This was my first visit to Germany, I was lucky enough to have a trouble-free journey to Dusseldorf: Edinburgh to London Heathrow then on to Dusseldorf. There was a little excitement on the runway at Edinburgh Airport. We taxied out to the runway and stopped at right-angles to the runway itself – if we looked left and right we could see the entire length of the runway. The captain announced a brief delay and hinted that we should look out to the left of the aircraft…where we saw a couple of military jets bobbing their way through the skies. The captain went on to tell us that they were “low on fuel”.
Arrival in Dusseldorf was remarkably similar to my previous ventures to mainland Europe, most notably Vienna and Amsterdam. The efficiency of the German railway system was obvious from the moment I set foot on the platform. Vandalism of trains in Europe seems to be kept to a minimum, perhaps this is because the Europeans keep their trains moving as much as possible, a trick that we should pay credence to here in UK. And what about the prices? I paid 2€ each way for a 10 minute train ride from Dusseldorf airport to Dusseldorf HBF. How much did I pay to get from Inverkeithing to Edinburgh Airport? £4.50, each way…nearly a tenner.
I enjoyed dinner and drinks with Dan (aka Lennybacon). We drank “alt” beer, brewed locally. No pints were available, instead, beer was delivered in small glasses. An attentive barman ensured our thirsts were quenched, as soon as our glasses were nearly empty, he brought over two more small glasses. A nice trick, the beer was always cold – think about the latter (bottom) half of a pint, it’s starting to warm up. And small glasses mean we actually drank less – “just one more pint” often brings with it an excess of liquid!
Dusseldorf sits on the river Rhine. I was fortunate enough to be given a very brief tour of the Altstadt (Old town including the river front) by the NRW06 conference host, Lenny Bacon. They’ve done a super job making the river front a social hub. There’s even a fake beach, with sand! In the distance we could the cranes dismantling what was one of Europe’s largest roller-coasters. This was a shame as I do like roller-coasters and would have been “up for it”.
Anyway, we had a reasonably early night – as mentioned earlier in this post, Dan had informed me that I was now presenting two session! Sleep was in order!