As I was going through the pictures on my camera yesterday, I realized that I never shared our layover in Germany with you all. We were only there for 24 hours, but we ended up having quite the adventure anyways. This is how it all started.
We’ve flown in and out of the Dusseldorf airport many times. It’s one of our favorite via points because the airport Sheraton is nice, very convenient to the hotel (it’s attached to the parking garage) and there is a small grocery store in the airport where we can buy kid-friendly provisions and take them back to our room.
The last time that the Irishman came with us to Dusseldorf (when Parker was 6 months old), we spent some time in neighboring Cologne. It’s a gorgeous city and it’s famous for the Dom cathedral. While we were there, the Irishman insisted on going to a small local place that was known for its beer (it’s a microbrewery). To be known for your beer in Germany is kind of a big deal since ALL of Germany is known for its beer. Armed with a map, we headed off from the train station with Parker in his stroller to find this restaurant.
And it was everything the Irishman had hoped it would be. The end.
Well, it was the end of the story for that trip. Fast forward 5 years to this trip. So we land in Dusseldorf and check into our hotel around noon. Since we had the whole day ahead of us (we weren’t leaving until the next morning at 9am), we decided to take the train into Cologne (about a 45 minute ride) to spend the day. And here’s the best part. The Irishman wanted to eat at that same restaurant, but he couldn’t remember the name. Or the address.
And this is where you are all in awe of my wifely support. When he tells me that he thinks he remembers how to get there, I agree to follow him. Mind you, he is very good with directions and has a freakishly good memory, but with two kids in two, it was still a total leap of faith to walk a mile or two to a place that he hasn’t been to in 5 years.
But first, we visited the Dom cathedral to take in all of its Gothic splendor.
And so, with the Dom visit behind us, we set off in search of the elusive restaurant. As we were walking down the boulevard, the Irishman kept saying, “Doesn’t this look familiar to you?” Um, no. The last time I was here, I was a sleep-deprived hot mess still nursing a non-sleeping child. I could barely find the toilet in our hotel room in those days, so I certainly wasn’t clued in enough to notice landmarks along a scenic 2 mile walk.
But, he clearly knew where he was going so we trudged onwards. Well, he knew where he was going until he made a wrong turn and we went a quarter mile or so in the wrong direction. At that point, Parker’s feet needed a break so I handed Lexi to the Irishman and (praying that it wouldn’t break) I let Parker hop into the stroller for a bit.
He proclaimed that stroller riding was, “Excellent.”
Once we backtracked and found our way again (or once the Irishman claimed that he did and I followed), we were back on track. Then, 5 minutes later, he recognized the sign outside of the restaurant and he let out a whoop of glee.
Seriously, he was so proud of himself. And okay, I’ll admit, that it’s kind of awesome that he can go someplace once, half a decade before, and then walk there on instinct.
So we went in and sat at a random table in the courtyard. And get this: We had the SAME WAITER that we did 5 years before. No joke! When we sat down, the Irishman whispered to me, “He looks really familiar. I think that’s our same waiter.” I looked at our waiter closely, but since I’m entirely too introspective to notice faces (or street signs or landmarks), I was no help. I did, however, remember that our waiter warmed a bottle for Parker 5 years earlier and commented on the fact that he had no problem doing so because he had a gaggle of children himself.
When he came to get our orders, I asked, “Do you have, like, 6 children?” He looked at me like the crazy person that I am and said, “I have 7. Why do you ask?” And then the Irishman and I started talking over each other explaining that we had been there 5 years before and yadda yadda and we basically sounded like the nutso American tourists that most Germans assume us to be.
And all was right in the world. And we drank beer.
Oh as an aside on the beer – in this particular restaurant, they refill your beer automatically until you put a coaster on top of your glass indicating that you’re done.
That’s right folks, they just assume that you want to drink copious amounts of their delicious brew. In our case, they were right.
So after that, we walked the mile or two back to the train station. I took a photograph of the intersection where the Irishman made the wrong turn so that if we come back in another 5 years, he won’t make the same mistake.
I should add that we weren’t remotely worried about getting lost on the way back to the train station. That’s because the Dom Cathedral (which is adjacent to the train station) is impossible to miss from anywhere in the city.
We finally hopped on the train (during rush hour) and headed back to our hotel. By the way, it’s a good thing that I took the following picture when we were departing that morning because we completely neglected to write down the name of our stop. I guess I pulled my weight during this excursion after all.
All in all, it was a great day. The Irishman was happy and fulfilled, we had a tummy full of beer and German food and we didn’t get lost for more than 10 minutes. I’d call that a success.