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Tuesday, June 14, 2011


Düsseldorf was our first real stop on our European holiday.  But it took a little while to actually get there.

St. John's to Toronto was about a three hour flight.  Five hour stopover in Toronto.  Nine hour flight (overnight - and now I know why they call it a red-eye) to Munich.  Shuttle to the hoptbanhof (main train station) was forty-five minutes.  Then we caught the train to Düsseldorf.  Everything was going smoothly until the train ground to a halt about a half-hour outside of Munich.  We learned that someone had unfortunately (and intentionally) met their demise on the tracks ahead of us!  This understandably caused a major disruption in train schedules for the day.  So we spent a few more hours than anticipated riding the rails.

But, finally, after 30 hours of travel, we arrived in Düsseldorf (red eyes and all).  And despite the distance we had travelled, a familiar face from home was there to greet us!


Our good friend Aaron was in this part of Germany for a work trip, and added on a few days of vacation when he found out our schedules would coincide.  

It was such a treat to have a tour guide (Aaron had had time to get his bearings in the city already) at this point, because we were slightly bleary, yet determined to get the most out of our first day evening in Europe.  So after a quick freshening up, we hit the streets.

I hadn't really researched the city before arrival - we considered it more of a stop-over/meeting place than an official destination on our itinerary.  For some reason, I had an image of Düsseldorf as a gritty, industrial town.  Not the case!


The city was just beautiful.  Gorgeous.  And it didn't hurt that it was 20+ degrees outside (any of my Atlantic Canadian readers know what a treat that was in early May!).  It had a modern feel with a whimsical undercurrent evidenced by numerous statues, monuments, and interesting building features:




Pretty building


As I mentioned in my intro post, our motivation to travel to this part of the world was to sample the food and the beer.  I'm about to get to the food.  But the very reason we chose Düsseldorf as a meeting point was its unique beer style.  The Altbier, or "old beer" (old in style, not in chronological age!) of Düsseldorf isn't found anywhere else, and is actually the grounds for a rivalry with neighbouring Köln.  I won't give too much of a description here since my husband will be featuring the beer of our trip on his blog.  Suffice it to say, if you are a beer connoisseur, the Altbier alone made it worth the trip.  


But on to the food!  We ate at one of the Altbier breweries (Frankenheim) and the entire menu looked tempting!  

I settled on a traditional German pickled herring dish (very similar flavour to the Solomon Gundy of Atlantic Canada), with bacon-potatoes.  The herring was served chilled in a sour cream sauce and topped with a boiled egg and black olive.  The potatoes were served warm alongside.  It was a lovely dish.  Considering the similar flavour, if I were preparing this at home I might forego the cream component, but it was great as a treat. 

Creamy pickled herring

Mike, relishing his first night in Germany, decided to go with a large helping of sausages (four, to be exact) with a side of sauerkraut and horseradish whipped potatoes.  As is tradition in our little family of two, we routinely sample the other person's meal so I can tell you that this dish was super flavourful and everything you'd expect from a plateful of German sausage.

Sausagefest x 4

The meals hit the spot and set the bar high for the rest of our trip.  Which I will tell you a little more about, next time!


Margie said...Best Blogger Tips

Great pictures and a great adventure !

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