Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Düsseldorf an einem Tag

This past Saturday I decided (well, I actually decided on Friday but I was traveling on Saturday) I was going to visit Düsseldorf, an interesting city with history and shopping, high street shopping. So, originally, I had planned to see the following three sights during my visit to Düsseldorf, but of course, I only wound up seeing one, the story will follow.


MedienHafen is in the middle!
It's always a good idea to begin any city exploration with an overview of said city, be it a tour of the most famous sights or a literal view from above. In Düesseldorf, you have the opportunity to view the city and it's harbor from the Rhine Tower. From a height of 168m (172m), an ideal view of the city and countryside is available.Schloss und Park BenrathTo Benrath Palace and Park Benrath Palace were originally built as a summer residence and hunting lodge for the Elector Carl Theodor and his wife. The ensemble is now in its artistic unity of buildings and the 60 acres of gardens. The main lock (corps de logis) conveys with furniture, porcelain, paintings etc., a sense of the court life of the second Half of the 18th Century.
In the east wing of the castle you can find the "Museum of European Garden History" while in the west wing houses the "Museum of Natural History."

Barbarossa-Pfalz in KaiserswerthAbout 20 minutes from the center of the city, one can begin their trip to the Middle Ages. Located on the idyllic edge of the Rhine, the picturesque ruins of the castle of the legendary Emperor Frederick Barbarossa can be found.The Palatinate - once one of the most important castles on the Rhine - was extended by Emperor Barbarossa, after the Rhine toll moved from the Netherlands to Kaiserswerth and needed a fortress dominating the Rhine.

Kaiserswerth has much more to offer: The St. Suitbertus Basilica and the Mother House of the Order of Deaconesses, the Theodor Fliedner in the 19th Century was founded here in Kaiserswerth. And finally, you will experience the courtyard one of the best beer gardens on the Rhine with a magnificent view of current and Lower Rhine landscape.

I mean, all of those sound awesome, right?!

Well, plans didn't quite go that way. I had to open my big mouth and invite the Irish boy who lives in the B.I.B. to join me on the trip. Realizing that he probably didn't want to get up early, I suggested we leave at 9:30 AM but of course, he insisted that we leave no later than 7:30 AM. OK, fine, just don't complain, deal?

Of course, he didn't want to get up then complained that we got there too early. We rode our bikes to the train station, locked them up and went in. We were early for our train and once it did arrive and we were on our way, he slept on the train, I just read a book on my iPod and didn't have a care in the world.

When we arrived in Düsseldorf, I guess I expected to have it like any other time I visited a city and that we could just wander for a bit, not worrying about where we were going or what to see first. I like to leave that for last when I'm in a rush to see it all in a few hours before the train leaves. But he had a different idea.

He lead us, quite poorly might I add (even with a GPS we got lost multiple times.. I tried pointing out that there were signs telling us where to go, but he took charge so I just relaxed and went for the ride) to Ko, the most famous shopping street in the city. Again, these were "high street" shops as the Londoners would call them. I'm talking Armani, Gucci, Guess, Burburry, the like... Needless to say, we just walked on the street a bit and didn't even bother to go in most of the shops.

We stopped for "brunch"..? because he was hungry and I decided we probably wouldn't stop later so I ate some too. It wasn't bad by any measure but I think it was too early to eat it. While walking back in the city, he said "well, two of the things you want to see are in the north of the city and one is in the south." so I had to choose.

I told him I really wanted to go to the  Barbarossa-Pfalz in Kaiserswerth because that sounded coolest but he told me "it's just some ruins" so, defeated, I settled on the castle.

We stopped to buy WelcomeCards from the city which allowed us free travel on the buses, trams, and the underground too, which cost us €9 each for a 24 hour pass. These passes also allowed us free entrance to some museums and discounted admittance to others. Just look at all these discounts, and those are just the museums!
  • Aquazoo-Löbbecke Museum Düsseldorffreier Eintritt)
  • Goethe-Museum Düsseldorf (freier Eintritt)
  • Heinrich-Heine-Institut (freier Eintritt)
  • Hetjens-Museum/Deutsches Keramikmuseum (freier Eintritt)
  • K20 Kunstsammlung Nordrhein-Westfalen am Grabbeplatz (ermäßigter Eintritt)
  • K21 Kunstsammlung Nordrhein-Westfalen im Ständehaus (ermäßigter Eintritt)
  • Stiftung Schloß und Park Benrath,  Museum für Europäische Gartenkunst, Corps de Logis, Museum für Naturkunde (ermäßigter Eintritt)
  • Stadtmuseum Landeshauptstadt Düsseldorf (freier Eintritt in die Sonderausstellungen)
  • Theatermuseum Düsseldorf (freier Eintritt in die Ausstellungen)
  • Filmmuseum Düsseldorf (freier Eintritt)
  • Neanderthal Museum (1,- € Ermäßigung für Einzelpersonen, 2,- € Ermäßigung für Familien)
  • Museum Kunstpalast (ermäßigter Eintritt)
  • KIT - Kunst im Tunnel (freier Eintritt)
  • Kunstverein für die Rheinlande und Westfalen (freier Eintritt)
  • Kunsthalle Düsseldorf (freier Eintritt)
  • SchifffahrtMuseum Düsseldorf (ermäßigter Eintritt)
  • Elvis Presley Ausstellung Düsseldorf (ermäßigter Eintritt)

  • Haus des Karnevals (ermäßigter Eintritt)
  • KAI 10 | ARTHENA FOUNDATION (freier Eintritt)
We went back to the train station, hopped on a train and went to the next village over, for lack of better words. When we arrived, we didn't know where to go though so we waited on a tram to come and we just sort of hopped on and hoped for the best. In no time at all we arrived at the castle and got off to go in. We had to buy tickets first and a combined ticket for both museums and a tour of the palace only cost us €7.50 with our card, it would have been three times as much without it!

From the Nature Museum
Fountain in front of the castle
We started by going to the nature museum first and it took most of the time necessary for the hour we were waiting for our castle tour to begin. Of course, there was no pictures allowed in any of these museums but, then again when has that stopped me? I couldn't take any inside the castle though since we had a guide. 

The castle from a differen view
When we got out of the first museum, we went to our meeting point to go on our tour of the castle, I was a bit surprised that once inside the castle we had to wear slippers over our shoes, but when we were inside and I saw the floors, I wasn't as surprised.

Nearly everything was original, down to the fabric wall coverings! But those slippers were dangerous, I could see myself getting into a lot of trouble with those on. I kept slipping, sliding, gliding all over the place. I couldn't help but fancy having the place to myself to explore in those shoes. Though as he pointed out, I would probably rack up quite the debt.

When we were finished with the tour, we exited and went to the gardening museum. I wasn't expecting it to be as big as it was but it took us a lot longer to get through it than the first one and finally at 2:30 PM we had left.

Lots of interesting things in the second museum, let me tell you. I mean check out these two images alone....

We went back into the inner city and looked around a bit, but the novelty of us traveling together had long ago worn off. We decided to stop in a pub so I could try some Alt, a traditional beer that the city is known for and then we could leave and get home, much earlier than planned.

We walked from the pub back toward the train station and made a stop along the Rhine river where people had been longing all day. This is also where I got my first view of the MedienHafen.

We then made our way back to the train station, hopped on a train, and I think we were not happy that we could put in our headphones and ignore the other blissfully for a few hours.

Back in Paderborn, we got on our bikes, went home and said goodbye. So much for wanting to date me! I guess I just need to travel with them from now on, it gets them off my back so much quicker!

I had planned to sleep as soon as I got home but I wound up running into some people I hadn't seen in a few weeks with all my traveling and we decided to go out to a shisha bar for a bit. Shisha is hookah by the way, for all my American friends.

While there we talked about our recent travels and our upcoming ones and of course smoked our shisha. After a few hours, we left and went back to the B.I.B. where there was a large party going on that we joined.

Not in the mood to party? Four straight shots of vodka, Polish vodka, should do the trick, right? Heck no. I still wasn't in the mood to party so I went back to my room and went to bed.

I literally didn't get out of bed on Sunday except for bathroom breaks, and some food, so I won't bother you with more details.

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