Monday, June 13, 2011

Traveling: Mediaharbour, Düsseldorf

American travelers in Germany like to visit "Schloss Neuschwanstein", the "Lorelei" or the "Hofbräuhaus". But this country is changing and has more to offer. When my American girlfriend was here for her second visit I showed her some parts of the new, the evolving Germany.

We had much fun at the new media harbour in Düsseldorf, which we visited on a sunny Friday afternoon. This is a remarkable place. The idea for the media harbour sprouted in the late 80s of the last century. At that time, the city decided to restructure their old harbour area (a big inland harbour on the Rhine) and to develop a modern structure close to heart of the city. With the help of a private entrepreneur, the owner of an advertising company, a blend of modern & surprising architecture was created within the old harbour infrastructure (cranes) and is spiced with this fancy gastronomy. In the last years many new places opened there, and now you can find an interesting & modern place to work, live and spend leisure time.

The icing on the cake are the "living" or "dancing" office towers, created by Frank O. Gehry. The magazine Vanity Fair labels the Canadian American architect as "the most important architect of our age". Many people know him by his Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao, Spain.

The "dancing office towers" are three buildings named after their facades: The so-called "white house" ("weißes Haus"), the "red house" ("rotes Haus") and the house with the metal facade. My girlfriend and I enjoyed a late lunch in the centre of the ensemble, the patio at "Gehry´s".
This fine restaurant is located at the "white house". They advertise as an upmarket steak restaurant but they have a lot more on their ambitious menu. We choose for example their "Curry-Kokossuppe mit Belugalinsen" (curry-coconut soup with beluga-lentils), "Bärlauchrisotto mit geschmolzenen Tomaten und Parmesanchips" (bear`s garlic risotto with melted tomatoes and parmesan-chips) and "Schokoladenbrownie mit Marsalaeiscreme" (chocolate-brownie with marsala-icecream).

They are proud of their high-tech tap system which allows them to offer more than 20 red wines by the glass without endangering the quality of the drinks by oxidation. But we choose a bottle of Italian Chardonay (DOC S. Osvaldo Ostvenetien 2009) which they also serve by the glass.

Around the Gehry houses are more other interesting places. The official website of the harbour claims there are now more than 60 restaurants, cafes, bars & pubs in this area. Some of them look very ritzy, others are more conventional. Part of the harbour is a tower with a spinning restaurant 172 meters above the ground. There you can also find a stylish new hotel, the luxury Hyatt Regency, whose shiny architecture fits in well with the artsy area.

Forget old Neuschwanstein, enjoy modern Düsseldorf!

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