After the various hikes of the summer the last jaunt of September was to go and see Eldest Daughter near Düsseldorf, where she nowlives and works. Mrs A had already been over to visit earlier in the year on the plane so we thought that this time we’d drive over.
ED was thrilled about this as it meant she could send a shopping request for stuff she can’t get over there. Mrs A was cheerful as it meant she could load up on French wine and cosmetics. I was jolly as it meant I could load up with French wine, stinky French cheese and German beer. We were all winners.
During the drive down to the south coast to start the SW Coastal Path (post here) I spotted an advert on a lorry in a field by the motorway for a company called aferry.com – we looked them up and got an absolute bargain crossing to Dunkirk with DFDS. We even got a free dinner thrown in (this amounts to two of my favourite words in one sentence). If you’re planning a driving trip in mainland Europe they’re definitely worth a shot.
So, after drive down through England and a millpond-like channel crossing, we rolled off the ferry onto French soil for the second time this year. I absolutely love driving in Europe for many reasons so the steady old trundle through France, Belgium, The Netherlands and Germany was a joy.
We arrived late on Thursday night and it was great to see Eldest again. We went over to the pizza joint over the road and bought pizzas and beers and caught up.
The visit passed by in a blur of laughing and walking and eating and drinking, highlights included:
– Heading off in the wrong direction on the tram, despite very clear instructions from Eldest and Mrs A having made the journey before, because I couldn’t distinguish between Düsseldorf and Duisburg on a map.
– An evening out in Düsseldorf drinking Altbier in various microbreweries and bars on the edge of the Rhine that ended up with us drinking what I can only remember as local hooch (it was sold by a lady passing it out of a window – literally – and tasted like rocket fuel). Mrs A managed to set fire to a marshmallow in a Mexican restaurant, there is photographic evidence but unfortunately I do not have copies.
– Dipping out of a shopping trip with Mrs A and Eldest to go to the local automotive museum and then accidentally spending the entire afternoon in another pub watching the rugby world cup with Eldest’s mate. By the time then girls found us I’d had several weissbiers so we stopped to have a few more and watch the Japan v South Africa match. It was the best match I have ever seen and I was quite well oiled so very enthusiastic in my support for the underdogs. Unfortunately the place was full of Springboks and I ended up getting told off by a middle aged SA lady.
– wandering around Duisburg on Sunday when, as dictated by German legislation,only bars restaurants and ice cream parlours can open to encourage family time. It worked.
Too soon it was time to drive home and after a stop off for wine, cosmetics and stinky cheese we hit blighty again. I’ve always loved Germany and every time I visit I love it a little more.