After leaving Copenhagen, we flew to Dusseldorf, a business-like, no-nonsense city, quite unlike Copenhagen. Our hotel was about 15 km outside of the city. Dusseldorf, like Orlando, has many conventions throughout the year and the Medico convention is one of the largest. So every hotel in the city was booked. The Hotel Gut Hohne used to be a 17th century farmhouse with a potter, baker, blacksmith--you name it--and the hotel is sprawling and winding. We rolled our luggage down the brick entrance--clickety, clickety--to the reception area and we escorted by a hotel staff member to our room. Down a flight of stairs, through a few doors, down some more stone steps (clickety, clickety some more) to the pool area and our room. It was the wackiest place I've ever been! Our room had a wall of windows and a French door that opened onto the pool. It was tiny too and pretty rustic. D and I looked at the barely double-sized bed and wondered who would have to sleep on the tiny, barely a loveseat couch! It was a pretty place and the homemade croissants (baked in the bakery!) were delicious!!! The grounds were pretty too but I think we would have enjoyed ourselves more if it had been spring or summer. There's a spa at the place too and it seemed several companies were having conferences or retreats there.
Our main reason for being in Dusseldorf was attending the trade show that featured some exercise equipment and to meet up with the German distributor for D's company. So all day Wednesday was spent at the convention center wandering around, looking at the competition. The distributor then went back with us to the hotel and we all ate at a great Italian place in Mettmann. He wanted to take us to a McCafe after dinner. He insisted that we wouldn't believe it was a McDonald's coffee shop. Leather seats, espresso, nice decor--closer to a Starbucks than a McDonald's. Crazy!
Our next day in Dusseldorf we were on our own and everyone insisted that we should go to the shopping district and walk Kulstrasse and Schadowstrasse. Sycamore tree-lined streets, twinkling lights, it was beautiful--if you're into that kind of stuff. D's not really a shopper and even less of a window shopper, and even less when the windows are Tiffany's, Louis Vitton, and Prada. But it was fun to walk around together after being with other people for the past few days and we found a cute chocolate shop to purchase thank-you presents for those back home.
The trip back home was not so nice. We got up at 5 am, Germany time to catch our flight out of Dusseldorf to Frankfort. A cold front was moving through Germany affecting flights all over. We were late getting into Frankfort (nearly 11:00) and after eating only a granola bar and a croissant we snatched from the buffet room (we left before breakfast was served) I was starting to get a bit light-headed and sick. We walked all over the Frankfort airport (the most disorganized airport!) trying to find something appealing to eat. Our flight out was delayed, we waited in lines and in waiting areas for over 2 hours, got on the plane, waited some more, and then sat through a miserably hot and stuffy 10 hr. flight. Oh, and my entertainment console was on the fritz the entire time. I watched Hancock and Flawless on D's screen with no sound. Then we switched seats and I watched Happy-Go-Lucky--very cute. After watching a documentary on Knut the polar bear, we've decided he reminds us of B!
All in all, a great experience and a lovely time away. The kids were wonderful--not a bit of trouble for either set of grandparents. My parents, of course, did projects around the house for us too. There were places and things I would have liked to see, especially in and around Copenhagen. I wanted to see the Glyptotek art museum or drive up the coast to Elsinore Castle (something rotten going on there) or cross the sound into Sweden. And it would be nice to go when I'm not pregnant. It was nearly impossible to get decaf coffee anywhere and the sip of D's beer was very good. Another time perhaps!