Given the amount we put away the night before, I’m impressed we both woke at all. But we did, with an hour to spare before Melanie would have got a parking ticket. I enjoyed another hot shower (I’m appreciating the fact these things are a luxury) and we checked out.
I actually seem to know the touristy stuff in Dusseldorf better than my German companion so we set off to find the Designer Warf area near the tower. Easy, obviously, as the aforementioned tower stands like a huge pointy… tower as a landmark.
Of course, this doesn’t take into account Dusseldorf’s insane one-way system which makes Glasgow and Leeds seem positively logical by comparison. And believe me, they aren’t.
After half an hour, we’d driven within 200m of the tower twice, crossed a bridge and navigated a tunnel system then ended up somewhere from where we couldn’t even see the damn tower on the skyline. At this point, we stopped for brunch at a bakery.
One last try. And we lucked out. After spotting the correct tunnel somewhere, Melanie got us to the Warf area, we parked and got out. I’ve been here before and I didn’t have my camera on me, so check out the pics from my earlier visit. I didn’t add them to my post from last time.
After our mission was complete, it was time to head towards Bielefeld. There’s not a huge amount in the area according to my host, but one thing worth seeing was the Externsteine, so we headed there. It’s a large rock formation stuck in the middle of a nice foresty setting that’s been used by many groups of humans over the millenia, and for a variety of purposes.
For those visiting, you can get a bus there or drive up. If you drive, it costs â‚¬1 to get into the car park. Walking around the Steine themselves is free, but if you want to climb up them it’s a small fee of â‚¬1.50 for adults. There’s a pretty view from the top, and one has an interesting old chamber that’s now open to the elements. Melanie translated what a schoolteacher was telling his class.
Way back when, this chamber was used for giving sacrifices to Pagan gods. Also, one of the walls has a circular hole carved into it. On the day that Summer turns to Winter, the sun fits into this hole exactly. So essentially it’s a big one-day calendar. With added blood and guts.
A large carving nearer ground level shows Christ being taken down from the cross along with an image of a wilting tree. This, apparently, indicated the overthrowing of the old Pagan gods by Christianity and dates from a period in history when this kind of thing was going on a lot.
As a result of that, Himmler and the related branches of the SS took an interest in the site. The old Nazi government were rather interested in all things occult, Pagan, supernatural and so forth – Raiders of the Lost Ark has some small grounds in truth! The sad upshot of this is that every so often, a handful of skinheads will decide they want to celebrate something here and cause a fuss.
The Steine are quite a sight, and I love the bridge that links one rock with the sacrificial calendar room. The surrounding grounds are also quite beautiful. I think I caught it at just the right time of year as Autumn is in full swing and the trees are more orange than green.
Our touristing complete for the day, Melanie drove us to Bielefeld and gave me a quick recce by car. Back at her place (pretty much a worksite, though the rooms that are finished show this will be a wonderful place once it’s all done), we lazed for a bit and then ordered dinner in. We were both exhausted and as Melanie had work the next morning, we turned in early.
It says a lot about how tired I was that despite having free, fast internet to go wild on I was asleep by 22:30.