I have just arrived home from a fantastically wacky holiday in Northern Germany with my dad. I’m now really looking forward to writing about it, because it was such a strange week! The area is virtually unknown to tourists, but I found it a welcome alternative to the dirndl – wearing, wealthy Southern Germany.
Getting there was quite a challenge, because the only cheap flight was to Düsseldorf Weeze, which is nowhere near the city! It took us a whole day to get from the airport to Essen, where we were staying, so we only had time for a quick meal.
Our second day, April 10, was the real start of our trip. To ease us into the industrial area, we went to Bochum – Dalhausen Railway Museum. We took the “Schweneschnäuchen” or “Pig’s Snout” train to get there, which was a highlight for me because it was just so bizarre. It’s essentially a bus that works on the train track, and gets the name from its unusual shape at the front.
The museum itself is really interesting to wander around, because the warehouses, sheds and turntables have just been left as they are. Everything’s pretty rusty but most of the trains themselves are beautiful. The sheds dimly lit by natural light, so it’s a bit unnerving to wander so close to the massive steam engines! Although it was a fantastic museum, with lots to see, I did find the WWII trains very unsettling.
In the afternoon, we went to the Folkwang Museum, which has a lovely collection of 19th and 20th century fine art. It was really the building we went to see, because it was designed by the British architect David Chipperfield in 2007. I really enjoyed both the building and the collection, but the gallery is so difficult to navigate, we ended up walking a lot further than we intended!
Every day in Germany should finish up with a decent beer. Despite being an area which tends to reject the traditions of the South, the Ruhrgebiet has some wonderful (and cheap, because it’s not touristy) Brauereien and Bier halle. We ended the day in the Dampf Brauerie in Essen. The plates of food were massive and really well-priced!
Writing this is making me wish I was back in Germany! Had such a great time, I’ll make sure I write up the rest of the things we did later on.