Essen, Germany – March 2017

We took the overnight bus from Paris to Essen to visit our friend, Leslie. Fun fact: Essen means food and to eat in German. Taking the bus is okay, but if we had to do it over again, we’d prefer to not take it overnight. We made a mistake by sitting on the lower level near the door and bathroom. It was a bit drafty with the door opening at each stop and smelly with the toilet nearby. It was most definitely a learning experience.

After we arrived at the bus station, we walked to Leslie’s apartment. Passing by Kreuzeskirche on our way. One thing we learned is that if you are living in Germany and officially registered as Catholic, Protestant, or Jewish you must pay a church tax. Those who do not want to pay the religious tax can leave the church by making an official declaration that he/she is leaving the faith.

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Here are Leslie and I in a church courtyard. I cannot remember the name of the church, but she thought it was nice and peaceful back there so we had a look.

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We spent the afternoon walking around town a bit. The Art Nouveau Clock Tower was beautiful and the cherry blossoms too.

Later, Leslie took us to the Zollverein Coal Mine Industrial Complex which has been part of the UNESCO World Heritage since 2001. It had the reputation for being the “most beautiful coal mine in the world”. The mine was founded in 1847 and mining activities took place from 1851 to 1986. The coking plant remained open until June 30, 1993. Nowadays shafts 12 and 2 are used as the water drainage for the central Ruhr area. Our guide had a great, dry sense of humor. He was hilarious. He also passed on many interesting facts about the mine, but I did not take notes.

That night we took the train over to Düsseldorf with Leslie and her two friends. We were supposed to go on an art walk, but ended up skipping it and going to dinner at a Korean restaurant. However, we did try a bit of dessert from the food market before dinner.

Then we went to a typical German bar where the server comes to your table and plops a beer down in front of you and writes your order down on a coaster. If the server comes back and you don’t have a coaster over your beer, they will plop another beer down in front of you whether you asked for it or not haha. On the wall, it says “Wir sind zwei Esel” and that translates to “We are two asses” in English. Just in case you were wondering.

I always enjoy walking around a new town at night.

The next day, we had lunch at a Turkish restaurant that Leslie recommended. Even though Essen means “food” in English, there weren’t that many stellar dining options according to her, but this place was good.

Our last stop for the day was Grugapark.

Afterwards, we took the overnight bus back home. It was a nice, quick trip! Well, not the bus ride home…that took 9 hours or so 🙂

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