Tuesday, 9 July 2013

Ridiculously super awesome European driving adventure – Düsseldorf and the Altbier

July 1

Guten tag!

Summer holidays. You might get a couple of weeks which you have to clear with your boss. Of the many perks associated with being a teacher, the long summer break is certainly one of them, particularly if you work in an international school. These finish earlier than state schools in the UK, meaning that I get two months off before moving to Prague to start my next job. Wahoo!

So what to do? Two months is quite a long time. Hannah and I decided to go on a little adventure through one of Europe’s biggest, and arguably most influential countries – Germany. The home of sausage, beer and Heidi Klum. I hope we find her…

We are going to be doing this in a car. Not a particularly big car. A Ford B-Max, which possesses a one litre engine. We are still debating the name of our vehicle, which changes from ‘The Hoff’ to ‘Maxine’ on an hourly basis. If anyone would like to offer an alternative, please feel free to write it in the comments below!

The Hoff was being collected in Düsseldorf. It is important that the city’s name is spelt correctly – without the dots, apparently the meaning of the name changes to ‘city of fools’. From our brief wander around the city’s aldstadt, I would certainly say that that is not a justifiable name.

Situated on the banks of the River Rhein, Düsseldorf has a charming feel to it that reflects its modest size in comparison to the other big German cities. It is very green, particularly in a small area around a rather nice building on the outskirts of the centre. We tried to go in, only to be told that an official dinner was being held and that we…well, couldn’t.

It was interesting to see that drinking in public is very legal, judging from the number of people lying on the grassy knoll adjacent to the river with a bottle of German beer in their hand. As for the beer, German regions brew their own which is championed by the local population. Düsseldorf’s is called Altbier, and is a dark, hoppy beer which is very drinkable. It is served in small, tall glasses which give off an air of sophistication, though you can get a bigger glass if you are specific.

After a German evening of beer, sausage and a delectable pork shank, we are ready to move. Düsseldorf is a lovely city, and it would have been nice to spend more time there. However, Germany has much to offer, and we were soon off to visit the city’s arch rival. Clue? The name suggests it is the origin of a popular male grooming product…

Love you all,

Herr Matt

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