Early last month, I was invited to discover the city of Düsseldorf and to experience the carnival. With it being early February, I knew the weather would likely be grey and miserable so ditched my Canon and took along a £4.99 Fujifilm QuickSnap with the aim of getting some cool shots. The last time I remember using a film camera was on a school trip at aged 11, before I then got a pink digital camera for my birthday. Nothing compares to the excitement of having to wait a few weeks after returning from a holiday or trip to see what your photos have turned out like.
The carnival was working itself throughout the city for the time that we spent there, which is best described as four days of partying in the streets. Germans flood the city dressed in costumes, and it’s the best time to experience the true madness of Düsseldorf in carnival without feeling like a tourist. It was my first visit to Germany, and after developing a strong bond to Altbier and the euro trash tunes blaring through the bars, I felt blended in with the locals sooner than later.
Finishing with the procession of floats, we were invited aboard to throw sweets to everyone we passed by, which had me feeling like I was on a sugar supplier power trip. There’s something about chucking packs of Haribo to hundreds of children that feeds the soul.
Five things to do in Düsseldorf
Eat at Nooij for Instagrammable avocado on toast and incredible cakes, along with Sattgrüen for a delicious vegan buffet at lunch. Düsseldorf was brimming with trendy eateries with an equal measure of traditional places to grab a beer and chips in. I’m still craving many of the meals I ate there while writing this.
Visit the K21 museum and take a climb on the In Orbit installation, or go for a walk hunting for street art. If the weather is drizzly outside, I always embrace my inner art nerd and take shelter in a museum or art gallery. In recent years I’ve tried to make a habit of visiting a museum in each new city that I go to.
Book an Altbier safari and be taken to the favourite microbreweries of all the locals. I’m unashamedly a beer by the pint girl, it’s probably the northerner in me, and to visit traditional microbreweries where you have to actually signal that you’ve had your fill by placing a beer mat on top of your glass is my idea of heaven.
Stay at Hotel Friends for an affordable and quirky place to sleep with a great breakfast selection to wake up to. They even have themed rooms if you’re in the mood for something different.
Explore the Japanese quarter. The restaurants and shops are all completely authentic, to the point of all being written in Japanese. Every time I walked past the most popular noodle bar, Takumi, it would have a trail of customers queueing up to get in for ramen and I’m still kicking myself that I didn’t have the chance to venture in.
To get to Düsseldorf and back, I took flights from my home city of Norwich and changed at Amsterdam. The whole journey was a breeze and is something I highly recommend if you aren’t local to direct flights.
Until next time, Germany!