Day 39-43: Dwarfed in Düsseldorf

Frank Gehry’s Media Hafen along the Rhine

After learning about all the fairy tales in class to conjugate the past tense in German, I was wondering if I hadn’t shrunk myself. At the place where I am staying, the owner trains horses and is about 6′ tall. She fitted out the apartment to suit her height. The kitchen table is at my chest height. Standing up (because there are no chairs this high, not even bar stools), I can slurp soup directly from the bowl on the table top without having to lift it.

I also need a stool to get to the bottom shelf of the overhead kitchen cabinets. I wonder if I’m not going to face an avalanche of dishes stored over my head every time I reach for one. It’s a pretty funny scene after the third or fourth time around when I try to cut corners. I really feel like a dwarf.

Speaking of dwarves, we learned all about Grimm’s Fairy Tales, Snow White, Sleeping Beauty, and Little Red Riding Hood in my German class. Don’t forget that these stories all come from Germany. The Schwarzwald, or Black Forest, isn’t far from here either. I always thought that the stories had a dark and ominous tone to them. I never understood why little kids were always getting lost in the forest. But not to worry. Walt Disney borrowed them, sanitized them, and made them safe harbors for the Disney Empire.

S-L-O-W Living

We talk a lot about slow food but not slow living. I have spent a lot of time meandering through parks here, partly because you run into one in any direction before you know it. The city parks are incredibly accessible, well-maintained, and beautiful here. Because Dusseldorf is along the banks of the Rhine River, it is relatively flat. A lot of bikes travel at a reasonable pace and share the footpath with pedestrians. It reminds everyone to slow down. Maybe it’s time to think about slow living.

Here are some views of one of the beautiful parks in the heart of the city.

I’m blasting a series of shots of buildings, sights, and details here:

Below: Daniel Liebskind’s masterpiece of the Ko and Shadow-Arkaden, a mixed use office and retail complex. The exterior on the Nordliche Dussel (a small lake) side is mesmerizing. The rear wavy-gravy houses Apple and Tesla, and has a great plaza for people-watching. I even managed to break out pen and paper to do some sketching.

Now I know and agree why Düsseldorf is deemed one of the ten most livable cities in the world.

PS. For those of you in San Francisco, you can see “Young Goethe in Love”, a great movie classic, at the Goethe Institute Thursday, May 25! It’s not too late! Check it out!

8 thoughts on “Day 39-43: Dwarfed in Düsseldorf”

  1. A livable city indeed! Parks looks so beautiful and so green! Very interesting architecture too, especially Frank Gehry’s Media Hafen am Rhine, Ko and Shadow-Arkaden, and the wavy buildings.


    1. Taking the class has deterred me from enjoying Düsseldorf to its fullest. I feel that it would be a worthwhile place to come back to. I’m already feeling a bit nostalgic for it. In case you missed it earlier, Düsseldorf and 4 other German speaking cities (Frankfurt, Munich, Zurich and Vienna–the top of the list) are in the top 10. SF made the list too, but the only one in the US ( but NYC being the perfect 100 points for the survey). Germany has the lowest hours worked per week (around 26) due to many holidays and vacation time, but one of the highest economies in the world, so it’s worth comparing quality of life issues with other countries.


  2. i LOVE the avenue of trees!!! I want to stroll through there. I can feel the emerald green air surrounding me just looking at the picture.

    And CHEERS to slow living. I am totally up for that.

    I so enjoy your adventures!

    sending hugs, pam


    1. I almost wanted to tag you in this post, as I knew you would appreciate this picture! I thought about you as I strolled through the parks. You would love this city. I could easily go 3 miles in one direction and felt so energized by the soothing environment. I even thought I could bicycle around here as I watched others. But hey, where you live ain’t too shabby either!


  3. Liebe Viktoria,

    Eine kurze Nachricht aus New York. Danke für deine Email. Ich hoffe deine Prüfungen gut gegangen sind. Bist du jetzt mit den fertig sein? Wenn wir wieder in Kalifornien sind freue ich mich die ganze Geschichte über das Kurz zu hören.

    Hier in New York ist das Leben nicht langsam aber ganz schnell!! Museen die ganzen Tage, Freunde besuchen, Konzerte und Schauspielen in den Abende. Fast keine Zeit über meine Aktivitäten zu schreiben, und gar keine um meine Freunde zu schreiben 😦 .

    Bist du jetzt in China? Oder bleibst du noch ein paar Tage in Deutschland? Irgendwo, hoffe ich dass du schöne Zeiten hast.

    Jetzt muss ich fliegen! Han bei der Met, Jawlensky im Neue Galerie, Seurat wieder im Met und dann Abendessen mit meinen Kusinen!

    Liebe Grüße


    On Wed, May 24, 2017 at 6:20 PM, Travels with Myself and Others wrote:

    > VickieVictoria posted: ” After learning about all the fairy tales in class > to conjugate the past tense in German, I was wondering if I hadn’t shrunk > myself. At the place where I am staying, the owner trains horses and is > about 6′ tall. She fitted out the apartment to suit her h” >


    1. Hallo Jim
      Ich freue mich über deine Bemerkung und ich freue mich auf deine Bemerkung!! Ich habe gelernt, das diese beide Sätze sind nicht gleich!!
      Trotzdem, ja, mein Kurs beenden ist. Ich habe noch nicht gehört von meine Prüfung.
      Doch, NYC könnte nie langsam sein! Es bedeutet SCHNELL!! Aber es ist auch OK, ich kann schizophrenisch werden sein. Die Neue Gallerie ist eine meiner am liebsten Museen. (..oder..eeny meeny…??)
      Bis Slower..


  4. Hi Vicky, we passed Dusseldorf on our Viking Cruise. I originally planned to spend a week at Dusseldorf Goethe after vacation but I planned poorly. My Goethe experience in Frankfurt had students comming and going all the time. I wanted flexible schedule so I waited untill March to register. I was disappointed to learn Goethe eliminated​ short courses.

    I did get a chance to tour a very interesting and super clean bus repair shop and visit Neermoor where my Great grandparents were born. I rented a car and cruised the country side. The village hotels and restaurants required German giving me a chance to practice by necessity. I’m hoping to spend a month with Goethe later this year.. you’ve been to several locations, do you have a recommendation?
    Looking forward to reading about your new adventures.


    1. Hi Wayne,
      It sounds like you had a great and productive trip, especially practicing your German and visiting your family heritage site. Driving through the German countryside is a dream. Sorry to have missed you in Dusseldorf. It’s a great place to study for a month. It gives you all the conveniences and modern living, with German culture all around. There are fewer Americans in Dusseldorf, it seems, and more Asian influence. That was quite exciting for me. It was hard to get away from Americans in Berlin, but the cultural program there was fantastic if you make use of it. Dresden is very lovely, with fewer American influences and plenty of culture. So, depending on what suits your tolerance for American compatriots, each site has different degrees combined with the amount of German language, art, music and culture exposure. I recommend Dresden and Berlin for culture, Dresden and Dusseldorf for learning the language. The student mix is also important. Let me know if you have more detailed questions, and I’d be happy to further advise you.
      By the way, you mentioned that you became a Pretty Yende fan. She found my comments about her on Day 19: Koln, so take a look at her response!!


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