Munich is always expensive at this time of the year. It is – or was – Oktoberfest. The British seem to love it. Consequently, air fares to Munich are prohibitively expensive.

We searched this year for an alternative German city. easyJet offers Hamburg, Berlin, Düsseldorf and Dortmund. We chose Düsseldorf because the air fares were very cheap – as were some of the hotels. Indeed, we stayed at one of the Lindner conference hotels in the Niederkassel district of the city. There are a few branded hotels parked in the middle of a technology park; though well connected by tram. Good value at the weekend.

The city is not the most attractive, but the beer is good. The local speciality is Uerige served in small glasses. Fortunately. It is rather strong and drinkable. Be careful. The system by which it is served is, apparently, the following: when standing at the bar and seeming being ignored, point one’s finger at the bar and hey presto, Herr Ober appears and sells.

The Rhine is always fascinating as a working river. The barges negotiating its bends and the idiot skijeters negotiating the waves they generate provide some entertainment. The weather was sublime this weekend, so spending plenty of time by the river was a must.

Breakfast we recommend Bastions (Bastionstraβe). A big basket of different breads with butter, Marmelade and Honig is a must. The coffee is okay.

Towards the south side of the Rhine is the Medienhafen. It is home to the region’s media and still under development. Frank Gehry came a few years ago to build three of his signature blocks (pictures to come when I get them processed).

The airport, also, is interesting. It is pretty modern and clearly aspirant. One is transported from the terminal to the railway station on the Skytrain. This is clearly modelled on the famous Wuppertal transit system. The carriages are suspended from a track – for want of a better word. There is no driver. An interesting experience. The picture is taken from inside the Skytrain looking at the track.

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