Dusseldorf Travel Blog› entry 1 of 1 › view all entries
April 18th, 2008 – by: TheTostiMonster
After spending an extra 90 minutes at Heathrow Terminal 5 due to delays, my next challenge was getting from DUS (the Dusseldorf airport that's actually in Dusseldorf) to the city centre. Getting a ticket took three attempts and about 45 mins, compared with a 12 minute journey. UK trains may be slow and unreliable, but at least you can get on them.
I caught up with Lauro outside a McDonalds in Altstadt (old town) which, it turns out, is the social centre of the universe. I had been under the impression that only about five people would show up on the Friday, so I was quite surprised to find about 30 people already there.
After some food we set about finding a place that would let 30 people in at the same time. Put that way, it sounds difficult, and it was. Eventually we settled on a place that we ended up taking over, as one-by-one the locals either quit or got fed up of us. It was notable for a few things - ultra-small beer glasses (200ml max - I've seen bigger shot glasses) for one. Beer mats, which were unremarkable in and of themselves but which ended up as weapons of aerial warfare as closing time loomed.
To say I felt like crap on the Saturday would be a serious understatement. I'm not sure how, but Dusseldorf managed to give me pretty much the worst hayfever I've ever had at this time of year. Throw in a cold, the previous night and a rather taxing previous week (my job is great but not particularly relaxed at the best of times) and I was pretty much done for. I did manage a rendezvous with the rest of group (taking our size to over 50 people), a tour of the riverside area and dinner, including a fantastic steak. But as many photos will testify, I wasn't in great shape and called it an early one. Another member of the group was in even worse shape and ended up in hospital, but fortunately was not seriously ill. Apparently it was a great night, but you'll have to read about that elsewhere...
Quite a few people stopped around for the Sunday, which finally saw some sunshine and was pretty relaxed, with most people hanging around Bar am Kaiserteich until early afternoon. Then the group split up - I went for a wander with some of the Dutchies, eventually going up Rheinturm (TV tower). This is well worth doing given good visibility, as the view is amazing. But we didn't rate their restaurants much, and ended up retiring to Subway for a bite. I left early to make my flight and was surprised to run into one of the other London TBs at the gate. It was a very turbulent flight home, but I did at least make it through T5 unscathed this time.
Overall impressions? Well, Dusselforf is never going to be the most exciting place in the world. It's probably not the most exciting place in NRW. But it is a safe, clean, modern city with great transport, locals that are mostly friendly and speak good English, and a worthy TB meetup location. With some fantastic organising by Lauro, I had a great time with a great bunch of people and I really look forward to keeping in touch with them, and going to another one.
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