Hello From Dusseldorf Germany! (20-25 June 2017)
I last left you with me having an amazing time in Heidelberg with the Jiu-Jitsu groups there, that I would visit again during the BJJ Globetrotters Fall Camp, while staying at a not so amazing motel. After a quick train ride up to Dusseldorf I was ready for a change in pace. The ride was uneventful but I did pass through Cologne and got to see a small piece of the beauty of that town. I would like to visit Cologne some day and see more of the sights there, it really was quite the tease to only pass through it on a train.
My First (Only) Hostel in Germany
The Globetrotter I would be visiting was unfortunately busy with work so I ended up staying at a hostel, the only hostel in town as it happens, it was right in the middle of town and about a 15 minute walk from the city’s main train station. At first during the week the hostel was quite quiet and I met a few people from all over, a young Australian waiting for papers to meet her family vacationing in London, an older Asian who kept to himself but was there on business and apparently had done quite a bit of traveling himself (he had a very detailed journal/scrapbook I saw him show some other guests), and a street performer, Ruben The One Man Band from Sweden who always had his GoPro filming his adventures. Then the weekend came..
Friday brought a completely different group of people, one group of very condescending Americans who kept referring me to being from ‘Canada: Our northern state’ and not one, not two, but three groups of bachelor parties, one in particular who figured the entire block should be listening to them blaring a song they would be yelling and singing over and over the entire time. To say the least my stay at this hostel went from pleasant to WTF very quickly on Friday. I left Sunday morning for the train off to my next destination and saw the most puzzling thing. A concert band marched up to the front of the hostel, complete with tubas and accordions, and with the band leader announcing something in German about the hostel (I made out the name of the hostel being called but that’s it) they played some Bavarian sounding tunes for a few minutes then after another announcement then marched away to their next destination. I have no clue what that was about but I did have a good laugh at the thought of the hungover bachelor parties waking to someone else’s music, having a taste of their own medicine, as I left the hostel.
The Sights of Dusseldorf Old Town
I had quite a bit of time to myself during this visit so I decided to go out and explore and see some of the Old Town area that both Daniel and the hostel staff had told me about. I loved seeing the old buildings in that area of town, you really got the feeling of the town being around a lot longer than the impression that the rest of the city’s modern concrete skyscrapers gave. For my Canadian friends or those who have been to Quebec City and Montreal and walked around the Old Towns there this is same feeling, like walking back in time when you see some of the streets. Unfortunately my photos don’t do it justice.
Training with JF73D
Daniel trains at a few clubs but mostly is at Judo Freunde 73 Düsseldorf, or JF73D which has both BJJ and Judo. For BJJ they’re under Prof. Youness of Team Youness Bjj Düsseldorf who I did not get a chance to meet, I believe he was away when I visited. The club rents a big mat space in a school, if I’m correct it’s actually the school’s Judo club room, in any case it was a nice big space with change rooms and showers but it was all inside a school with no signs so without Daniel bringing me out to the gym I would have never found it on my own.
The club itself was small, only 5 or 6 people made it out for the class I trained at, with the instructor a purple belt. Everyone seemed a bit shy, maybe because of language barriers, but still welcoming enough to a new face passing through. We went through a thorough warm up and some great techniques, the instructor’s own experience in both Judo and traditional Jiu-Jitsu was evident in the warm up routines and the details he focused on while demonstrating the techniques. It was a good class working on sweeps and I was looking forward to rolling with everyone there but I ended up having to sit out after while with a pulled muscle, the hardships of always traveling taking their toll on me at the least opportune time.
A few of us went out for food after class and I had a blast listening to their stories of how they got into Jiu-Jitsu and their adventures in training so far, if it were in better conditions, and if I had my camera with me, this would have been an awesome interview to have, just random conversation about our Jiu-Jitsu experiences while eating at a local restaurant. Video or not it was a great way to end the night after some good training.
Daniel was my contact for Dusseldorf, a fellow Globetrotter who has done some traveling himself and even been to some of the spots that I have visited with other Globetrotters hosting me. Whenever he wasn’t working Daniel took me out to see the city, like to a water park to enjoy a refreshing a dip in a pool in the summer heat. He also brought me out to eat the local cuisine in Old Town, where I tried a ‘pork knuckle’ which wasn’t much my thing but I’m happy to have tried it and know many who love them. Even when Daniel was busy at work as a firefighter he was more than happy to respond to any of my texts and tell me of places to go eat at or sights to see.
Finally one day we set up my camera at his place and did an interview on his experiences as a traveled blue belt who’s passion for Jiu-Jitsu is so strong even an injury sidelining him for a year wasn’t enough to make him quit. Thank you Daniel for all that you helped me out with for this visit, I hope we meet again someday!
To watch the video, or if you want to watch my previous interviews and travel videos, head over to Panda’s Odyssey YouTube Channel. While you’re there show some love, like, comment, share, maybe even subscribe if you haven’t already. Thanks!
After a short stay in Dusseldorf it was time to venture off to Hamburg, where I would meet Ana and her club Nexus Fighter, then be kidnapped by her daughters, but you’ll have to wait for that adventure.
Until next time,
see you on the mats!
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