Tonight I am in the German city of Dusseldorf. This is my 3rd visit probably in as many months. I quite like the vibe of the city, there is a pleasant mixture of old and new buildings and a real sense of its inhabitants wanting to have some fun and enjoy life.
My first visit was in the summer, the days long and warm. Natives of the city enjoying socialising outside in pavement cafes and bars. My last visit was in September, this year a warm and dry month, and again people were on the streets, drinking, chatting and laughing with each other – enjoying the good fortune of being able to be outside at the start of Autumn.
Now this Monday evening darkness has raced upon us against the clock with which we measure time and the wind delivers a bite there are a lot less people brave enough to embrace the terraces of quiet restaurants. But some there are, wrapped up with woollen hats and scarves, determined to squeeze to the very last every vestige of opportunity not to retreat into the burrows of buildings and winter’s hibernation.
I am sat in a hotel bar, the music is pacy and whilst not loud enough to prevent a conversation is far from soothing for this time of the evening. The back wall of the long bar illuminates the many sentries of bottles.
Lights elsewhere in the bar are low, creating washes of colour across the tables. This is a place for winter. The outside world of no consequence to the huddles of people drinking brandies and whiskies to warm them through.
Next month I will return. The days will fade oh so quickly, and the people will have fully retreated into a world of artificial light and warmth. The place will be the same but very much in a different time….