Visited Andy and Lisa in Dusseldorf for the weekend. Arrived on Thursday evening, and made use of the ICE trains and extensive U-bahn to get withing strolling distance of their flat.
On Friday I walked along a very pleasant and sunny river Rhein into the Old Town. The river here is very wide with langouous bends, carries a heavy traffic of long barges, and the views are backed by some moderate rising modern buildings, the distinctive Rhein tower, and several bridges.
The old town has a cluster of interesting buildings including St Lamberts church, with a twisted spire; the area is criss-crossed by narrow, shop and cafe lined, pedestrian friendly alleys. After a coffee, I walked into a park on the edge of the old town, to see a Henry Moore sculpture. I slowly returned via the river, and sat in the sun warmed park for a while.
In the evening we went out for dinner in a nearby Italian restauant where meals were cooked in front of you while you wait. We then sampled some Fuchsen Alt in a bar.
After the trip to the bakery and breakfast, we biked north from the flat to Kaiserwerth, through pockets of Dusseldorf Fortuna football fans getting read for a game. Beyond the stadium and airport the scene rapidly becomes rural, as we followed a wide track set back from the river, in between fields and the occasional row of deigner houses.
Kasierwerth has a ruined castle on the banks of the Rhein, a large church, and a network of cobbled alleys, leading to its main drag and a small central sqaure. Before resting we headed on a loop further north, then back on some roads to return to the square. Here we lunched on traditional sausage soup. After weathering a brief squall on the way back, we pased through the austere Nord park, including the "Great Reich Exhibition of the Productive People" a controversial series of statues.
With just time to lock out bikes up we jumped on the U-Bahn to Konnigsallee, the designed outlet lined main street and canal. We walked south through town to the Rhein tower, which we ascended to get some slightly misty but impressive arial views. Back on the deck we walked around the media harbour, famous for the Gehry buildings, built without a straightline in sight, and a artwork covered building featuring colourful climbers.
After another walk around town we then visited the K20 art gallery, housed in an smoothlined modern building. This houses a quality collection of 20th century art, including work by Picasso and Dali. Finally we headed back to base, re-visiting to river side to see the now lit-up skyline, tired after a busy day.
On Sunday we took a slightly more relaxed pace, returning to Kaiserwerth on the U-bahn, where we did a loop of paths including in a section along the alternatingly shingle and sandy river-side. We enjoyed a Apfeltorte sitting outside in the sun. Finally in the afternoon we rode bike along the river side to the Rhein tower and back again, dodging pedestrians on the now busy front.