Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Off the Road Again

Back from the latest section of our German Tour! This time it was the states North Rhine-Westphalia and Baden-Würtemburg, and more precisely the cities Siegen, Düsseldorf and Mannheim which were provided with doses of the diddlies.

In brief:

Siegen: ugh

Düsseldorf: wow

Mannheim: erm, ugh

Little bit less brief:

Siegen: reminded me of the centres of those English cities which were "redeveloped" in the 60s and which consequently gave birth to the expression "concrete jungle". Apparently Hitler was made an honorary citizen of Siegen - although I don't suppose they had much choice. Fittingly, and tellingly, the city is twinned with Leeds!

Düsseldorf: bloody hell, really nice! There were elements which reminded me of Liverpool and others which reminded me of Thessaloniki! Mad night life in the Altstadt, which was still going on as we trooped back to our apartment at 4 am, and, despite the copious amounts of alcohol which seemed to have been consumed, all very peaceful and good-natured. I would definitely go back for a weekend for some proper research.

Mannheim: heavily bombed in the war and rebuilt on a doughnut-brain, American 'grid system'; giving rise to romantic street names such as K7 or A3. Maybe it's psychological but it seemed to me for this reason a sort of windy, soulless city - however I have to admit the people we met were very hospitable.

We got back on Sunday and I am still exhausted.

But at least I have another day before putting off my rock star head and putting on my author head to visit the Frankfurt Book Fair on Thursday and Friday.

Ah, and there was time, as we were driving in and out of the Altstadt in Düsseldorf lost, for me to get in another Sparwitz.

We had heard the news that the shares of Magners, the Irish cider company, had fallen dramatically.

"Oh yeah, I know what that's due to...", I said to the other 3 guys in the band who looked at me in astonishment, knowing my gossamer grasp of stock market ins and outs.

"Yes, indeed... that's a clear case of insider trading..."

....oh, COME ON ! ! !

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