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Germany - August 2019

2019

We had been looking forward to making a long overdue trip to Germany - particularly to look up some old friends, Bernd and Renate. We booked flights from Gatwick with EasyJet to Dusseldorf. The last time we flew was to Cologne, but obviously EasyJet believed that Dusseldorf was their best option for this region of Germany. I must say that their prices were good and, certainly, there was little hassle at the airport. In my view, however the "Red Lion" at the North terminal is not a patch on the "Flying Horse" at the South terminal (the all-day brunch was very much the same though, thankfully).

We were off to Dusseldorf with minimum of delay and had, all-round, a jolly good flight. Bernd (who had recently had a knee operation) had arranged to meet us at the airport - and it was at this point that things became a little silly. We landed in zone "B", almost the first gate, but our luggage came off at the last belt in zone "D", almost as far away as possible. Bernd, seeing this, decided to walk to zone "D" to meet us. He overdid the walking and this effort caused him problems for the whole of our visit - not that that was going to deter Bernd from taking us here, there and everywhere in Nord Rhein / Westphalia!


Breakfast
Russian Cake

2019 Germany - Breakfast.

2019 Germany - Russian Cake

Bernd and Renate have a 17th Century, timber framed, house with a private "apartment" for guests. After an evening catching up on life and, possibly, having a tipple or two, we slept extremely well in this apartment which opened onto a small courtyard. Hearing noises outside, at the unearthly hour of 09:30, I decided to see what was going on. Bernd and Renate are renowned for being great hosts and we found that an enormous buffet (their interpretation of a "Continental" breakfast for guests) had been laid out and was accompanied by the largest "Russian" (don't ask) cake that Renate could possibly have fitted in her oven. Both the breakfast and the cake were delicious, and this breakfast "ceremony" was followed, daily, for the duration of our visit. Fortunately, the weather was as good as the food!

After breakfast, we were driven to the Rhine to a "camping" area at Rheinblick which had a delightful restaurant overlooking the river and where we could enjoy yet more food. We did opt for a sharing platter of "tapas" type dishes, which was more than sufficient - we guessed that, with Bernd and Renate, more food would come later.

Yes indeed - we were not mistaken! The day was rounded off at an Italian restaurant where we caught up with Bernd's daughter and her husband - and had one or two more beverages! It was lovely catching up with Tessa and her husband, Stefan. Janet was overjoyed to learn that Stefan spent almost as much time following Flightradar24 as she did! Anoraks all round for Christmas then!

Restaurant Rheinblick
Bernd and Renate's House

2019 Germany - Restaurant Rheinblick

2019 Germany - Bernd and Renate's house

The next days were taken up with being whisked around Germany, crossing the Rhine several times, visiting quaint towns, markets, fairs and unusual garden centers. We ate a lot, dining in restaurants, friend's houses, ice cream parlours and even department stores! We drank a sufficiency and had a great time with really great people. We even went to a new planetarium in Solingen - the Galileum - where we were treated to an hour's lecture (in German) about the universe and planetary constellations. Absolutely enthralling for German speakers!

We were completely taken by the beauty of the countryside, the variety of towns and history and the friendliness of all the people that we met. We ate Italian food, we ate Greek food, we ate German food and we ate fusion cuisine. We drank soft drinks, we drank beer, we drank wine, we drank spirits and liqueurs. We put on a few pounds (or kilos) and an inch or so (cm or so) on our waistlines but, more importantly, we reinforced our view of wanting to retain strong ties with mainland Europe and the various people.

Zons
Galileum Solingen

2019 Germany - Zons an Rhein

2019 Germany - Galineum Solingen

Balkhauser Kotton
The River Wupper

2019 Germany - Balkhauser Kotton

2019 Germany - River Wupper

We spent a marvelous time catching up with friends, sightseeing, and just relaxing. This was a truly wonderful break. The only difficult bit was being unable to re-charge drained batteries. Our friends wore us out!

We had booked our return flights at a reasonable time and Bernd drove us to Dusseldorf, where we checked in promptly and headed through security and got some light refreshment. I checked the EasyJet flights and noted that it was scheduled "on time" and the gate had closed at Gatwick for our incoming flight, so we went to the departure gate, where everything was normal. We started to worry when the BA flight immediately before us was delayed for a significant time and noted that our plane was still on the tarmac at Gatwick.

To cut a very long story short, our flight never arrived in Dusseldorf. Indeed it landed some 2 1/2 hours late - but at Cologne! Eventually, transport was arranged, and we were bussed, with little information from EasyJet staff, to Cologne from where we eventually departed, almost 5 hours behind schedule. Needless to say, our pre-arranged transport was not at Gatwick and we had to get our son out of bed to pick us up - finally arriving at home, some 6 hours late at almost 5 am. Oh the joys of international travel!


The Best of the Wurst
Greek Reastaurant "Mykonos"

2019 Germany - The Best of the Wurst

2019 Germany - Light Vegetarian Food at "Mykonos" Restaurant


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