The week flew by. And it was a good mix of work and fun. I was able to sightsee, rest, work, and stay up late with people I enjoy. A very good time. And kind of a letdown to have it be over.
We ended the week with a party last night at the Rheinstrassen Theater, where all of our events were held. It was an impressive set-up with food everywhere, free-flowing alcohol all night, and about 2000 people. Two live acts performed, the first being John Miles, a guy from England that I have never heard before but really liked. Quite a show with pyro and lights. Fun. For me the night ended a little too late, allowing myself only about 3 hours of sleep before an international flight the next morning.
After forcing myself to eat something (something greasy and fizzy preferably), I made my way to the airport with ample time only to realize that there is a security worker strike Monday through Friday and few flights are able to depart. So I sat there for 3 hours while they figured out what to do with us. And it turned out the new flight for which I am scheduled departs from Dusseldorf on Saturday morning. Rather than take the train I decided to hire a taxi because it’s just easier and more convenient.
I went to the Radisson Blu to get my bearings since that’s where I had spent so much time during the week. And I was able to scam on my colleagues’ internet access since there’s no un-secure WiFi in Germany, apparently. (Every connection requires a password that no one will give out) So I waved to the first guy in the taxi line and he came to get me. Right away I recognized him and he me. Turns out this guy had picked me up at another location a few days ago and we had struck up quite a conversation and both noted how fun it was to talk. He mentioned then that he wished it had been a longer trip so we would have had longer to chat! Well, here we were again and ready to take a 45 minute trip to Dusseldorf. What a strange fluke that was. Serendipity.
I walked around Dusseldorf today and burned off some energy, revived my tired body, and enjoyed this beautiful city. It’s much smaller than Cologne and I think much more quaint. Very fun. I had espresso in a corner cafe, shopped in an open air market, bought heavy brown bread at a bakery, and took a lot of photos. Then I finished the day off at a pub highly recommended by at least three of the locals I asked. It was great to just sit and eat authentic German food and drink a few beers and regroup. And now I’ll get some sleep before returning home tomorrow sometime.
An excellent vacation and actually one of the saddest to see come to an end.