01 August 2013

EO Trip Day 2

Day 2 was Monday. AKC had asked most of us to try to be at least in the country, and preferably checked into the hotel by Monday, but we had no other actual Team obligations until the off site practice and team dinner Wednesday. So of course, we went sight seeing!

Since we were still adapting to the new time zone (6 hours ahead of where we live), we decided to stick to the closer things again, and thus we drove about an hour over to Dusseldorf. We took our time in the morning, enjoying a slow hotel breakfast and a nice easy morning before leaving.

I always enjoy driving in Europe. I enjoy the process of renting a new-to-me car, different in that it is a diesel, and also a manual shift, which I have a good deal of experience with but don't currently drive. I enjoyed it! Driving in Belgium I did last year, and is fairly straightforward. Driving in Germany was also pretty straightforward - I actually could translate a bit more easily some of the signs, since I took 4 years of German in high school. So things like "Ausgang" made more sense to me than the Dutch or Flemish words I was seeing in Belgium. Also, I am definitely a fan of the European freeway, where people actually use the passing lane for passing and then immediately move over again! Here in the USA people often just sort of cruise in whatever lane they fancy at any given moment, and lots of people seem to prefer the slow land for passing, even when the passing lane is wide open. You never see that in Europe, or at least not in the parts I've driven in so far! Anyway, Germany's freeways had "recommended" speeds, rather than limits, which was pretty fun. No, we did not go ridiculously fast, but it was nice not to worry about getting at ticket for accidentally cruising over the speed limit!

Driving into Dusseldorf was as easy as driving into Koln, traffic in the city was light, and roads were easy to navigate. We parked right in Altstadt (Oldtown), and walked around to see what we could see.

I think this is a ship museum in the tower

Carnival across the river. It wasn't open when we were there.

We walked along the Rhine (Rein) for a little while, there were many cute restaurants right along the walkway on the water, they were all stocking up and not open yet (it was around 10am when we got there)

We wandered back into town away from the river then, and wandered through all the older parts of town. It was quite pretty, with some interesting sights. A kind German man attempted to tell us a story about a bus, and driving, and England, and something was a lot easier in one place than another, but he kept losing us and eventually we wished each other Guten Tag and moved on.

A cool photo op near our parking garage.

After we were done wandering the streets of Dusseldorf, we headed back, but realized that Aachen might be worth seeing, and since it was kind of on our way back, off we went. Unfortunately we missed the big international equestrian festival by a few days, or we would have gladly stopped in to see that. But Aachen turned out to be a really cute and pretty little town, with its own huge cathedral and gorgeous architecture!

And after wandering Aachen for an hour or so, the dogs started to droop. I think Monday ended up being one of the warmest days, so even though we walked in the shade as much as possible and gave them lots of water, they did start to get worn out and tired, and when we stopped to figure out what to do and saw them do this, we decided to pack it up and head back.

After that we drove back "home", and then went out grocery shopping during which we discovered the adorable town of Maaseik, Belgium, was only 5 minutes down the road, with a lovely square surrounded by restaurants, and a grocery store too. So we bought supplies and after that we ate dinner in Maaseik almost every night.

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