March 25

The original plan. Let's see how close we get, shall we?!

Düsseldorf and Barcelona with the Kings; them I'm off on my own to Granada; Algeciras/Gibraltar; Fez; Tangiers; Seville; Tavira; Evore; Lisbon/Sintra.

Next posting...from Düsseldorf...where it is Snowing at the moment. I'm stopping off on the way to the airport to buy some warm Socks.
March 27

I arrived in Düsseldorf yesterday late afternoon and spent the rest of the day in a vegetative state.

Bright and early this morning we are making plans, organizing, distributing tasks, to get this moving show on the road. The kids were anxious to help and did participate to the extent of their ability and interest but soon enough, well...
...let's set-up a nice long movie!

Then we had lunch, Anya took a nap and Xander helped for a solid two hours while we packed up the books. Good job X!

The plan was to take a break for walking and to see the park that surrounds their home. But no. It was raining, and since we have several days ahead I decided to wait and hope for dry skies. No point at all in wishing for blue skies though.

Be glad if it isn't raining and be extra glad if it isn't snowing. That's the remnants of a snowman from two days ago out there in the yard!
The ducks decided to take refuge on the front patio!
March 28

Hi Kaitlin! Anya and Xander are going to be home in LA before I get back and you'll get to play together soon. That'll be f.u.n!

(I was changing Anya's shirt and I sang her one of the songs I sing with Kaitlin when I change her shirt and now whenever I do something for her (like give her a bath or brush her teeth) she wants me to sing the song I sing with Kaitlin. Isn't that Irresistibly CUTE.)
We had a pretty long list of outside chores to do today so I got to catch a few shots of downtown Düsseldorf. I went along to drive because L&B don't have valid drivers licenses and have been using public transportation for months(!). I like those trees.
Lucas told me to take this picture of the people in the statue because couples like this are placed all around as a symbol of Düsseldorf.
He also told me to take this picture because the lion is a symbol of Düsseldorf and Then we saw this statue of a stick figure doing a somersault and that Too is a symbol of Dusseldorf!
These are open air cafes along the Rhine. It was cold and windy so not surprising that few were hanging out here but Lucas says Düsseldorf-ians have a huge tolerance for bad weather and fill up the places on weekends.

In the distance is the Rhine Tower (another symbol of Dusseldorf!). An explanation from a tourist website:

"The port holes on the tower form the world's largest decimal clock. From top to bottom, vertically arranged yellow lights - separated by horizontal red ones - show decades of hours, single hours, decades of minutes, single minutes, decades of seconds and single seconds."
The bank was here, pretty, and calm.
Here's a pano at an intersection in the historic downtown, bearing in mind that most of the city was destroyed in WWII and hence most of these buildings are post-war.

Note the pedestrians only streets which was very nice. There are big underground parking structures just on the outside of this district filled with shops, restaurants, and pubs.
March 29

A couple more chores this morning, and this time we took the electric tram. The stop is a few blocks away from the house and this is the view sitting on the bench.
And this is the view looking through the tram stop enclosure.

It's SO easy to get around the town but not so much into the suburbs. Also, it's not cheap. I don't know if there's any income based subsidy for the high cost of transportation.
Then I went to the local market by myself. (I think it's a chain though because I saw another one or two just like it.)

Going to the market was fun...even though I bought the wrong kind of sugar and took it back to get the right kind.

It would have been easier for everyone if I could have said 'I'd like to return this sugar for this other sugar' but like usual, pointing, encouraging charades, and local English speakers got the job done.
This is a pretty cool building across the street from the market.
This is one style of the electric trams that criss-cross the city. There are many types of varying eras which is entertaining for me, the tourista.

One thing we Angelenos can remember when we beat ourselves up about getting rid of our electric system, is that the dense web of overhead cables and the maze of tracks on the ground is a price to pay for this quiet, clean transportation.
In the afternoon we went to a little girl's birthday party out in the suburbs which is 20 minutes away by driving and is surrounded by fields, growing what, they did not know.

Their living room was given over to playground mode. At one point everyone decided to go outside so...
...all the moms got everybody bundled-up like little South Park Kids. That's the birthday girl in orange.
Then back to the house for More Packing...and deleting some items off the to-do list. I loove to delete items off that list!
March 30

We decided to have a little break and take advantage of the temporary appearance of the sun, to enjoy a quick picnic lunch out in the park.

I'd been hoping to visit this Clock Forest ever since driving by on the first day.
Lucas and Betsy's place is right here on the banks of the river/stream/creek Düssel, (Düsseldorf being 'the town on the Düssel') which wanders around through the city and back and forth through the park.
Another of the many entertaining features of the park are these three dragons. It's a huge park and one of the aspects of their stay here that the Kings will miss most.
Spring is getting ready to brighten the whole landscape, and here's a start.
March 31

Today is my last day in Düsseldorf - tomorrow we're all off to spend a week in Barcelona after which the Kings come back to complete their move and I travel on myself to Granada and destinations south.

Here we are doing a last grocery shopping at another of the local markets looking out onto another of the innumerable urban parks.
Nancy Donald wrote to say she thought Düsseldorf seemed like a rather benign place. I think so too, despite this bit of graffiti...benign and modest.

There's a street they call 'our Rodeo Drive' with all the big name shops and there are plenty of elegant homes but still the overriding feeling is one of a small, modest, hard working and prosperous town.
I took a couple hours by myself for a sightseeing jaunt to what they call the Media Harbour, a refurbishment of the Rhine port area including these buildings...
...and these...
...and most famously the three Frank Gehry office buildings in the center of this picture. (The middle reflective one is almost hidden between the white and red ones that surround it.)
Here they are viewed from streetside.
Mostly I was driven to take this outing since I wanted to have a nice local home-made beer before leaving Germany.

Lucas and Betsy had mentioned how the smoke is so thick in restaurants and pubs you can hardly breathe, making it simply not enjoyable to eat out.

So in searching for a venue in which to drink my beer I looked for a family-type place, went when it was early enough for the windows to be open and before the crowds, and still it was true, I could hardly breathe. Bummer! The beer was deeelishous though - tapped from a keg, cold, dark amber, with a nice creamy head. Yum!
Lucas, closing out the day trying to figure the final travel arrangements for our journey to Barcelona. Looks like it's gon'na take All Day!
April 1

We're off for's early and we're On Time!
HomeEurope • Germany • '08 Mar: Düsseldorf, Germany

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