Monday, July 2 (from Osnabrück to Düsseldorf)

The (very much restored) castle ruins at Kaiserswerth, Düsseldorf
The Rhine near Kaiserswerth / Lohausen (where our hotel was)
Surprise find of the outbuilding of a working farm that was clearly once a church
We got up at a fairly normal time (8ish) and got our last round of fresh Brötchen/croissants for our last breakfast with Imke. We packed and then went downtown for last purchases. Kai went to Osnabrück’s oldest instrument store (the only one remaining, as far as I am concerned), Rohlfing, where I went as a kid for the occasional guitar string and to watch my then-boyfriend drool over e-pianos and keyboards (the store is actually 200 years old). He bought a melodica and a kazoo for Cayte and some musical notation paper for himself. Then he and Mark had to exercise some patience while I got some clothes for Jupiter at a great discount store that I know Kati would have shopped at, and also some last-minute toiletries. We also went to the comic store (not quite as old as Rohlfing, but old enough that it WAS there when I was a kid, and one of Kai’s most-frequented places in Osnabrück when we were living here for a year and he was collecting Yu-Gi-Oh cards. (The owner/guy who runs the shop is still the same, but he finally doesn’t look like a scrawny college student anymore.) Kai bought some Magic Cards, and then we took off for home. There is a flower shop less than a minute from my mom’s, and I got her a big bouquet—so when we got home, we presented her with that and with a book that I thought she’d really enjoy (Anthony Doerr’s All the Light We Cannot See). Then we had our last coffee & yummies at her bouse (left-over brownie, Lithuanian chocolate from Uschi, and a ‘Bobbes’ from the bakery), and got ready to get on the bus, then the train. We had one train change, and then had to find our way through the airport to a bus that would go by our hotel. That all worked fairly well, and the hotel, while boring in a blah-looking suburb, was certainly in a convenient spot. We had extremely mediocre sort-of Greek food at a nearby restaurant, and Kai, who has been trying various wines and beers while it’s legal tried a rose wine.
After dinner, Mark and I went exploring (Kai wanted some time to himself). We had gotten a tip from our friend Ingrid that a very cute part of Düsseldorf, Kaiserswerth, was not far from us, and it turned out that a city bus could get us there in 12 minutes. Our train ticket included unlimited free bus rides, so we took advantage of that and then walked through the Main Street at Kaiserswerth, which was lovely but I think we are by this time overloaded with lovely small towns in Germany. What was actually fun is that this Main Street led directly to the banks of the Rhine, and that we could then walk along the Rhine—first by the ruins of a castle, then by a busy cafe, and then out of the city limits, where it got very peaceful. There was a pier for a ferry (after hours), with people having picnics on the banks of the river, and then biking/hiking paths all the way along. So we walked back along the Rhine until we had to turn towards our town, and around sunset walked back to the hotel. I think we walked about 6 miles total—and it was so nice to have a non-urban finish to the day.