The weekend in Germany was nice, and has produced the desired effect back-to-back with the weekend in Dordrecht: I really want to stay in Brussels next weekend. Saturday was Unity Day, a stat holiday there, which was good because we were town-bound and if the stores had been open I would have shopped - I'm feeling flush at the moment - even though I don't NEED need anything, because Dusseldorf is a marvellous city for shopping and, whilst expensive in German terms, is damn cheap compared to this price-controlled, socialimistic country I live in.
So we went to Wuppertal, a very pretty industrial/valley town that reminded me of the formerly industrial bits of Yorkshire. The difference is, of course, it hasn't fallen into complete neglect since its heyday ended - not the West German Way, I suppose. It has a suspended monorail, which is awesome and hardly takes up any space since most of its run is over the Wupper (which is full of birds, I think we saw maybe 15 herons or cranes going through the city). A very pretty, efficient thing. Testament to human lack of affiliation with prettiness and efficiency that there aren't more of them elsewhere.
Sunday morning I managed to shake of the effects of far too much drink and smoke and consequent poisoning (and disappointment in it being far too cold for these thin-blooded Europeans and my Antipodean to kayak, though I was in no shape for any kind of physical effort) to join the others at the Hombroich museum island close to Neuss. I don't know the last time I've seen something so lovely. Everything about it was superb - what they had on display, the lunch (included with ticket), and the willows next to the cafeteria with branches drooping to the ground, under which they'd set out tables we could enjoy with the early-winter sun, that kept popping in and out. We'll certainly go back in another season before leaving Europe. It was something that touched me in the same way was the Guell park in Barcelona: so pretty, such a good idea, and a sort of yearning that everybody everywhere in every city have a the chance to have something like that there, something so goddamn lovely.