Friday, April 1, 2016

Down time in Düsseldorf.

Here we are during our first real day in Düsseldorf.
Yesterday was all about arriving, via train, into the heart of this city and getting to Merryn and Kieran's place and napping and settling down after a long day and a half in the air.
Before I ramble on about my daughters home, I will elaborate on some on the enjoyment we had on our last leg yesterday. As I had mentioned, we were given an upgrade to Business Class and like all human beings were more than happy to accept.
We each had our own little pod with a seat and bedside table, equipped with soft drinks and water. We had a mattress on our seat and lovely thick blankets to keep us warm. Even the earphones were superior quality to those in Economy Class. We were given eye pads and socks too to keep us amused. Our television screens were larger also and on arrival we were offered a glass of Veuve Cliquot champagne, (so the bottle said), which was delicious and for me, head spinning, I was so tired!
I didn't have to worry about the person behind me, or live in fear about the person in front of me which was lovely too.  My chair had three settings, one of which reclined to a bed. The food was extremely plentiful and delicious and if I had wanted, I could have wandered down to the bar at the back, had a cocktail or two, even a G&T if so desired and fed up on pies, and petite bread rolls and salad, nibbly things, scones, cakes and biscuits but food was the last thing on my mind at that point so, I merely looked as I waited to go to the loo.
We both managed to fit in a little extra sleep during that leg but I was impatient to disembark and see our daughter, so my mind was elsewhere.
Finally the plane came to a stop....on the ground, fortunately. There had been a little turbulence at various stages on the journey. You have to admire the cabin crew who must learn how to handle liquids and food during such times as not one drop or morsel was spilt as my stomach lurched.
Anyhow, I digress. We got off the plane, joined the queue to go through passport control. The young woman who inspected my passport had not smiled the whole time I stood waiting to have my turn at being checked into the country.
"What are you doing here in Düsseldorf?", she asked of me with nary a smile. I am on holidays I replied. She then broke into the most beautiful smile as I handed her my passport. She skimmed through, looking and feeling the texture of the blank pages. She then said "I just love your Australian passports. They are so lovely, with nice paper!"
I suppose the people behind the desk there get to see and handle many many passports and I am possibly being a little presumptuous when I presume our Australian passports must be of a better quality than some they get to see on a regular basis.
Anyhow, from there we wandered over to where we presumed our luggage would arrive. We stood with many many others around a carousel and watched as piece by piece was taken by those around us, until the carousel stopped and we were left there with no luggage. Panic settled in very nicely then around the heart as we wondered what to do, so we walked over to a group of men in uniform who looked like they might be waiting to do some security control. As neither of us speak German, we asked if anyone spoke English. Quite possibly, the gent who replied spoke better English than we did and when we told him of our plight, he informed us we had been standing at the wrong carousel and we should be at one on the opposite side of the building. Panic then did a little flip and disappeared and we then walked over to where we should have been, to find our bags were placidly going round and round the carousel, waiting patiently for us to claim them!
It was then a matter of walking straight through the declaration area out to the throng of people, some with balloons, some with cards, all with anxious smiles waiting for someone they knew and maybe loved. I skimmed the crowd looking for a particular well loved face and it was as we were walking along that I saw her and all concern then disappeared as Merryn and I hugged. I cried just a little I was so pleased to see her and all was good with the world again.
It was then just a matter of riding down an escalator to a waiting train which took us probably three stops from the airport to where we once again, disembarked. Up a flight of stairs we went then we were on Birken Strasse before we knew it.

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