Herbstferien – A visit from Mum and Dad, a trip to Wuppertal and a little bit more exploring

The end of my 2 week Herbstferien is almost upon us and it will be time to go back to school for the 6 weeks leading up to Christmas. My Herbstferien has been great, incredibly busy what with my trip back home, Heidelberg and in the last week my parent’s visit. Their short stay was also packed full of trips to meet up with family friends and relatives, but I was also fed with lots of delicious food and it was nice to have company and to be kept busy.

Whilst they were here we managed a few little trips out of the city including the short train ride to the neighbouring town of Wuppertal. Leaving my quarter of Düsseldorf, we were soon travelling through farmland and the countryside and in just under half an hour arrived in Wuppertal, the largest ‘city’ in the Bergisches Land. Wuppertal is known for its steep slopes and its suspension railway, the Schwebebahn (translates as floating tram). Unfortunately the day we chose to visit didn’t make our trip all too exciting. On Sundays, shops in Germany are closed and the city were doing repair work on the Schwebebahn, which we had been hoping to ride. Typical Dovaston luck!

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Schwebebahn tracks – the Wupper Valley is so steep it made more sense to build a suspension railway track where effectively the train rides upside down, which follows the river than to create any tram lines on the streets

Whether or not we found everything the town had to offer I am not sure, but it seems a bit ‘backwards’ compared to the ‘bright lights’ of Düsseldorf and we struggled even to find somewhere to sit and enjoy a bite to eat. At long last we came across the Shopping Centre which promptly opened at midday. Once inside it was a little creepy as most of the lights were off and no shops open. Finally, once we were up on the 3rd floor we found an Ice Cream parlour where we sat and devoured 3 pieces of ice cream cake, a strange idea, but one that works!

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Ice cream cakes

The rest of the week was spent in the city and also exploring the area in which I live. It’s funny how when you start living somewhere you don’t really force yourself to go out and explore, so having some visitors to stay forced me out to look around.. and it was a very pleasant surprise. The quarter of the city in which I live, as I think I’ve already mentioned used to be a city in it’s own right – in fact, it’s even older than Düsseldorf itself. There used to be an old Glass Factory, which is now being redeveloped into an area of brand new flats and the quarter subsequently houses Düsseldorf’s oldest church.

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There is also a sweet old square and after being nosey we found the Quadenhof, a brick building built in the Middle Ages which was built as a residence for a very rich family back in the 13th Century. Today it is a private home.

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The remaining days were spent in the city eating good food and doing some browsing. A new department store Breuninger has opened up by Koenisgallee so naturally we had to go and have a look. It is very upmarket, packed with top designer labels and very chic clothes – to put that all into perspective, I found a fur coat with the price tag of 33,800 euros. It’s safe to say I won’t be going there to do my Christmas shopping.. sorry folks!

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I bid my parents farewell on Wednesday evening and am now slowly trying to get back into my daily regime and also get used to the quiet flat. Although on Monday I should be heading back to work at school, the Language Assistants of the area of Düsseldorf will be heading across the river to Stadtteil Oberkassel where for three days we will be taking part in a course. I’ve just seen the agenda and it looks good fun, with a city tour, a few excursions and lots of free time for socialising.

Until my next update, Bis bald!