Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Oct 12 - Dusseldorf and Cologne Germany

According to the cruise description: Spend the morning cruising towards Düsseldorf, a cosmopolitan city which is one of Germany's most impressive business centres. Upon arrival you may wish to join an optional tour, taking in Düsseldorf and Cologne, with its imposing Gothic Cathedral. The ship will continue to Cologne.

We opted for the Dusseldorf and Cologne tour. We spent the morning cruising and then we met at 2:30 to board buses for a quick drive to Dusseldorf with a guide providing commentary.

The boat continued and would meet us at 7:30 when she arrived in Cologne. Passengers not taking the tour would have the next five hours to relax aboard until it arrived in Cologne.

The city is famous for its nightlife, carnival, events, shopping and for fashion and trade fairs like the Boot Messe (one of the world's best trade fairs for boats and watersports) and Igedo (world leader in fashion). Every year, more than 4 million people visit the Kirmes fun fair which runs for 9 days in the summer.

Our first stop is the the Rhine Tower, Rheinturm simply towers above everything. At 240.5 meters, not as high as the Television Tower in Berlin and not even half the size of the Eiffel Tower in Paris, it is the highest building of the city. It is a windy overcast day as we tour around the tower.

At the edge of the canal near the tower is an amazing view of some interesting office/hotel buildings in a new landmark area called Media Harbor.  

There are buildings constructed by Frank O. Gehry, Claude Vasconi or David Chipperfield. Mainly the Gehry buildings form the face of the quarter.

One of the buildings is decorated with 28 giant plastic figures, known locally as Flossies, "climbing" the side.
Then there's one that is the Colorium Building by William Alsop.

The Rheinhafen centre of arts and the media by Frank O. Gehry (USA) consists of three contrasting building complexes and appears like a gigantic sculpture. The different materials chosen give each complex its own identity. The outer material of the central building reflects the buildings on its northern and southern side, thus creating a link between the three.

The next building is the Stadttor (city gate) seat of the State Chancellery NRW and office of the Minister President.

The extraordinary building consists of two rhomboidal parallel glass towers with 16 floors and 3 connecting attic floors. The two gate towers are arranged such that one has an all-round view from inside. Due to the double glass facade and a completely new air-conditioning and ventilating system, incidental expenses are 70% lower than with conventional full air-conditioning. The natural ventilation of the inner space of the facade creates a climatic buffer and supplies fresh air to the offices. Even with extreme summer heat, room temperatures remain pleasant due to a cooling system extracting cold air from the soil .

We got back on the bus and drove to the old historical centre of the city called Alstadt .


Battle or Worringen - A beautiful, yet graphic monument to the foundation of the city of Duesseldorf at the Burgplatz in Old Town Aldst Duesseldorf. It was donated by the 'Duesseldorfer Jonges' (an association taking care of local traditions) on the occasion of the 700th city jubilee in the year of 1988 depicting the Battle of Worringen and was designed by sculptor Bert Gerresheim.

City Hall

Statue situated in from of city hall of Jan Wellem (1658 - 1716).

The inscriptions translate as follows:
On the left: 'Johann Wilhelm', the Count Palatine on the Rhine, the Lord High Steward and Elector of the Holy Roman Empire, the Duke of Bavaria, Jülich, Cleve, Berg, the highly meritorious Prince who has enlarged the city and founded the art gallery'
On the right: 'Erected by the grateful citizens in 1711. Base renewed in 1831'.
Düsseldorf's landmark is considered one of the most beautiful equestrian statues north of the Alps.

Jester Statue Honoring Carnival

Since 1862, the top-fermenting house brewery UERIGE has been brewing excellent beers right in the heart of Düsseldorf’s old city centre, the Altstadt. It goes without saying that these beers are brewed according to the ‘Reinheitsgebot’, the Purity Law dating back to 1516.

Back on the bus and we head to Cologne. It is a short drive considering that the boat would take five hours to reach Cologne. We arrive around 5:30 and have a couple of hours to visit the city before the boat arrives.
We are divided into small groups and provided with a local guide.

In the Middle Ages, Cologne used to be the biggest city north of the Alps, easily outstripping Paris or London in grandeur, and the cathedral was its pride and joy – even though it wasn't finished for 700 years. Today, it’s an incredible sight, the twin dark spires looming over the Rhine and visible for miles…

The sun may be shining but it was extremely windy as we stood listening to the guide. 

We had a look around the splendid cathedral interior; it was easy to imagine the medieval clergy arriving for services with the townsfolk centuries ago. 

We continue with our tour.

Our guide takes us to a cologne museum to warm up. Who knew that cologne actually came from Cologne??

He then suggests we should try a Cologne beer.

The waterfront district of Cologne is busy and full of winding old lanes, which are filled with atmospheric old brauhausers or beer halls, many of which date back centuries. They’re famous for the Cologne beer, a crisp, tasty brew called kölsch, which is served in thimble-sized glasses that hold only 0.2 litres (about 6.75 fluid ounces). The waiters rush around the beer halls with a dozen or so glasses on special trays, handing them out to thirsty drinkers (one advantage of the small glasses is that the beer never gets warm…!

Visitors might not know that there is rivalry between the citizens of Düsseldorf and their neighbours in Cologne. So never ever order a “Kölsch” (a light beer brewed in Cologne) in Düsseldorf. If you do, some people might become very unfriendly.

Finally we are released by our guide as the boat has arrived on time at 7:30 in Cologne.

In Cologne, we’re moored just a few feet from where we had our beer.

We head to the boat to add some warm layers and head back to town with Andy and Joyce for some local food. Others ate on board.
We found a cute local restaurant and had such a an enjoyable meal with lots of chatter that we almost forgot we had to be back on board by 9:45. Luckily Andy looked at his watch at 9:10 and we scurried to get the bill and get back on board.


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