Monday, May 13, 2013

A city of good life

There's a vibrant, and very clearly wealthy, centre to Dusseldorf in Germany, even on a somewhat chilly early May afternoon.

If you're there with a couple of hours to spend between planes or trains, and maybe have already done the lunch or drinks and stupendous view from the top of the Günnewig Rheinturm (right), a stroll through the Königsalee (King's Road) in the town's shopping heart will tempt your credit cards.

But window shopping costs nothing except maybe a little envy. All the names are there — Bulgari, Prada, Cartier et al. There are, of course, many 'ordinary' shops too along the street, affectionally known as the 'Kö'. The shops and the big bank buildings opposite are separated by a grass-banked canal, with the whole area commissioned by no less a person than Napoleon.

A couple of 'galerie' shopping malls are also good places to watch the locals snack and sit to sip coffee or an apertif in between their browsing. That's the least expensive part of it ... in Barolos in the Kö Centre an excellent bruschetta and coffee is more than ample to recharge energy, at a reasonable €7.70.

Walk back down towards the river and you'll find a bunch of art galleries and boutique fashion stores along Bastionstrasse and its neighbourhood, probably a lot less expensive than you've been studiously avoiding temptation from along the 'Kö.

There's a compact but really nice market not too far away at Kasernanstrasse, and from there a stroll through the pedestrian shopping area of Hunsrukenstrasse will bring you down to the old city, with the dozens of cafes on Bolkerstrasse and then on to the park walks along the Rhine to work off lunch.