Tuesday, November 2, 2010
Well, there is the construction for an underground subway system that no one seems to want, but dodging barricades and workers is a small price to pay.
Old town. Cobblestones, brew pubs, quaint buildings, even a Mustard Museum are what you will find here.
The Mustard Museum isn't much - more shop than museum, but its array of flavored mustards is amazing. I came home with fig (!) mustard which is actually quite good.
Speaking of Karneval, it is a major event in the city's social and party calendar. Like the Mardi Gras of New Orleans, it begins long before Fat Tuesday, but unlike New Orleans' celebration, women take the central role in Duesseldorf.
John William married one of the deMedici daughters and Duesseldorf soon became known as an art city. He was an avid collector; today the city's 26 museums span the history of art from ancient to yesterday. Its Art Academy has long been famous for artists and professors who welcome innovation.
Among those you ought to see are K20 (modern) and K21(contemporary) Kunstsammlung, Kunst Palast and, if there's time, Kunst im Tunnel, literally, art in the tunnel, where students display their work in a no longer used tunnel along the waterfront. Another reason to stop there, its bathroom, down an elevator, is the most convenient to the harbor promenade.
Tip: Relax, Levelers. The museums all have lifts.
The harbor with its old storage buildings has been transformed into a hopping showcase of contemporary architecture with the river as inspiration known as Media Harbor. Frank Gehry designed three buildings and other architects include Doring Dahmen Joeresen, Steven Holl, David Chipperfield, Jurgen Schurmann, Zamp Kelp, Norbert Winkels, Claude Vasconi and a host of other, international innovators I should have heard of but haven't. Don't miss this; plan to see it in daylight and at night. You won't be sorry.
In fact, you won't be sorry about anything in Duesseldorf except leaving.
Where to stay. I was at Steigenberger Parkhotel, the city's first five-star hotel, which is at the beginning of Konigsallee, the "Ko," Duessseldorf's high-end shopping street, and a comfortable walk away from the old town. Warning: Because of the steep steps (about 8) up to the hotel I can't wholeheartedly recommend it for Levelers until 2013 when major renovations will have eliminated the steps.
If you prefer the harbor area, Marriott, Radisson and Hyatt have hotels in the center of the lively bars, restaurants and businesses of Media Harbor.
And the duck in the Steigenberger Parkhotel restaurant is excellent. The potato soup at Julian's in the Courtyard Marriott is quite good too. I'll be posting the recipe for it on my other blog, Food Afar - Recipes from a Travel Writer.