Vacation stop 1: Düsseldorf
No sleeping in for us after #duwmee, despite the fact that we had vacation as the construction workers and their noise came in early. Nevertheless we took a slow morning, then packed up our car with suitcases, strollers, toys and diaper bags and drove off.
First stop on our week road-tripping was Düsseldorf. It was the only remainder of our plan to travel a week along German christmas markets. Jan was on familiar domain (although he picked the hotel he had not stayed in yet) but I had never visited this city before which is only 1h45 min drive from us.
Our entry along the Rhine river was for me good enough: I love cities with rivers. Cities need water in them.
We walked along the Rhine park north of the old city center with a singing toddler who sang , jumped in leaves, found a big stick that we got to carry along all day and who was happy to watch the boats on the river come by. Düsseldorf was already a succes and we had only walked 1 km from our hotel.
After a lunch in a brasserie in the old city center, we started exploring the different Christmas markets. The very first one at the Altstadt at the river, didn't impress me very much. Maybe since it still felt deserted, maybe it was too light outside, maybe I first needed to get into the mood. The funny thing is that each one of the markets as we progressed seemed to get better. The last ones were just so cosy and nice and we had fun letting Kabouter ride the kid's caroussel while we were sipping a hot wine and waving at him.
After 6 markets, we were freezing in the cold despite our hot wine/ hot chocolate milk. We kept warm doing funny hopping walks and then we made Kabouter's day to take the tram back to the hotel.
We refreshed our walking muscles with a good swim in the hotel and then dined in there. The child portion's were ridiculously large and but our food was excellent and there weren't many people in the restaurant so Kabouter could ride his car on the floor next to our table once he was done.
We enjoyed our day in Düsseldorf and I remember mainly that it is closeby and that there is much more that I've not seen yet (thanks also to the blog updates from Yab) so I hope to return.
While we sat there, we saw the breaking news on our phones about a truck riding into a Christmas market in Berlin...and all of a sudden our afternoon felt so different. The contrast with us sitting there was once again so big. I didn't know whether I had to feel relieved, sad or disappointed not to have planned a full week at German Christmas markets anymore. It's also amazing, sadly enough, how I've learned over the last 14 months to read such breaking news, draw my conclusions and avoid much further media coverage (news + all the hate filled opinions) (although I did keep track of the main news updates this time and I noticed this week how quickly it passed...we all seem to move on so much faster already).