Atlas North: A Tour through Portugal, Morocco, Tunisia, and Algeria
A morning in Dusseldorf exploring some tourist sights including on a long layover.
Dusseldorf, a German state capital sits right on the Rhine River and is famous for its international business, finance, carnival, fine arts, beer, and cartwheeling. Yes, cartwheeling. Apparently this dates back to 1288 when Dusseldorf defeated Cologne in the Battle of Worringen. The townspeople were so ecstatic with the victory that they cartwheeled through the streets.
The seventh most populous city and ranked 6th in the world on Mercer’s 2012 Quality of Living survey, Dusseldorf seems to have a lot to offer!
The business class flights to Dusseldorf were a bit disappointing as they were basically economy seats, but at least the food was good.
Arriving in Dusseldorf Airport I went through immigration and stopped by the information desk for some suggestions. With some maps in hand and an itinerary in mind, I set out around 8 a.m.
From the airport I caught the train to a major hub where I switched to the metro line for the Altstadt stop. It was a quick trip.
Exiting the metro it was pretty cold and early enough that most people were still heading to work. I walked along the Rhine promenade which was deserted except for the occasional jogger or person walking their dog.
Twenty minutes by foot, I arrived at the tallest building in the city.
Rheinturm (Rhine Tower)
This 172.5 m high telecommunications tower dominated the skyline. Built in 1979 – 1981 this concrete tower has a revolving restaurant and an observation deck at the top. Apparently it lights up to display the world’s largest digital clock.
Unfortunately it was closed until 10 a.m. and I didn’t have the patience to wait an hour, so back to the old town.
Altstadt (Old Town)
The old town is famed for the street Bolkerstrasse, the longest bar in the world, due to more than 300 bars and clubs lining the central street. Altbier, the old beer brewed from an unchanged traditional recipe from the 1800s is also a highlight.
At Burgplatz, a beautiful square overlooking the Rhine, stood the tower from an 19th Century castle which now houses the Shipping Museum, SchifffahrtMuseum.
St. Lambertus Basilica a church visible from the square is nearby. One of the oldest landmarks in the city, its foundations date back to the 1100s when a chapel was built. The present church has been rebuilt several times throughout history.
Marktplatz (Market Square)
This square features the hallmark statue of Elector Jan Wellem perched on a horse. Surround the square is the Town Hall, built in 1570-1573. I went into a cafe on the square to warm my freezing fingers and get a boost of energy.
After my break, I headed to the bar street and stopped in Schumacher Alt , the oldest brewery in Dusseldorf serving the same beer recipe since 1838! It was quite delicious and yes, I was drinking before noon.
Time unfortunately was not on my side and I had to head back to the airport. On the way a funny coincidence occurred. I noticed at a train stop that the time on the clock read 12 p.m., which was worrying as I had to be at the airport by then. But as it looked like they were fixing something, I thought the clock must have been broken. Then at the next station the clock read 12:05 p.m. That’s it. I missed my flight. I must have confused the timezones somehow.
I was already planning on reroutes and how to deal with the situation when I arrived at the airport and saw the time was still 11:15! Both clocks were wrong and with the coffee, beer, and lack of sleep I was thoroughly confused.
Whatever. Made it!
Settling into my lay flat seat on Lufthansa, I had a great flight back to Newark. A fitting end to a last minute trip to North Africa!