28 November, 2009

A 3-in-1 Day: Aachen - Cologne - Dusseldorf

We --a group of Indonesian students in Maastricht-- were invited for a dinner at Tante Jane's place. As an Indonesian we will always miss our Indo food, as a student we shall not miss the chance to enjoy a free-meal. So dinner at Tante Jane's is apparently one of the highlight moment for Indonesian students living in Maastricht, a chance to enjoy a free Indonesian meals that shall not to be missed. 

I met Rio and Kenneth at the Centraal Station, the three of us then took bus number 5 to Tante Jane's. She lives near my old dorm in Brouwersweg. A clean and simple house in a good neighborhood. Having only met her twice, first when I came to the Ayu's farewell and twice when we traveled to Den Haag for Lebaran, she still doesn't remember my name. Oh well...

The three of us were the first to come. Then Mas Doni and Ka There arrived by bike, followed by the rest of the group which is almost the entire of Maastricht students minus Mita and Mbak Wulan. Among them were the MSM MBA's trio Mone, Billy and Dina. Tante Jane has prepared a long table for us to eat together and three of them were sitting next to me. They talked about their plan the next day when suddenly Mone turned to me, "Do you want to come with us?"

"Uhm...I have classes on Monday," I said. 

"C'mon, study hard, play harder,"  Ka There joint the conversation.

I looked at their faces and see that I had say too many NOs in the past, so I agreed to come. Actually I wasn't thrilled with the idea of travelling Germany during the end of fall. Germany is colder than the Netherlands, so without a winter jacket that I kept postponing to buy...I would find myself freezing! But they needed the fifth person (Kenneth would also joint us) for the 7 EUR day-pass train ticket.
So there I am with my warmest spring coat on a 6 AM Sunday morning at Maastricht Centraal. Thankfully that day the weather was not too cold although it's a rainy day in Germany. 

We firstly took Bus No. 50 that goes directly to Aachen. Our original plan was to go straight to Dusseldorf to see the largest Esprit Factory Outlet there (Mone...Billy...shop?? :D). But we missed the train that goes directly to Dusseldorf. So we took the train that went to Koln first which turned to be a good decision...I love Koln (Cologne)! Cologne is great, I like the city's zentrum, Cologne has really nice views.

By taking a bus from Cologne we finally stepped our foot in Dusseldorf and visited Esprit's headquarter in Ratingen. The place is super big and impressive but too bad it was closed. The good side was, me-Mone-Billy-Dina and Kenneth could have the entire factory (as big as football stadium) by ourselves. Yeah!

We spent the night in the crowded Dusseldorf zentrum, visiting winter stalls that reminded us that Christmas is near.

Having spent one third of the journey in a train, bus and a subway, we all didn't have the chance to eat properly the entire day. We only had some bread, canned drinks and stroopwafels  to satisfy our hungry stomach.  Yet the night was no longer young when we arrived back in Maastricht.

There is love and hate relationship between Cologne and Dusseldorf || Historically, there was a kind of hostility between the citizens of Cologne and Dusseldorf || Cologne is the 4th largest city in Germany || Dusseldorf is Germany's 7th largest city || Get this guys: order Altbier beer in Dusseldorf and Kolsch beer in Cologne, don't get them mixed up || It took 632 years to build Cologne Cathedral so the immensely large church can hold 40.000 people (lucky we made the time to visit the church during our short stop that day in Cologne) || Both Cologne and Dusseldorf lie along Rhine river || Cologne was a Roman city with a strong ties to Rome and Catholicism and has an easy-going vibe || Dusseldorf started from a small village, raised into a prominent economic hub and becomes a modern city with the largest Japanese community in Germany.   

German is the largest beer consumer in the world after Irish || Germany was known as the Holy Roman Empire and Kingdom of Prussia || There 300 variants of bread in Germany || There 1000 kinds of sausage in Germany || The Christmas tree (called Tannenbaum) tradition came from Germany || The first Oktoberfest was a wedding celebration for Prince Ludwing of Bavaria and it actually started in September || The first printed book was in German ||  Germany has over 400 zoos || Most taxis in Germany are Mercedez Benz (woohoo!), and Karl Benz along with Gottlieb Daimler are the creator of first motor-driver vehicles || Germans are known as brainy people, there are more than 100 German nobel laureates including the world's most recognized scientist, Albert Einstein || Who says Adi is Indonesian name? It actually a nickname from Adolf as Adolf 'Adi' Dassler, who founded Adidas || Adi Dassler's brother, Rudolf Dassler, founded Puma || The world's tallest cathedral is in Rome? Uhm no, Ulm, where Einstein was born || Beethoven, Bach, Schumann, Wagner, and Strauss might have established their names in Vienna but they were all Germans.