On Sundays, the shops are closed in Germany. Although at first we thought this would be difficult for us to adjust to, it’s really no problem, as long as you’ve gone grocery shopping on Saturday.
(if you’re desperate, or are coming home from a trip away, there’s a Rewe at the airport that’s open on Sundays–in fact all the shops at our awesome airport are open on Sundays).
If you have not planned ahead with the groceries, most restaurants are open, as are cultural attractions, the pool, and all the trains and buses run fairly often.
Sundays are reserved for being with your family, church (for some), a family dinner and rest. In our case we are just settling in to the ‘rest’ aspect of the day, having been so busy getting our act together.
One recent Sunday when Jeff was away, D & I pedaled up (way, way up – mostly uphill!) to the Wildpark at Grafenburger Wald, which is a large forested green area with a natural ‘zoo.’ It just so happened there was a large kid-focused education event going on there so it was quite packed. It was a beautiful fall day that turned somewhat hot, and so we were forced to wait in line, sun beating down on us, with tens of others, for the ever-required ice cream cone. We couldn’t get very close to the animals, who were clearly uncomfortable in the heat, so we vow to return in the dead of winter (this time via bus).
(however had we not been cycling, I wouldn’t have come across Frank Zappa Strasse!)
The wider attractions of Grafenburger Wald itself includes a golf course and a grass racehorse track. We plan to attend a race while the weather is still good. Who knows, maybe D will place a winning bet?
On another Sunday, we went to K21, one of the major art museums here in this modern-art mecca. They have an interactive installation there by Tomas Saraceno, that lets visitors walk above the great entry way of the museum, as if they are ‘in orbit’, journeying through the heavens. D really wanted to participate in but alas the minimum age is 12. Instead we settled for the intriguing and inspirational light and sound work of artist Cartsen Nikolai.
K21 have a Munch show that has just opened, so that may be on the docket for a future Sunday. D has never seen famous paintings in person, but I have explained to him it is quite a different experience. I think it will hold his interest, at least for a short while. If not, there’s always the museum cafe, where one can have a cozy lunch in a bright and cheerful dining room overlooking the gardens.
On a recent Saturday, I took some time to look closer at the array of intersting products at the grocery store’s dairy isle. ‘Jogurt’ I understand, Quark I think I understand from past trips to Germany, but what are all those other things?? So I bought a bunch of dairy products and on Sunday we opened them all and did taste tests to identify them!
We learned that ‘schmand’ is like what I would call fromage blanc – a rich dessert yogurt-like treat that you add some sugar to. So, so good…and must be crazy fattening. Frischkäse is cream cheese, Körniger Frischkäse is cottage cheese. Speisequark is like a yogurt used in baking, kind of like the Italian mascarpone cheese. And of course our all time favorite Schlagsahne–whipping cream! ‘Sahne’ is often an option when purchasing cake or ice cream; if someone asks you “Mit sahne?” be sure to retort with a hearty, “Ja, bitte!”, unless you are Jeff, who bizarrely does not care for whipped cream.
Düsseldorf has several excellent indoor swimming pools and saunas, one just a 5 minute cycle ride from our house. We have gone to the swimming pool several times (sauna still to be visited; no children allowed). There are several children’s pools, a sports pool, and a lap pool, along with several hot tubs, not to mention a long twisty tubular waterslide, complete with lights inside!
At the lap pool there is a sign that shows you how to circle swim, following the ‘Autobahn swimming’ route, with an separate inner and outer lane).
This is the first pool we have visited where D is not instantly freezing, blue lipped and trembling. Here, children are allowed in the hot tubs, so if he does get chilly, he can warm up! I don’t know why we don’t allow this in our home state.
I’m keen to try out all the other pools and saunas in town, including one with a salt cave, where you sit in a dark room surrounded by air-cleaning detoxification mineral salts.
(as a side note: I am building up the courage to attend the local Turkish hammam, where for 50 euros you get a 4 hour session including massages. Would love to do this with a friend so here’s an open invite!)
On an early Sunday here, when the summer was still raging, we went to a local lake to swim. It wasn’t the best lake for swimming (crowded, cold, lots of algae) but it was still a nice field trip.
Here is an assortment of Sunday images. No photos allowed in the swimming pool so you’ll have to look at the link above. (note: if you’re using Chrome and get the German version of the webpage, simply right-click and choose Translate to English)