Last weekend I was in Germany. Again. I won't give you a full blow-by-blow account, since I was in Wuppertal. Again. With Mikey. Again. Too much repetition.
One thing was new: a side trip to Dusseldorf. Now that is interesting. Vaguely.
I ache my way out of bed at 9:45. It was quite a late one (for me) last night. I''m so glad Mikey didn't persuade me to have a final drink in the heavy metal club close to our hotel.
Not wanting to make breakfast too much of a rush, I make sure I'm downstairs by 10. That gives me half an hour to gaze at a roll, a slice of cheese and two of salami. I'm in such a hurry, I don't even fire up my laptop.
Where the hell is Mikey? Has he already eaten and buggered off. I collect my sad little breakfast and find a seat. I've plenty of choice as there's only one other person here. I'm just about to finish my coffee, when the lights are switched off. Dead on 10:30. That's sweet of them.
Three people step out of the lift I'll be taking upstairs. Headed for the breakfast room. They'll be lucky. I heard the door being locked behind me when I left.
Still wondering where the hell Mikey is, I wind up my computer. I hope he didn't get into a fight with a biker and is now lying face down in the Wupper.
That's a relief. A recent email from Mikey. He's just about to get a taxi back. Seems he "got lucky", as he put it,mikey last night. But no breakfast this morning.
Mikey is knocking on the door half an hour later. A cheap Weissbier* in his hand. He starts to recount what happened after he left me.
"Don't go into any details."
"I wasn't going to."
Time to plan our day. Not thinking much would be happening in Wuppertal on a Sunday, we opted to spend the day in Düsseldorf instead. Bound to be some life there.
"I fancy one of those Frakadelle thingies you had yesterday. It smelt really good."
On the way home, I'd nipped into the Rewe in the station and bought myself this delicious warm snack.
"Full of meaty goodness." I reply.
We walk into town. It isn't that far to the Hauptbahnhof. 15 minutes or so. 12, if you fancy walking along the motorway-like Bundesallee.
Avoiding the Bundesallee meant we had to pass HA NOI. Which grabbed Mikey's attention. Especially the prices. 5 euros for chicken and noodles. And he hasn't breakfasted.
"I'm having some of that."
The portion is pretty huge. He'd half finished it by this point.
"Have some of the chicken, Ron. I'm done."
I do. It''s pretty nice.
"It would be a shame to waste it."
We get a regional express. Just two stops to Düsseldorf Hauptbahnhof. It takes 20 minutes.
"See where it's going?" I ask Mikey, pointing at the route map over the window. "Venlo."
(That's just over the border in Holland, for those of you not acquainted with Dutch geography. Until I decided to do a pub guide for the whole of the country. Now I can name all the provinces on a map. Venlo is in Limburg.)
I took a couple of crap photos in Wuppertal Hauptbahnhof. This is the better one:
We spend a frustrating time trying to buy a ticket for the U-bahn. No machines on the platform. And on the concourse, there were only ones for trains.
"Sod it. Let's just get on. It's only three stops." I suggest.
Not something I'd usually do. But I really did spend ten minutes trying to find somewhere to buy an effing ticket. And was getting quite thirsty.
I guide us to Zum Uerige first. A favourite of mine. We sit outside.
"We don't sell Weissbier, only Alt."
I can see the disappointment on Mikey's face. And the waiter's, come to think of it. Mikey has to make do with an Alt.
"This is lovely" I enthuse after the first delicious sip. Well, not so much sip as a dirty great slurp.
"Uugh, a horrible bitter taste."
"That's what's good about it."
A clown is bending balloons over the road. He does seem to be bursting an awful lot of balloons. Their corpses are littered around his feet.
I take pity on Mikey after three delicious Alts.Three wonderfully fresh, hoppy wonders.
"Fancy some shots.?" It's me calling for shots this time. Having seen people drinking from shot glasses sat outside the offie opposite Uerige.
I always knew Mikey would be.
But you'll have to wait until next time to learn of all the mayhem when me and Mikey hit Bolkerstrasse. Wild, man, wild.
* There was an amazing deal a few weeks back. 29 cents for a 33 cl bottle of Austrian Weissbier. With labels in Chinese. Nothing at all wrong with it. Just odd that it ended up in Holland.
Alte Freiheit 24,
Berger Str. 1,