Donnerstag, 30. August 2007
Once he gets a little more relaxed and well-adjusted I think he'll like it. He's going to get a lot of walks around here. I've already taken him down to the Rhein paths, which he likes, but we have to keep an eye on him near the river. He loves to go on the beaches and into the water though (I keep him on the leash, Mom!).
Yesterday was our big adventure into the Altstadt! He got to go on the streetcar/train, which he has never been on before. He was really well-behaved, but he's so big that he can't help but be in the way. When we got to Heinrich-Heine-Allee, the main train station near the Altstadt, the only way up to the street level was via escalator. Shadow didn't like that so much. He crouched as low as possible without actually lying down and slowed everyone up behind us. It was funny to watch, but I felt bad at the same time because I knew he was scared. Aside from pulling a bit, he was much more well-behaved than I expected, considering every restaurant in the Altstadt had tables and food outside. We'll have to experiment and take him to dinner with us once. I don't think his table manners are good enough though. All the German dogs sit quitely at their owners feet while they eat. Shadow would be whining and barking at us for food.
Jenny and I have been on our own for the past couple of nights while Tim is in Belgium. We went to the Berliner-Imbiss last night for dinner for some German junk food. Instead of going for a burger around here, you get Currywurst. It's sausage doused in curry powder and ketchup. It's better than it sounds. This is an oh-so-attractive picture of Jenny with currywurst. For dessert we went for Spaghetti Eis - pretty cool. It is ice cream that comes out of a machine in strands like spaghetti, is covered in fresh strawberry sauce (to look like marinara sauce) and sprinkled with white chocolate (to look like grated parmesan cheese). I think I still like the Erdbeerbechers better, but it was worth a try.
Tonight Jenny has cello, which should be interesting since we do not have a car to get it to school and it looks like it is going to rain. That's it for now. Talk to you soon!
Dienstag, 28. August 2007
Near the Kö is the Düsseldorf Hauptbahnhof (or main train station) and the Altstadt. If you can’t tell yet, the Altstadt is my favorite area of the city. It is the part of the city with the stereotypical old German architecture and tiny, cobblestone streets. I’m not sure if it is completely authentic since most of Düsseldorf was flattened in WWII, but it doesn’t really matter because it still looks cool. They also refer to the Altstadt as “Der Längste Theke der Welt,” or the longest bar in the world. Within only a couple of city blocks there are 260 bars! There's even a "White Bear Bar" in the picture - anyone recognize that? Düsseldorf is home to the traditional Altbier. It is darker then a pilsner and outsells pilsners here by something like 6 to 1. It’s good. Jenny’s sports teams at ISD are actually called the “Alts.” You can find virtually every type of food you could want in the Altstadt, with the exception of Mexican food. They’ve got German, French, Argentinean, Thai, Moroccan, Indian, Italian, Turkish, etc. Keeping with the trend in
A couple hundred yards down the Rhein from the Altstadt is the Hafen (literal translation harbour), which is what it is. The harbour used to have a more industrial focus, but as Düsseldorf has transformed into a more fashion and arts-centered city the Hafen has been reglorified. It is now the “new money” center of town. It is filled with modern architecture, trendy restaurants, and upscale hotels. All of the boats in the harbour now are personal yachts, rather than commercial ships.
More recently . . . a few days ago we were invited over to my dad’s friend Mel’s. They live over in what could most appropriately be called Expat Row here in Kaiserswerth. Four families from Minnesota came over for cake and cookies. It was strange for there to be four families that lived within 10 miles of each other in the
I planned on leaving Mel’s early to head towards the city to play Ultimate Frisbee. I figure that will be a good way to meet people around here. At least I’m hoping there will be people my own age and that I will be forced to speak German a little more. Kaiserswerth is nice, but it is very much a family town – lots of younger kids. Anyways, I did leave early but found out I had the Frisbee time wrong. It had started two hours earlier than I thought, so I’ll have to wait ‘til next week L. Luckily I hadn’t left the house yet, so hung around and made dinner – something other than Tim’s cycle of pasta/pizza/sandwiches for once, which was very nice.
As long as it does not rain this week I should have stuff to keep me busy. If it rains I’m housebound because I don’t have a car and don’t want to ride a bike in the rain. I’m hoping for sun, which can be scarce at times here in “Drizzledorf.” The climate here seems to be what you would expect in
Other information if I haven’t talked to you in a while . . .
I’m going to try and go to Oktoberfest in
I’ll be back in the states (
I’m training for the Athens Marathon on November 4th. It’ll be my first marathon (barring any further injuries)!
Let me know if you want to visit or want to plan a trip somewhere cool! I’ll try and be in touch a little more often from now on! I hope everyone is doing well!!
Kaiserswerth also has one of the 10 best restaurants in all of
Kaiserswerth looks like the quintessential German village. It is actually a stop on
Our house in
No. 26 Curt-Beckmann Strasse is a duplex. We live in the front part. My room is actually part of the glass pyramid you can see on the top level.
Jörg, Elise, and Lisa are our neighbors on the other half. Jörg is really into architecture and had the house built. It is based on the Richard Meier style of architecture for anyone who knows it. Our neighbors are really cool. Jörg works for a family-owned beverage distribution company. I don’t know exactly what he does, but I do know that it means he always has a lot of beer at his house. And he likes to share it. Elise is originally from
They had us over for a traditional Brazilian dinner a few nights after I got into town. It was reaaaalllly good! I don’t know exactly what everything was, but I would have it all again. One of the dishes we had reminded me of croquetas (I know I butchered the spelling, but I’m talking about those Spanish-fried-ham-things that Murph and Robyn make). For dessert we had sushi and caviar and many more servings of wine and beer. We started comparing music collections, too, and spent the rest of the night listening to The Doors and Jack Johnson.
Back to the house . . . this is the kitchen and front entrance. Notice that there is a glass wall in the middle of the room. I haven’t walked or run into it yet. Surprising, I know. But it’s coming soon. And here’s the living room. My dad joked with the relocation agent and said that he was going to put a basketball hoop on each end of the room so that we could get a full-court game going. She was not amused. We’ve got a decent deck and backyard with a gate that opens up to a path on the Rhein. We can see the river from the yard when there aren’t too many leaves on the trees!
These are a few shots of the
If you take the path that begins at the end of our street, within minutes you can see the LTU stadium, which is where the Düsseldorf Fortuna play (the soccer/football team). I really want to go to a game!! I’ve heard tickets are hard to get, so I’ll see what I can do. Just going to the Altstadt (“old city” – more to be explained later) to watch the game in a bar would be a blast. On my first or second day in town we passed through the Altstadt while a game was being played. It is crazy down there!! Everyone was dressed in red and white, with scarves, jerseys, etc. and the bars put big-screen TVs out on the street. It was a really fun atmosphere!
Jenny is in her third week at ISD (the International School of Düsseldorf) and likes it so far. She has 13 classes – too much for me. She’s taking two languages – French and German – and even Irish dancing. She’s playing soccer and basketball at ISD and seems to be one of the best athletes they have. The school is pretty small and isn’t exactly a sports powerhouse. In terms of basketball, she’s probably the best the school has got. Basketball isn’t very popular for girls over here. And she’s on the varsity soccer team even though she’s only thirteen! I’m trying to convince her to join the local German leagues, but it’s a little scary for her since she can’t speak the language. She would get so much better at soccer if she joined though! Here is a picture of Jenny’s team (she’s #2) after their first game against Mettmann. ISD won 6-0! Apparently most of her games will be played on gravel pitches like this, or on astroturf – hope she doesn’t hurt herself!
I have been playing mom for the last week and will be for at least another three weeks – didn’t realize it would be for that long until I got over here. My mom is back in the