I started my day as any other, tired, stressed, but ready to get through my five day work stretch with a smile. It wasn’t until I signed onto Facebook that I realized the next 48hrs of my life would be completely different than I’d imagined.
What I’d imagined: I’d get off work at 10pm, go home, sleep, wake up early, and pretend to work out when in all actually I’d be lying on a yoga mat cruising Pinterest. Then that evening I’d board a plane to London, see my darling friend Caitlin for the seventh time and everything would be chill.
What happened: I signed onto Facebook while taxiing in after a long work day to see that a flight attendant friend had posted a message that read something like this “I’m stuck on the Tarmac in Miami and I’m probably going to get removed from my Düsseldorf trip tomorrow due to company legality. Does anyone have a later international trip they’d like to trade?” HI! OVER HERE! PICK ME! I obnoxiously blew up Mark’s phone and said I’d switch him trips even though my trip was a shorter layover and only left a couple hours later than his. It was worth a shot. Either way he was getting stuck in Miami and he wasn’t going to Düsseldorf so as a going away present, he switched me.
This is the part where I freaked the fuck out, stopping in the middle of the terminal to try and do a trip swap before he was taken off the trip all together and Düsseldorf went to some lucky person on call instead.
Luckily my fingers move hella fast, and I did a little cheer in victory. I immediately called my travel companion Michael, who like most people couldn’t go to Germany with an 18 hour notice. I then called my trusty, dusty, crusty sidekick Andie and convinced her that she didn’t need two days off, she needed to go to Germany. First she said no, then I woke up to an eight am text that said “See you at the airport”. She’s a babe.
Fast forward however many hours it took to get to Germany and we got into our hotel rooms with twin beds, took a three hour power nap, and ventured into the rainy weather for a mini day adventure. We walked half of the way along the river which acted as a makeshift park but was mostly dirt and a scarce amount of trees. You could see the downtown from the distance and once realizing we were only halfway there after a 30 min walk, we hopped in a taxi.
Lesson 82: Düsseldorf does not have Uber. They have another app called MyTaxi that is basically like Uber but for Germany and some other European countries. Because of this, hailing a taxi without the app took some time.
Once we got to the cute city area we had the taxi driver drop us off at the nearest corner and thanked him kindly for his hospitality and jokes. The streets were mostly walking streets leaving little room for cars and the restaurants, bars, and stores were nearly stacked on top of one another. Due to the rain and it being a Wednesday afternoon there weren’t that many people roaming about but we definitely weren’t the only ones.
Our first stop was this bar that blared loud German metal music, the inside was darker than me, the walls we painted black and red and it was nearly empty. We noticed that although we didn’t see customers, we also didn’t see an employee. This was because she was outside sitting at a table full of mildly biker looking dudes and having a beer herself.
We sat at the high top tables beneath the umbrella in front of the establishment and she graciously greeted us with a smile and face of piercings. Yes. We ordered our beers blindly and people watched for nearly an hour. We saw races of all kinds, hipsters, bikers, a guy in a pirate suit and enjoyed the company of a relaxing weekday while sporadically abroad.
After a few beers we were more than ready to eat so we strolled down half a block to a brewery and grill that I’d looked up prior to leaving the hotel, Uerige Obergärige Hausbrauerei. They only brew one beer, their signature Alt, and had a glorious selection of meats and sauerkraut. I ordered just that. Oh my god, was this meal delicious! I received a kielbasa drowned in thick cut sauerkraut with a side of garlic mashed potatoes and a tall beer. Life was good.
Our waiter was funny, asked where we were from (was it that obvious?) and then proceeded at an attempt to set us up with two male waiters by the door. We politely exchanged numbers and entertained the idea of them “showing us around” but decided today was not the day we wanted to become Liam Neeson’s daughter from Taken, and considering he’s not our father, we took a pass. Either way, they were nice and then gawked at me when I said my favorite city was Barcelona.
“Pfft!” he spit, “we Germans don’t like the Spanish.” News to me! I could never say anything negative about either culture so we giggled and let him speak his mind.
Once we finished we toured the city for a couple more hours stopping in a few stores here and there until the jet lag hit us and we were ready to head back to the hotel. We talked, played obnoxious music, and then looked up a place were I could go to get some beer to bring back home and then grab some dinner.
This. Was. A. Chore.
We looked up this burger place that had great Yelp reviews and walked there. Once we got there the young and clearly exhausted cashier informed us they only took cash. He vaguely pointed in the direction of an ATM and we said we’d be right back. We then searched for nearly 20 minutes walking back and forth two times over, and passing a building with my name on it, before finally finding the ATM.
We withdrew money, walked back to the burger place and the little shit said they closed about three minutes ago. Why he didn’t tell us they were closing soon when we went there in the first place so that maybe we’d rush a little more to find an ATM? I don’t know. But we were hungry enough to be annoyed. We chalked that as a loss, went into a convenient store to buy several single beers to shove into our suitcases, and ordered food from the hotel. It was just what we needed to pass out in time for a decent nights sleep.
Düsseldorf, like many places in Europe, was the perfect getaway. It was gloomy like Seattle, had narrow winding roads like Boston, and had the people feel of the U.K. So many parts of Dusseldorf reminded me of other places I’d already been helping me enjoy the familiarity of the city. I liked it a lot and though I don’t for see myself rushing to go back, I wouldn’t mind working a trip there every now and again.