Duisburg, I believe, could be called normal Germany — and that’s what makes it a good stop.
I found myself out of bed at 4:30 AM. There are only a few regular reasons why someone would be rising at this time. The most obvious being they have a flight to catch.
That’s my excuse. The cheap flights are those that leave when nobody else wants to fly, and flights don’t get much cheaper than my $50 hop from Dusseldorf to Berlin.
I’m leaving Duisburg after two unintentionally relaxing days. The first day was a national holiday, so I was shut down; the second day I was interviewed about China-Europe transcontinental trains by a publication called French Morning and I interviewed representatives of a shipping company later on about the same thing, then proceeded to work on articles and blog until 1 AM. I set up a visit to the dry port for a later date, so I will probably find myself in Duisburg again in a few weeks.
Duisburg was a good introduction to Germany, I believe. The place just seemed unabashedly normal — I suppose that’s what you want when taking a good first look at a country. The smallish city has a real communal downtown area — open air, wide open commercial plazas and pedestrian streets, malls, restaurants, bars, and cafes. There was nothing that particularly stood out to me about the place, but these are the types of places people tend to want to live in. There is a reason why the “generic city” is so popular worldwide — people like to visit places that stand out, but like to live in places that blend in.
I suppose I’m kind of an oddity in the fact that I like traveling to bland, fully blended in places — the places where the real day to day stories are being told. Places like Duisburg.