again rolling down to make a valley. With sun trying to push away the morning chill, piercing holes into the covering clouds. Where could life be better?

It was in any case time for our walk of the day, our sore muscles were not too happy to hear that. A bit more gentle 15 km circle this time, following the shores of the lake called Rursee.

Rursee. Imagine some slager to the background.

We were treated with nice scenery of forests that already had a hint of soon blooming autumn colors, a lot of tasty wild apples and some slager music. Ah, so German.

We decided to leave the gentle notes of slager behind us and head for the hills. They offered us some more views over valleys and to an old German war base of Vogelsang.  Also we found some more apples. Seriously, those things are everywhere.

Apples not shown in the picture. Stop searching for them.

From the field on top of the hill we were walking up, and down, we found some very pleasant stones, that quickly transformed into a huge heard of sheep.

Stones that are sheep.

All of a sudden we just were surrounded by sheep, maybe 500 of them. All going to a destination unknown to us.

Definitely not stones.

There was this one very curious lady who really tried to figure out what and who we were, sitting on top of her field.

Who are you?

She took a good look from different sides and sniffed.

Michel Angelo, anyone?

Checked whether the camera was dangerous or not. Behind her was her little lamb probably thinking that his mother is a fool, acting like that. Which was very strongly also the opinion of one other sheep, who was demandingly stomping her hoof to the ground behind her. Clearly saying that getting close to a strange human cannot be a good idea!

The sheep went and left us dazed and very much amused. We followed the example and started heading to the village where we started from, crossing green fields with the sun in our backs, a September Sunday cannot get much better than that.

We walked through the village, got a few new friends of a horse duo, that was very eagerly bribed with apples.

An apple buys you a friendship. Or two.

The day was topped off with some genuine German cheese cake and beer before driving back home.

And now we are living the Monday again. I think we have a bit too good weekends. The drop back to the everyday is always so huge…