Spent Friday being violently, violently ill. Missed the Christmas staff party no more than a week after reading an article somewhere about how it's career poison to miss the Christmas staff party, which didn't add to the experience. By seven in the evening I'd stopped the violence and decided I was okay enough for us to pursue our Düsseldorf plan this weekend. Glad we did despite typical shit from Eurolines that made me wish we'd had the foresight to book the Thalys, until we realized Belgian trains were on strike. Ho hum.
Anyhoo. The F-word's friends there are good people, warm, engaged, engaging. Düsseldorf itself, which I'd only ever visited once before in great trouble of mind, impressed me favourably as well. Flattened in the last war and rebuilt with some vision - and these days, with some flair, especially in the financial/admin district in the 'harbour' of the Rhine - and what a river that is. Big swollen thing. I miss having water in a city like that. They have a set of Frank Gehrys there - red, white, and shiny. They were really nice to look at.
Another thing that impressed me favourably about Düsseldorf, and which has impressed me favourably every time I've dipped my toe into German waters, is the food. Nobody eats like the Germans, and not just sausages and sauerkraut. Fresh, delicious, varied, and cheap cheap cheap. Döner to write poetry for, big decadent brunches, and oh yes, my new best friend riebekuchen . . .
And yet another thing that impressed me favourably was, when finally we had to go back to Belgium, we stopped in a train station bookstore and found loads and loads of quality English books - a classier selection than you'll find in most Anglo train stations. These are people who like reading, in different languages no less. It pissed me off disproportionately and I went through a good twenty minutes of wishing I was German. I'm going to watch the rest of that BBC series about the Great War and I want to see some damn good excuses for our side winning. Anyways, this sign on the bargain bin in the store considerably lightened my mood: