24 March 2012

Düsseldorf: bunless bratwurst, bunnies in a stroller, and a bomb

My cousin and I hopped on a train over the border to Germany on Monday. The ride was painless (just short of three hours), our hotel was fancy (and free, thanks to her Hyatt employee perks!), and the weather was shiny and bright. We spent the entire first day walking around the newly built downtown area of the city, both propagating a growing feeling of regret that we'd chosen a really. boring. city to tour around. 

Just when our hope was down to a trickle that we'd find anything photograph- or attention-worthy, we turned onto a small street that fed into a sprawling daily outdoor market and into the old section of town. It was like we'd entered a different city, full of altbier and mustard and pastries and schnitzel and bratwurst and cobblestones and gorgeous buildings, exactly what we came for.

I suspected that a section of the city had been bombed out in WWII; I likened it a few times to Rotterdam, which has only a small neighborhood retaining its original aesthetic.
I read after we got home that 64 percent of the city was destroyed by strategic British air raids, authorized one day after the German obliteration of Rotterdam's architecture. I know so little about history that it felt like I'd earned some sort of Girl Scout badge for my surmising. 

In retrospect, I wish I'd taken more photos that first day so I could put them side by side, but I was a wee bit disheartened and didn't pull out my camera until the second day.

Things got interesting on the way home. The one bus running to the main train station was, well, not running, so we got a taxi. Then, our train was cancelled. And every other one that day. All the info desk man could tell me was that we'd have to take another train through another border crossing. "Why?" you ask? Oh, I did. 

What I got in return was "bomb," and then he formed his mouth and hands into an explosion. I've never minded language barriers, until right then. I told my cousin she might not be able to fly out the next day, since said bomb had something to do with Amsterdam, where the airport is.When we got to the border, we chatted with another re-routed passenger, from Spain, whose German was apparently much better than ours. 

A WWII was discovered along the tracks, and trains were cancelled until it could be dismantled and removed. Apparently this happens a lot in Europe; something like 600 tons of them are found every year in Germany alone. It wasn't even in the news. 

Also, there was a couple in our train car with a stroller. Full of bunnies. Well, two of them. They were wearing harnesses and noshing on a Belgian endive. The bunnies, not the couple. It was too dark to take a photo, but I really tried. And although the shot is of utmost importance to me, I do have a code of ethics that prevents me from deploying a flash in bunnies' eyes.


Ridiculously classy lady
I guess I have a thing for butchers.
Nice color juxtaposition
Sparkly souveniers
I love her outfit; I think he does, too.
Gentleman on the Rhine
Quirky architecture
Reflective apartments
Hook and lines
Ms. Mannequin, little Miss Mannequin
Nuts for Walnüsse
A brush for... everything?
Tulips away from home
This guy was fantastically silly!
School teacher rabbit, not in a stroller
Crows in a row
Multi-generational bonding over a rote auto 
I'm not exactly sure what this means, but I loved the sign.
Makeup artist
Wooden legs, all around
I never thought I'd say fabulous and wiener schnitzel in the same sentence, but Brauerei Füchschen proved me profoundly incorrect. Their Füchschen Altbier was something to brag about, too.
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