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Düsseldorf, Germany etc.

Was in Düsseldorf, Germany, these past few days.

Not quite sure the picture attached to this blog gives much of an impression of the place, except perhaps in relation to its greenness.

Germans really can't get enough trees in their cities, which had me both sneezing and sobbing from hay feever, and eventually wanting to get down on my knees before the Bürgermeister to plead with him to clear some trees, let us see some concrete and feel that we're actually in a city.

With that, it was thoroughly pleasant, and each time I'm in Germany, invariably for professional reasons (though in my youth I'd been to a couple of German language camps run by the Goethe-Institute, where I ended up speaking mostly French with the great number of Swiss-French also there, and English with just about everyone else), I feel the country is greately undervalued as a tourist destination, at least among my fellow Latin-Europeans, not to mention the Brits (though to be fair, the latter are among the most appreciative of Oktoberbest and the like).

The Rhine is magnificent, majestic and peaceful just outside the city (though on account of the very large number of trees and the vast grassy banks bang in the middle of the city, the limit is a little fuzzy), and lets you see Gursky's "Rhine" photo with a different, richer perspective. In my case, just enough not to remain indifferent to the picture, though not quite enough to comprenend the vast sums paid for it.

I do however very much like Gursky, as I may've mentioned in a previous post. At the tail end of a guided tour of a splendid Kandinsky-Malevich-Mondrian exhibition, I asked our guide where I might see an exhibit of some of Gursky's photos. I assumed I'd be spoilt for choice as Gursky is after all from Düsseldorf, and the most famous proponent, along with Struth, of the Düsseldorf school of photography. I was sorely dissappointed, as our guide's response was, in a nutshell: "nowhere at the moment".

And so I consoled myself with a visit to a splendid book shop and bought, among other items, a book of photos by Malick Sidibé: The Portrait of Mali, in an effort to put right the oddity about African photo books discussed in an earlier post.

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