Japan in Düsseldorf and final stage in Köln

ŒiWe arrived around 12 o`clock in Düsseldorf and went straight to the hotel, a Motel One-hotel. It`s situated very close to the station. About 4-5 minutes by foot, and very recognizable because you have to pass a yellow post building. We checked in and could immediately go to our room. The hotel itself is very nice. When entering, the fancy blue and dark brown colors and the wall behind the reception will immediately catch your eye. On the wall, there is written in Japanese 気に入るよ (Ki ni iruyo), andthe English translation = you will like it. The room was also in the same nice colors and the television was sending out a comfy fire (with the sounds to make it feel real). Although it wasn’t that expensive, I felt like I came to a fancier hotel than I had paid for.

After dropping our luggage in the hotel room, we started exploring the city. The first place we went to was ‘Hotel Nikko’, a little bit fancier hotel with some shops in it. At the café inside, we ate a ’Mont Blanc’ cake, and my Japanese friend was impressed by the use of berries in it. It tasted very nice and the service also was friendly. He even talked a bit in Japanese to my friend although he wasn`t Japanese himself. Next, we just had to stop at a café called ‘Sphere Bay’. Matcha (green tea) crepes with matcha sauce and matcha hot chocolate. The matcha hot chocolate was made by melting matcha chocolate according to our guess and tasted heavenly. The matcha crepe also tasted bitter and was so good. In other words, matcha heaven. Luckily for us, we just love matcha green tea.

After we filled our tummies with matcha, we entered a book shop close by filled with Japanese books (in Japanese and German)  and then we went to the Medienhafen. We easily found our way, looking out for the high tower. The Medienhafen are some architecturally interesting buildings. Even if I don’t know a lot about architecture, I find them attracting. On the bridge over the river at the `Hafen`, there also is a (very) fancy looking restaurant. Perfect for a more expensive date maybe?

Next, we went to the Altstadt. We drank some tea in a restaurant called ‘Schiffchen’. I read somewhere on the internet that Napoleon had come to this restaurant before. And yes, there were some Napoleon references. Except for that, it’s very spacious and is built in an old and traditional style with lots of wood.  The service was friendly.

In the Altstadt, we went to a very cute chocolate café-shop called ‘Gut und Gerne’. We just had our tea and were still full so we just went to the shop next door (they are connected). I bought a lot of chocolate. There were a lots of chocolate kinds which I hadn’t seen before and which looked so good. Drink chocolate with superfoods. Instant buy.

We enjoyed the evening view of the river and the port, and when walking through the streets of the city, we had a pleasant surprise.  Some street performer was blowing a lot of soap bubbles. The air was full of it. It was so nice to watch and see and made us excited. We stood there watching for 10 minutes maybe.

We ate dinner at a Japanese ramen shop ‘Takumi’ in the Zimmermanstrasse. The staff spoke Japanese and the shop itself had a Japanese feeling. They had a vegetarian Ramen, which I took. It tasted good!! I really liked it. The taste is about the same as a Ramen-shop in Japan. A recommendation!

The next day, we ate breakfast in ‘Bakery My Heart’. This bakery is very Japanese, and so is it’s bread (‘pan’ in Japanese… I don`t really call it bread like I eat in Europe…) . There was a lot of bread with matcha in it. I took a twist ‘pan’ with matcha and ogura red beans in it. My friend had a curry ‘pan’, a matcha cream filled horn and we shared a pumpkin ‘korokke’ (croquette-ish) (you see now what I mean that it`s not really bread like the bread you usually eat?). She drank a Hoji-cha and I had a Matcha Latte (My matcha addiction is real). The staff also spoke Japanese and was friendly. The shop itself was very clean you could also eat in, which we did. It was soooo good. Another recommendation!

We strolled through the Japanese and Korean supermarkets and through a `Karstadt`, next to the church we went in. For lunch, we went to ‘Waraku’, an Onigiri (three cornered rice ball) shop. There are also some lunch packages (bento) and a lunch set (2 onigiri and a miso soup for 6 euros). We both ate one onigiri and it was soooo good. I took the avocado wasabi soya one and it was heavenly. The staff was also so nice and she complimented my Japanese when there were no clients except for us at a moment. I was so happy. Her German also was so good. Oh … I forgot complimenting her for it (she also is on an exchange year in Germany).

Then it slowly was time to go to Köln. We took the train and arrived about 40 minutes later. We put our luggage in the locker (which was expensive, 2 euros for 2 hours, 7 euros for 24 hours, and not even everything could get in it, so I was carrying our heavy makeup bag the whole day. I think I made a lot of sour faces). And we went to the Dom, just next to the station (they really know how to place a station in Koeln.. ). My friend arrived at her peak of excitement I guess. The building is built in fine gothic style and I think you just have to feel impressed by it (my excitement was a bit muted because of my luggage though… ). We entered and took a lot of pictures (I mean she did) and then we walked through the crowded shopping street. At the end we went to the Starbucks near the station because we needed to go to the toilet (we tried several McDonalds but somehow weren`t lucky in finding places… because my friend wanted some free wi-fi as well to contact her family) and then we made our way to the station.

We ate dinner at `Dean and David` in the station. We both took the yellow curry with tofu, a very filling meal although the size was just right. I drank a Ginger Honey tea with it and also bought a smoothie for later. But for some reason my stomach started hurting. So we searched for a toilet. One expensive euro to go to the toilet, which wasn’t even very clean. Anyway. Our train had about 15 minute delay but we could easily ride it. The best thing, we booked first class. Like a boss. But we couldn`t really enjoy the space in front of our feet because we placed our luggage in front of us (too heavy to lift up) but the staff came and spoiled everyone with milk and honey bonbons. Fancy.

This is the end of my Germany trip. I really had a nice time and I learned some new things. I am so happy and delighted everything went well and mostly according to plan. Mission, accomplished.

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