A Road to... Where? CrawCrafts Beasties

Düsseldorf Days – A Walk in the Park!

Hello everybody! It’s veeeery nearly the weekend… And between the scorching weather and the lovely time I’ve just spent picking out pictures to use in this post, it really does feel a lot like I’m still on holiday! Hopefully a little of that will radiate out from your screen as you read… Now, let’s catch up with Explorer Beastie and see what he got up to on our first day in Düsseldorf!
Catching up with Explorer Beastie in Nordpark - CrawCrafts BeastiesAha! He appears to have waded into a Beastie-sized jungle. It’s certainly an adventurous way to kick off the holiday! Maybe we’d better stick to the paths, though?
The Entrance to Nordpark, Düsseldorf - CrawCrafts Beasties

When we visited Düsseldorf last spring we were only there for a few days, so we pretty much stayed in the city centre. This time, we took advantage of a bright sunny morning and hopped on the underground to Nordpark – a park made up of a series of themed gardens. Perfect for an early summer walk!

Everyone we saw stopped for a photo op with the fountains, so of course Explorer Beastie wanted to as well.
Explorer Beastie at the Nordpark Fountains - CrawCrafts BeastiesAnd as we ventured in deeper, we found some formal walks to wander along…
Walking in Nordpark, Dusseldorf - CrawCrafts Beasties… And some places where Nature seemed to have gained the upper hand!
Space Left to Nature, Nordpark - CrawCrafts BeastiesExplorer Beastie found some interesting beetles wandering around here… Does anyone know what these are?
Explorer Beastie's Beetles - CrawCrafts BeastiesAnd then, around the next corner, we found ourselves on the other side of the world!
The Japanese Lantern - CrawCrafts BeastiesWelcome to the Japanese Garden!

It’s a beautiful place to relax and stroll through – lush and shady, and there are even koi carp in the pond!
The Japanese Garden, Nordpark, Dusseldorf - CrawCrafts BeastiesSomething you may not know about Düsseldorf is that it has one of Europe’s largest Japanese communities – in fact, the third biggest after London and Paris! In the years after the Second World War, a handful of Japanese firms set up in the city so that they could export metal and machinery from Germany’s industrial heartland back to Japan. Word spread, and by the early 1970s, 200 Japanese companies were registered there, and 2000 Japanese people called Düsseldorf home.

The community continued to grow through the 80s, but numbers dipped a little in the early 90s, when Germany’s capital relocated to Berlin and Japan’s economy took a downturn. However, Japanese people began to drift back to Düsseldorf from the late 90s onwards. Why? Because it already had everything they needed to help them feel at home when working in Europe – a support network for new arrivals, a Buddhist centre, a Japanese school and even a weekly Japanese newspaper!

So, to celebrate this special bond, in 1975 the Japanese garden was gifted to the people of Düsseldorf by the “Japanischer Garten in Düsseldorf” Association, a group of Japanese firms and members of the city’s Japanese community.

I’m not sure that those people could ever have imagined that one day, a little woolly monster from Ireland would be climbing in those perfectly-manicured trees…
Tree Climbing, Japanese Garden - CrawCrafts Beasties… Peering over the bridge…
What's Under the Bridge, Explorer Beastie? CrawCrafts Beasties… Or catching some rays beside the stream!
Sunbathing by the Stream, Nordpark, Dusseldorf - CrawCrafts BeastiesFeeling very zen indeed, we took one last look back at the Japanese Garden…
Japanischer Garten, Nordpark, Dusseldorf - CrawCrafts Beasties… And continued our wanderings! I really loved this place, too… A sundrenched meadow where the long grass was full of singing crickets!
The Cricket Meadow - CrawCrafts BeastiesHaving successfully “Beastie-bombed” my tranquil vista, Explorer Beastie tore on ahead to our next destination, at the end of this tree-lined path…
A Road to... Where? CrawCrafts BeastiesWhere are we off to? You’ll have to come back next Friday to find out!

In the meantime, enjoy the weekend – are you enjoying the same heat and sunny climes as we’re getting in Ireland? Let us know in the comments! And be sure to join us again on Tuesday to meet another new Beastie friend!

Explorer Beastie in Dusseldorf - CrawCrafts Beasties

Explorer Beastie in Germany

Wilkommen, Beastie-Freunde!Explorer Beastie, hanging out in Koln - CrawCrafts BeastiesExplorer Beastie and I are just back from a great few days in Cologne and Düsseldorf! And there’s plenty here for both humans and monsters to enjoy… care to join us for a spin through the highlights of our trip?

First stop – Cologne! And of course, we had to go and have a look at the famous cathedral. This twin-spired Gothic masterpiece dominates the city skyline, and it only took 632 years to build! Still, the extra effort seems to have been worth it… The Kölner Dom is still the biggest cathedral in Germany, and thanks to those spires, it has the largest façade of any church in the world.
It is also, it turns out, really difficult to photograph. I’m still kicking myself for leaving my proper camera in the baggage lockers at the station and only bringing my phone with me!
At Cologne Cathedral - CrawCrafts BeastiesBut take our word for it – this is a real-must see. From the outside, which is just dripping with statues, flying buttresses and gargoyles, to the stained glass and high arched ceilings of the interior, it’s stunning from every angle. Oh, and it’s free to go in too – WIN!

As it turns out, we got a better view of it from further away. This is what you see from the rail bridge over the Rhine, where Explorer Beastie enjoyed a bit of boat-spotting and clambering among the padlocks attached to the fence as well!
The Bridge Over the Rhine - CrawCrafts BeastiesOf course, sightseeing can make a Beastie pretty thirsty. Time for a glass of Kölsch, the region’s speciality beer… Prost!
A Toast with Kolsch - CrawCrafts BeastiesBetter not have too many of those, Explorer Beastie – day 2 is THEME PARK DAY!

Phantasialand is just outside Cologne, and I last visited it -gulp- at the turn of the century, when I was still in my teens. Eeeek! Despite much monster cajoling, I’m sad to say that my zeal for rollercoasters has waned somewhat since those days. Explorer Beastie was a little disappointed, but I was able to get him back on side by letting him hang out with a dragon for a while after lunch.
Beastie Meets Beastie - CrawCraftsBeastiesPlus there’s always plenty for a Beastie to see, even when you’re technically too small to go on most of the rides.
Explorer Beastie at Phantasialand - CrawCrafts BeastiesAfter all those high jinks, it was time for a stroll through the streets of Düsseldorf, our home for the long weekend.

We frequently found our feet (or paws) leading us down Königsallee, a leafy canalside walk near the centre of town. It’s lovely for a stroll…
Strolling at Konigsallee - CrawCrafts Beasties… A sit…
Explorer Beastie in Konigsallee - CrawCrafts Beasties…Or a chance to take a moment and watch the world go by.
Watching the world go by - CrawCrafts BeastiesWe also enjoyed meeting the creatures who grace the ironwork on the side of one of the bridges, even if we didn’t spot their living counterparts in the water below!
Creatures on the Bridge at Konigsallee - CrawCrafts BeastiesA little further down the road, the view is quite different. First, you pass the Rheinturm, Düsseldorf’s tallest building…
Explorer Beastie at the Rheinturm - CrawCrafts BeastiesOfficially, it’s a telecoms tower, but there’s also a revolving restaurant and observation deck up there for those with a good head for heights!

But for us, the sunny riverside location of Düsseldorf-Hafen beckoned, so we kept our paws on the ground and took in the sights of this redeveloped dockland area instead. These unusual buildings greet you as you head towards​ the water…
Neuer Zollhof at Dusseldorf-Hafen - CrawCrafts BeastiesThe white, silver and red brick “Neuer Zollhoff” blocks were designed by Frank Gehry, and are supposed to represent a family – the shiny silver building, the “child”, reflects its brick and white plaster “parents”. But, as you can see, its warped stainless steel walls double up as a handy funhouse mirror, perfect for monster shenanigans!
Practicing my Monster Smile - CrawCrafts BeastiesSome of the older buildings in the area have been given a fresh new makeover, too. Explorer Beastie’s favourite was this former storage facility, now being scaled by 29 brightly-coloured “Flossis”, created by Stuttgart-based artist Rosalie.
Monster Building Takeover! CrawCrafts BeastiesThere are a few nods to the area’s industrial past here, too…
Dusseldorf-Hafen - CrawCrafts BeastiesHigh five, old-school dockland crane!

And as the weekend wound down, we spent a lazy Sunday morning in the park…
Sunday Morning in the Park - CrawCrafts BeastiesAlthough thanks to this rather dramatic signpost, we elected not to feed the ducks!

Don't Feed the Ducks! CrawCrafts Beasties
“Entenbrot ist Ententod” – literallly, “Duck bread is duck death”. Erk!

And what would a holiday be without a few friends in tow? Some of you may recognise my first Goth Beastie, Miss Chelsea Wool-fe, in this photo where she’s accompanied by Explorer Beastie and her chum Marge the Glamorous Pug.
Beastie Pals - Explorer Beastie, Goth Beastie and Marge - CrawCrafts BeastiesA perfect end to a super weekend!

Where are you all off​ to this summer? Let us know in the comments!