On our drive back to Belgium before arriving in our final destination Stockholm, we spent the night in Hamburg. With the opportunity to only eat one meal, we wanted to experience a typical North German meal. Luckily I have ex-colleagues in Hamburg and they recommended Speisewirtschaft Opitz. So we happily made a reservation and enjoyed the vintage atmosphere and delicious Hamburg-style food (aka lots of North Sea shrimp and fish!).
The Platzl in downtown Munich where the Hofbräuhaus is located
I was in Munich, Germany for a quick stopover and only had an afternoon to explore – so of course I wanted to check out a Bavarian bräuhaus! I found out later that perhaps I chose the most touristy one in the city, but I really enjoyed having lunch at the more than 500 year old Hofbräuhaus, the most famous beer hall in Munich! I enjoyed a giant mug of Hofbräu Original, a pretzel, and 2 original Munich veal sausages!
I was so excited when Barbara whatsapped me to let me know there were still Beyoncé tickets available for the show in Düsseldorf! So I immediately agreed to go and we headed to Germany with her friend Ymke as well to see the Queen Bey. You may remember that we went together to see Beyoncé in Antwerp in April 2014 – so 2 years ago. So exciting to see her again!
Normally while my parents are visiting, we explore Belgium and the Netherlands but this time we ventured into Germany to Düsseldorf! We stayed one night and spent the two days exploring the Altstadt (Old City), Köningsallee, and Japanese Quarter and enjoying a Rhine River cruise. Düsseldorf is famous for its altbier “a hoppy beer which translates as old [style] beer, a reference to the pre-lager brewing method of using a warm top-fermenting yeast like British pale ales”. There are 5 microbreweries located in the Altstadt which also serve traditional German cuisine – so that was our first stop – to Zum Schlüssel. After a huge lunch, Koen and I visited the Kunstsammlung K20 for a really great exhibition called Kandinsky, Malevich, Mondrian: The Infinite White Abyss which explores the use of blank canvas in the artists’ work. My parents explored a few churches before visiting the museum across from ours, the Kunsthalle Düsseldorf for the Smart New World exhibition which wasn’t quite what my parents’ expected… A bit too contemporary for them! Afterwards we stopped for another altbier at the microbrewery Uerige. Then we walked to the Japanese Quarter for dinner.
It just so happens that when we arrived Düsseldorf was celebrating Japan Day, so there were a lot of visitors dressed up throughout the city – I think we saw at least 10 pikachus! Why a Japanese Quarter and Japan Day? Düsseldorf has the largest Japanese population in Europe. It was sooo busy and it wasn’t until we arrived in the Japanese Quarter that we realized there was a holiday taking place. We had already walked 30 minutes and were in the mood for sushi – all of the places were packed!! In the end we were able to eat while a huge line waited to be let in. A great first day!