8 may 2001
I'm actually in Praha, that's Praha for most people. I just had an amazing dinner and I'm sitting in a pretty cool hostel right now hanging out in the hallway. I'm nearly over my cold which is a good thing since blowing my nose was becoming a real pain in the ass. Düsseldorf was a very nice place. After making my way to the hostel I had a pretty good time.
Before I get ahead of myself, first the trip from the airport. Our flight landed in the secondary airport in Düsseldorf, about 30 km outside the city. I fortunately read one of the in-flight magazines and discovered that my airline ticket stub also doubled as a day pass on certain trains and buses. I took the bus from the airport and then a train to the Düsseldorf HBF station, basically the main train station. By chance the hostel I booked for the evening had a map in my book and I quickly found the correct street and started walking. The hostel was pretty easy to find and it was a nice walk across the Rhine out to the hostel. When I got there the hostel was only going to accept cash, so I had to locate an ATM. On the way over I walked with this older English man who was very friendly and talkative. He also had lived in Düsseldorf when he was a young man. We happened to be booked in the same room with a German native so we all planned to meet up later in the evening at an authentic German brewery.
Chris, the German native, was very polite and spoke and understood English very well. The English guy had some errands to run so Chris and I hung out and talked and I convinced him to walk with me into town, across the Rhine and hang out for a while. We had a pretty cool time walking around and talking about a variety of topics, especially what Chris thought about our American cultural exports.
We were having some problems finding the meeting place so Chris asked an unsuspecting passerby for better directions. We located the bar within a few minutes but Chris wanted to do some shopping so we parted ways for the evening. The Englishman was already hanging out in the bar, actually outside in the nice Düsseldorf weather, and we drank and ate and had a really good time. We bailed late in the evening back to the hostel and crashed.
This particular hostel has breakfast included in the price, as it should at 39DMs per night! Germans have a pretty cool breakfast, cereal and sandwiches. I had some cereal and made a few sandwiches with meat, they were great! When I return, and if I begin to eat breakfast on a regular basis, I'm going to make German breakfast. Anyway I decided to stay another night in Düsseldorf before I head to Berlin. The Englishman and I were moved to a larger dorm for the second night and we also meet up at another brewery the second evening.
At the first brewery a native wanted to steal my hat, but I eventually got it back with the help of his friends. We had a pretty good time that evening as well. During the day I was beginning to get sick and I believe I suffered from some mild food poisoning. I had booked my train ticket across Germany to Berlin during the day so I just got up, ate a little German breakfast and then headed out to the train station. My train didn't leave until later in the afternoon, sometime after 2:00pm so I took it easy on my walk down to the HBF. In fact I was waiting at a light and some lady with way too many groceries started talking to me in German. I figured she wanted me to help carry her groceries, so I did. It wasn't until we crossed the street that she realized that I didn't speak German. It was pretty funny, I carried the groceries to the front of her apartment and told her good bye in German. Though we had walked just a few streets over I got off track to the HBF for about an hour. Even after taking my time, I had about a three hour wait until my train arrived. The train I took was a German ICE, a high speed train. The wagon I was in showed the speed of the train, the fastest it got up to was 250km/h, that was fast! I'm getting really tired from the train ride I took from Berlin so I hope to hammer away at my missing entries tomorrow.