This had been the first time, though, I could take my time seeing the city and just relaxing. What I usually do when visiting new places, is buy a Baedeker beforehand and then read it on the way there. The currently nine Baedekers I have look great lined up in my bookcase, more importantly, though, I really like the way they are structured with a section each on the place’s history, some practical tips like how to get around, an alphabetical list of all the sites with some information on each one and finally a couple of tours with different themes. These tours are usually great to get started exploring, and the map that’s in back of every Baedeker comes in pretty handy, too.
The tour we did took us around the city’s green belt. I had no idea Frankfurt had so many parks wrapped around its busy city center. Off the main green belt, there are several smaller, out of the way places like the one below on Eschenheimer Anlage. It reminded me of a similar spot in Düsseldorf: the Spee’scher Graben park behind the city museum. It’s my favorite place in the city center that despite its central location is really quiet as few people come there.
On Saturday we went to the Apple store, not because I wanted something (no worries, Microsoft), but because we were in the neighborhood and I wanted to see what it was like. Quite underwhelming, actually. Their stores are kind of like McDonalds: If you seen one of their locations, you have seen them all. The glass cube one on Fifth Avenue is pretty cool (been there in ‘08), but by now I have become pretty tired of their whole act. It’s kind of like the iPhone UI: It was a big deal in the beginning, but now, several years later, it’s time for something new and fresh. It was too bad though, they didn’t have one those Friend Bars there. That could have been fun to watch.
Speaking of fun: I noticed that after someone had used one of the machines that they had there on display, a store employee would come by and make sure the machine was perfectly lined up with the edge of the table. After playing with a MacBook for a bit (a nice-looking notebook, but I hate the fact that you can’t tap the touchpad to click, but have to actually press it with some force), I deliberately moved it a few centimeters out of the perfectly aligned position it had been in before. I then watched how long it would take a store employee to fix this. I had kind of hoped that as soon as I would turn away someone would swoop in to do so. That would have been funny, but in fact it took them like a minute or so. Oh well.
Other than that I have no real story to tell, so let me summarize my experiences/observations/learnings in bullet point form:
- Cupcakes are wonderful. Even though the store of We Love Cupcakes was a bit girly and cupcakes cost like 2,60 EUR each, the quality of the cupcakes made up for all of that. So delicious. There are two cupcake places in Düsseldorf that I found online. Petit Papillon and Sugarbird Cupcakes. The latter is pretty close, so maybe I’ll go there tomorrow.
- You can eat garlic sauce with everything. Everything. OK, maybe not cupcakes.
- Taking the cheapest train that leaves at 5:30 AM and also takes a less direct and route (adding about an hour travel time) just to save a few bucks was not a very smart thing to do.
- It’s really refreshing to be around somebody to whom the very concept of sugar coating is entirely foreign. I wish more people could be this honest with me.
- The writers of the How I Met Your Mother episode Sandcastles in the Sand were onto something with the concept of revertigo.
- Preparing a delicious home-cooked meal isn’t so bad, doesn’t even have to be a lot of work and can even be fun when you’re not doing it alone.
- I’m very happy with the 38m², one-bedroom apartment I have, but having a separate living room with a couch to hang out on and a TV can also be quite nice at times.
- A tablet computer can come in quite handy, particularly in combination with a second room and a couch. I don’t see much use for one in my one-room setup, though. Maybe I’ll change my mind once I have a Windows 8 powered Surface tablet next year.
- While I prefer to live near the city center where everything is within walking distance, living on the outskirts of a city also has its advantages. Like being able to running through the fields or generally be closer to green.
- Taking a perfectly nice photo and “enhancing” it with Instagram is quite laborious. I still don’t get, why one would pay 1 billion dollars for this. None of these ten reasons I found researching this question make much (business) sense to me.
When I got back to Düsseldorf on Sunday night, the sun was setting and as it started to rain, the scene was cast in a weird orange glow. The optics on my camera aren’t great, but I hope this picture captures some of the strangeness of that moment.