Dusseldorf, Germany 22-23 October, 2011
The bus rolled up to the hotel sometime after 2 in the morning of the 22nd. The first thing I was greeted with on entering my room was perfumed room freshener so strong and sickly sweet it must have been pumped in by the gallon. Where the hell is the fan and temp control to get some air moving in here? Then I remembered the last time we stayed here, everything functions from several touch pads, from the curtains to lights to the do not disturb request. Sounds straight forward, but these tricked out rooms never are, at least not for me. For starters I couldn't get on the internet via the code that was assigned, after several attempts I received another code that worked but the signal was fluctuating so badly I couldn't stay on line long enough to complete a phone conversation home. Now 3 in the morning and with little patience left I began a frustrating treasure hunt trying to get the room lights shut down to go to sleep. Eventually, I managed to get every light out save for one blinding little halogen number over the mini bar. I went as far as pulling a chair over, clambering up to the ceiling to see if I could unscrew the goddamn thing. No. Another stab at the touch pad eventually revealed a master icon that killed everything. Sorry, technology's not always your friend, there's absolutely no reason for things to be this complicated. As for the internet, one had to re-log in every time you wanted to use the thing. I reckon somebody had to sign off on this system when the hotel was deciding what carrier to go with. How can anyone think that's convenient? Rant over, once I'd sorted how to deal with things, the hotel was fine and the room comfortable. As for the internet I found sitting in the bathroom yielded the best signal.
Got a few hours sleep, some coffee then headed down to check out the gym, a well equipped room, TV off, no music, good assortment of machines and free weights, etc. Got a great 90 minutes down there. Things are looking up.
Another day off today, the sun shining and the temps mild. Out the door and to the right of the hotel are large department stores and an indoor mall, to the left of the hotel is the old town, altstadt. Dusseldorf is Germany's seventh largest city, a financial, business and fashion centre located on the Rhine River. The old town was bustling with folks shopping and enjoying a sunny Saturday out. So many cafes, shoppes, restaurants and bars to fall into. Every type of food you could imagine most with outdoor seating and area heaters for the cool weather. Dusseldorf is known for it's altbier, old style beer. It's similar to an ale, though served colder than in Britain and has more carbonation. It also tastes distinctly German due the malt and hops that are used. An ale differs from a lager in the way it's fermented and the length and temperature it does so. Ales ferment quickly at room temperature and is then bottled or kegged. Lager is a German word meaning, to store. Lager beers are fermented that way for many weeks in cold temperatures. The lager-ed beer tends to be lighter and crisper tasting. Sorry this all terribly boring and a hold over from my days of brewing beer many years ago. The upshot being, altbier is delicious and Dusseldorf has no shortage of altbier breweries and places that serve the wonderful brew.
I spent several hours wandering round the altstadt, stopping for a curry wurst, a sliced sausage sprinkled with curry powder and doused in tomato sauce, Germany's original fast food. Back to the hotel for a couple of hours before meeting up with the boys a trip back to the old town in search of a wienerschnitzel and beer. We ended up in a very crowded restaurant/bar, great atmosphere and beer, but couldn't get a food order in to save our lives. After a couple of rounds we left and wandered into a little sausage bar, gathered round a counter with stools and devoured baskets of wurst slathered in German mustard, chips and beer. The feeding frenzy over, we spilled out into the street for another couple altbier then back to the hotel for an early night.
The 23rd was a show day in Oberhausen at the Konig-Pilsner Arena. A sold out 12,000, our first show this tour in Germany and a great one. Our 70 minutes on stage seems like 10. Mark returned to play several songs with Bob and Co. including, Leopard Skin Pillbox Hat, It Ain't Me Babe and Willie McTell which was fantastic with Donnie Herron on banjo.
We piled into the bus for a short trip to Frankfurt where we'll spend the night, have another day off then play the following day.