In Düsseldorf, one need not feel guilty about spending an unabashedly hedonistic weekend. D'Dorf's main sights aren't its historical monuments, but rather the luxury shopping street Königsallee and the old town which has sometimes been referred to as the world's longest bar. TexT and phoTos by AnnA KAuppi Enjoy life in Düsseldorf O n a sunny day on the bank of the Rhine, a gentle breeze rattles the flagpoles and flutters outdoor café parasols. The honking of river cruise ships and the cries of seagulls punctuate the multi-lingual chatter along a riverside walkway. This is the place to meet in Düsseldorf. From here, the city's most noteworthy areas are all within walking distance. To the south looms the city's prime landmark, a television tower that spikes up more than 230 metres. Its observation deck and revolving restaurant afford sweeping views of Nordrhein-Westfalen's state capital. On the other side of the river, the lovely old houses of Oberkassel are visible in the distance. Closer at hand, a swath of green lawn invites one to take a stroll among the kite fliers. Sheep take care of the mowing on this green space, which helps protect the city from floods. First, though, one should see Düsseldorf's most famous street, Königsallee, which the locals refer to simply as Kö and liken to Paris's Champs-Elysées and New York's Fifth Avenue. The short walk from the Rhine's riverside promenade to Kö cuts through the city's old town (Altstadt). Exploration of Altstadt, which is referred to as the world's longest bar counter, is best left for the evening. Its narrow lanes are lined with beer pubs, cocktail bars, restaurants and clubs. During the summer, it's as crowded and rowdy as a festival, night after night. A fAshion trAdition Kö is a luxury shopper's paradise. This leafy street's shopping centres and boutiques boast names such as Chanel, Gucci and Louis Vuitton, diamonds, designer shoes and high-end cosmetics. Its sidewalks resemble a perennial catwalk showcasing Prada-clad beauties and men in sleek bespoke suits. Dogs in Burberry jackets match their owners. Düsseldorf has been known as a fashion centre since the 18th century, when its bourgeoisie imitated the gorgeous attire of their local prince and his court. In 1949 Düsseldorf hosted the world's first fashion fair. The annual event still claims to be the world's biggest. The metropolis's own renowned designers include Peter O. Mahler, whose elegant creations can be browsed at his shop on Bastionsstrasse. Tucked away on this and many other MAYJUNE 2010 BLuE WinGs 57
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