Another weekend, another post about my observations. Wait, what, weekend, you say? It feels like weekend at least: I left Dizzel (as my friend Maike calls it, inspired of the non-Germans pronunciation of Düssel) already on Thursday evening because I was sent to Hamburg on a reconnaissance trip. Part of my job is managing our largest event, a high profile gala evening/award ceremony, in the fall. This event travels every year, this time to Hamburg which is no doubt very convenient for me. It is indispensable for me to have most detailed in depth knowledge of everything in the location and yes, that includes knowing the way to the bathrooms. It also includes picking appropriate flower decorations, choosing the menu and deciding who to place next to whom. My festfixare-personality can really be lived out!
But back to present day, or rather the past week during which I made further observations about the new town I live in. Things do not cease to amaze me, sometimes it almost feels like living abroad again. Like, in Spain. Because…
- There are always people out at night
My mother has always said she thinks Cologne has a mediterrean flair to it. Why? Because just like in Southern countries, people seem to live on the street. Not homeless people but people who go out at night. They flock the streets. Go past the Old Town in Düsseldorf (even though it likes to think it is very, very different from Cologne, it is not, at least not in this respect) any evening that it does not rain and see hundreds of people hanging outside the bars. Hundreds!
It is not only those who get a drink and sit in the uteservering, there are also lots of young people sitting on monuments, on walls (very popular to sit on little walls!) or in front of some art museum. And the sunset does not really chase anyone away, even at ten on a week day, town is full of outside-people.
The cheerful crowds (I explicitly do not mean the Saturday-night-bachelor-parties) produce a very special atmosphere but so far I am still slightly bewildered every time I see them, worrying if they have no home to go to.
- The pricing policies here are ridiculous.
I have also already learned that the Old Town is the place tourists and non-locals go to. It is a bit like going out on Reeperbahn I suppose or shopping on the southern part of Drottninggatan. The real Düsseldorfers go out in Flingern and Pempelfort (am I the only one who thinks those name are wonderfully funny?) and because I want to integrate, I of course also went to Pempelfort for drinks.
We ordered the “cocktail of the day” which was a small drink in a martini glass, not bad but not especially good either. Maybe I should have enjoyed it more because when the bill came, I thought I had been catapulted out of Germany. Thirteen euros for a small cocktail. In Düsseldorf. The Swedes among you will not be shocked as drinks in Stockholm are even more expensive but this is Germany and usually, cocktails range between 5 and 8 euro – for big cocktails. As I later learned, this bar was also a particularly pricy location but still. That’s twenty-six Deutsche Mark!
- The men are well groomed
When I go to work, I always have to cross the grand boulevard Königsallee for which Düsseldorf is world-famous or at least known nationwide. Here, I have noticed a very large proportion of very good-looking and/or well-groomed men. Certainly with the male bitch face men you would not necessarily want to date but nevertheless exceptionally well-groomed for German standards. Even in other parts of the city, several beaus have appeared. Which brings me to the next observation…
- There is tons of cosmetic studios
My way to work is about one kilometre long (yes, I am lucky). On this kilometre, there are approximately six hairdressers, four cosmetic institutes, three eye-lasering clinics and two teeth bleaching shops. Even when I move outside that radius, I keep discovering beauty stores everywhere, in large quantities. When I told my coworkers about this fact, they just laughed, shrugged and said, “It’s a vain city, you know!” “