Meine erste Woche in Düsseldorf was filled with more adventure, fun, and laughs than I could have imagined, both in and out of class. It always helps to have wonderful instructors as well as fellow classmates that are as interested in making the most of every moment of studying abroad. While we spend the morning learning about Germany’s, especially Düsseldorf’s and the surrounding cities’, culture and improving our German language skills, the evenings are spent exploring everything this diverse country has to offer. Below are just a few highlights from my first week in Germany.
River Cruise on the Rhine
What better way to enjoy the city on the Rhine than on a cruise down said river? The hour-long cruise was a nice way to get a fabulous view of Düsseldorf, especially the Medienhafen.
K21 Museum- The Orbit Exhibit
During some evening down time, a few classmates and I decided to get a head start on our project so we headed across the Rhinekniebrücke (a bridge) towards the K21 museum (Officially Die Kunstsammlung Nordrhein-Westfalen K21 am Ständehaus). We had heard of an exhibit, The Orbit by Tómas Saraceno, that some of last year’s study abroad students had participated in at K21 and, to our surprise and excitement, there were still a few days left to experience the exhibit. The exhibit involved getting into jumpsuits and walking around suspended netting made from steel wiring!
I’m not much of the adventurous type and I may have panicked a few times, especially at one point when I was walking around the middle of the net with nothing to hold on to, but I managed about half the time allowed on the net. A very exhilarating experience!
We spent the last day of our first week of class on a group field trip to visit the nearby city of Köln (Cologne), Düsseldorf’s rival in everything from fußball to Kultur and, of course, Bier! There, we got to see the amazing Gothic architecture of the Kölner Dom (Cologne Cathedral).
I was convinced by a few classmates that it was worth the 500-step climb up the cramped, spiral staircase to see panoramic views atop the Cathedral. Half an hour, a bottle of water, aching calves, burning lungs, and encouraging friends was what it took to see, perhaps, a once in a life-time sight!
Koblenz & Bonn
Weekends are our free time (once homework is done, of course!) to explore Germany. This first weekend, I went with a few friends a few hours away to the city of Koblenz.
Once in Koblenz, after a relaxing ride through the German country side, we went to the Deutsches Eck, where der Rhine and die Mosel rivers meet. At the location, there is a huge equestrian monument commemorating Kaiser-Wilhelm-Denkmal (Emperor Welhelm I), the German emperor during the Franco-Prussian war. Climbing the steps to the monument gives a really lovely view of the corner where the rivers meet.
Afterwards, we decided to take a cable car up and across the Rhine River to the Festung Ehrenbreitstein (the Ehrenbreitstein Fortress) that lays atop a mountain on the bank of the Rhine. While we didn’t get to explore much of the fortress due to time constraints, we got stunning, panoramic views of the city of Koblenz.
On the way back to Düsseldorf, my friends and I stopped halfway at the city of Bonn, with the intention of visiting Beethoven’s house. The home still had the original floors, which creaked loudly as we meandered room to room looking at things such as some replicas of Beethoven’s compositions, his writing and travel desks, his instruments, paintings of him and people who influenced his life, and more. Taking pictures was prohibited inside but I got a nice snapshot of the exterior of the house. We also found the Haribo (Gummy Bears) store in Bonn!
I have experienced so much in the short week I’ve been in Germany that I wish I had an infinite amount of time (and better WiFi!) to be able to share it all. My next post will hopefully be soon!