Our final day in Düsseldorf began with a leisurely buffet breakfast at the Holiday Inn Express, then after packing up our belongings we took the U Bahn along to Adolf Graf Platz to enjoy a morning stroll around Medien Hafen (Media Harbour) near the Rhine Tower we had visited the previous morning.
This former abandoned city docks located south of the river has been transformed into a business and leisure district and is now home to more than 700 companies along with high end apartments and numerous restaurants and bars. The sun managed to put in a short appearance for us to highlight the gleaming, cutting edge buildings lining the harbour.
The Californian architect Frank Gehry who previously designed the Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao created a three part landmark building without a single straight line in its side-by-side buildings which is known as Neuer Zolhoff. It’s apparently one of the most photographed buildings in the city and can be seen in the photo below.
After popping back to our hotel to collect our luggage and have a quick cup of tea, we decided to explore the city’s Japanese quarter which was about a 20 minute walk from where we were staying. This Asian enclave runs from Berliner Allee along to the Hauptbahnhof (Central Railway Station) and is centred along Immermannstrasse.
As soon as we had reached this neighbourhood which is commonly referred to as Little Tokyo, we almost felt as if we’d been transported over to Japan as the streets are lined with Japanese food shops, hotels, restaurants, bakeries, chemists, bookstores and travel agencies. The majority of the residents are Japanese or Germans with Japanese heritage giving Düsseldorf the third largest Japanese population in Europe after Paris and London.
There was no way that we were leaving this district without sampling some authentic Japanese cuisine so we popped into Waraku and ordered bowls of Chicken Ramen which were served with caramelised vegetables in a mouth watering broth – delicious wasn’t even good enough to describe it. The restaurant is only tiny, but if you’re in the vicinity I’d highly recommend popping in for lunch and at around €10 (£8.30) excellent value.
As our flight wasn’t scheduled to depart until 18.25 we still had a couple of hours left to explore before returning to the airport so we jumped back on the U Bahn for a short ride across the river to take a look at the affluent Oberkassel neighbourhood. We’d enjoyed views across there from the Altstadt (old town) facing it so now we could enjoy the views looking back.
Although 90% of Düsseldorf’s housing was damaged or destroyed during the Second World War there was very little damage to Oberkassel on the western bank of the Rhine. As we strolled alongside the riverside footpath we admired beautiful art-deco houses that have been so well preserved and looked across to the old town where we had spent much of our time.
The rain clouds were gathering and as the wind was strengthening we made our way back to the U Bahn station for a service to the Hauptbahnhof.
It was the first time we had seen Düsseldorf’s central railway station so we had a short walk through the concourse before taking a train back to the airport. The journey only takes seven minutes making Düsseldorf ideal for a short stopover to break up lengthy flights. Surprisingly, there is no aircraft noise over the city despite the airport being close by. Back at the airport we discovered that our flight had been delayed an hour so we enjoyed a beer after security before heading to our gate.
We hadn’t been sitting at the gate very long when we heard that the flight had been delayed further and then subsequently cancelled. I’d nothing but praise for Eurowings who handled the situation efficiently, re-booking us onto the next flight at 06.45 the following morning and promptly arranging hotel accommodation for us.
Our unplanned stay was at the Mercure Düsseldorf Zentrum and included breakfast except that we needed to leave before it was served. The hotel was located south of the airport towards the city centre in an area we weren’t familiar with but we soon found a cosy pub for a tasty meal and a glass of beer.
After returning to the airport the next morning we enjoyed breakfast in Hausmann’s before eventually arriving back in Manchester at 9.00 a.m.
Spending the weekend in Düsseldorf had been so much fun and with such a variety of activities and attractions to keep us busy, we’d loved every minute of our trip. Dorf translated into English means village and although Düsseldorf has now grown to become Germany’s seventh largest city it retains a compact feel and we found it to be a very pleasant and safe city for a weekend break. Along with Eurowings, additional carriers operate from across the country making it easily accessible for a short break.
During our stay we were guests of Visit Düsseldorf and as always all views and opinions are entirely my own.
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