09 May 2010

Europe - Duisburg (Part I)

Wooohooo.. finally it's time to fly to Europe!

My flight was SQ326 to Frankfurt, it flew from 2 pm Singapore time for 12 hours, so reach Frankfurt at 2 am Singapore time (or 8 pm Frankfurt time).  For the first time ever, I tried to check-in online 1 day before. Lucky I did that! Almost all of the good seats have been taken.. wow.. I didn't expect the flight to be full house. I thought only few people will be taking the flight..

If I remember correctly, SQ chair used to be very comfortable and spacious. Hmmm... but somehow in the plane I took, the chair was not comfortable (the headrest is too "intimidating".. It's kinda too thick so can't sit back comfortably. And the aisle was quite squeezy too. I wonder whether the last SQ flight I took (few years back, when the plane tickets were still cheap) was also like that?

And 12 hours really feel loooooooooong... I watched Nodame Cantabile The Movie I (Japanese movie) and Woo-Chi (Korean movie), and also tried to sleep in the plane (I think I slept around 1 hours). The Korean movie was unexpectedly nice!

Reaching Frankfurt, at 8 pm it was still so bright, just like 5-6 pm in Singapore.. Hmmm... maybe because of that, they have the daylight saving thing? :p  Anyway, after collecting our baggage, me and another 3 colleagues went to the long distance train station (still in the airport itself) to buy tickets to go to Duisburg (the city that we're supposed to work in). The train tickets in Europe is very expensive, it costs 76 Euros for 1 way! Tsk tsk tsk..

We took the fast intercity train (I think it's called ICE). The journey was about 1 hour 40 minutes. (btw no photos so far, because I was with my colleagues.. paiseh to take photos.. hahahaha)  The train was quite nice, the seat was much bigger and more comfy than plane seats! We managed to find empty seats (even without reserving seats). Oh yeah, an amazing thing that I just found out about Europe train: when boarding the train, it's very important to board the correct cabin.. Because somewhere along the line, the train might break and different cabin will go to different place! So even if you're taking the correct train but wrong cabin, you may end up somewhere else.. LOL..

We reached Duisburg around 10:30 pm. Our hotel (Mercure Duisburg City) was within walking distance to the train station. After checking in, we went to our room to sleep. Btw, I can't really sleep.. I slept at 12am, and woke up at 4am and can't sleep anymore.. Not sure is it because I'm too excited or because of jetlag?

By 5 am, it was already bright, just like 8 am in Singapore. Wow, spring time is really nice to go Europe, because the days are longer and the weather are so nice! By 6:30 am, I finished bathing, and start to go out to look around the hotel.

[caption id="attachment_1230" align="aligncenter" width="300" caption="Somewhere near the hotel"]Somewhere near the hotel[/caption]

[caption id="attachment_1231" align="aligncenter" width="300" caption="Nice building, hor?"]Nice building, hor?[/caption]

The weather was quite cold, I guess it should be around 10 degrees (or colder). My hands were cold (and when I tried to speak, my face feel stiff). I think the weather was about as cold as when I went to Alishan (Taiwan) during winter time.

Duisburg is apparently nicer than what I expected. I thought it will be more of modern building everywhere.. But apparently, it still looks like other parts of Europe pictures.. There are some old classical type of building.

Luckily I borrowed a mini tripod from Yeniffer, I used it a lot! (Well, mostly because it was a Sunday early morning. All shops are closed on Sunday, btw. And at that time, no one seems to pass by).

[caption id="attachment_1232" align="aligncenter" width="225" caption="Konigstrasse at Duisburg"]Konigstrasse at Duisburg[/caption]

I walked around the hotel, apparently there are 2 shopping centres nearby (which was closed, again, coz it was a Sunday). I so can't wait to see all the shops open! Hahaa.. I like the warmth feeling I felt while walking around. It just feel so different with Singapore! Can really feel that I'm in a different part of the world! Different kind of environment, different kind of people.. And btw, unlike Asia, all the pedestrian walkway (and even some roads for vehicle) are covered with tiles. It's a different kind from the ones used in Asia. Somehow in Europe, it looks sooooo tidy (all the tiles are aligned nicely, not even 1 is spoiled), whereas in Asia, in a pedestrian walkway, there must be at least 1 or 2 tiles that are spoiled.

 I didn't really spent much time, coz it was quite cold (and I forgot to bring my hand warmer). So I went back to the hotel, had my breakfast, and go back to sleep for 1 more hour.

By 11 am, we were at the office already, ready to support for production cutover (yes, it's a Sunday, the cutover is on Sunday). Actually my part of the project will be rolled over only in the wee hours on early Monday morning (about 1-2 am that kind). So I only stayed in the office for 2-3 hours, then go back to hotel to rest, because I  need to return to office on 10 pm that night to support the production cut-over.

But as you can guess, how can I stay in hotel when there's so much to see? LOL... After changing, I went out again to go around Duisburg. This time I went to Altdstadt (Old Town) area. I like to see old classical type of building. It just look amazing to me!

[caption id="attachment_1233" align="aligncenter" width="225" caption="Rathaus @ Duisburg from afar"]Rathaus @ Duisburg from afar[/caption]

I love the Rathaus (Town Hall) in Duisburg.. Ahem, somehow at first, I thought it was part of the big Salvatorkirche church, as they lie next to each other. Both of these buildings are very nice. Each part of the building is crafted with details. Too bad I can't get in the church. Have wanted to see how does it look in the inside. When I wanna go inside, the door was locked :(

[caption id="attachment_1234" align="aligncenter" width="300" caption="Me Me Me! (in front of Rathaus)"]Me Me Me! (in front of Rathaus)[/caption]

[caption id="attachment_1235" align="aligncenter" width="225" caption="Salvatorkirche (Cathedral in Duisburg)"]Salvatorkirche (Cathedral in Duisburg)[/caption]

[caption id="attachment_1236" align="aligncenter" width="300" caption="Back view of the Rathaus"]Back view of the Rathaus[/caption]

Just beside the church is the Carmellite monastery. I didn't dare to go in, scared that I might disturb someone.. hehe..

And when I walk further down, I saw.... a market!! There's a market open on Sunday!! Oh I was so happy.. It was just beside the river (or harbour?). There are quite a lot of stalls, many are selling flowers, fruits, accessories, some decoration stuff.

[caption id="attachment_1237" align="aligncenter" width="300" caption="Marina Sunday Market"]Marina Sunday Market[/caption]

[caption id="attachment_1238" align="aligncenter" width="300" caption="German Street Snack"]German Street Snack[/caption]

I bought a few souvenirs over there, and also tried a snack that I'm not sure what it's called. The lady selling it can't speak english, and she mentioned a long german sentence that I don't understand at all.. Hahaa.. Anyway, the snack wasn't that nice apparently..

By the time I finished walking around the market, it was already 5 pm. I decided to start going back to the hotel, passing by a nice big building.

[caption id="attachment_1239" align="aligncenter" width="300" caption="I'm guessing that this is a post office?"]I'm guessing that this is a post office?[/caption]

Since the shops are closed on Sundays, the locals were just hanging around, sitting in the bench on the roadside. And btw, I saw quite a lot are peeking inside the closed shops (from outside, of course).

Reaching the hotel, I slept for 3 hours before finally head back to office.. And here I am now, typing this entry while waiting for my applications to be rolled-over. I hope there's no problem at all!! And I'm so sleepy now.. Yawn..


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