Travel to Dusseldorf with The Straits Times and Singapore Airlines

Chilling on the Rhine with locals, who head outdoors the moment there’s a hint of springtime sun.
Chilling on the Rhine with locals, who head outdoors the moment there’s a hint of springtime sun.ST PHOTO: LEE SIEW HUA

DUSSELDORF - Dusseldorf is a German metropolis with a cosy atmosphere. Wander into the city and it feels big and also intimate, with its mix of secret gardens and power-pink palaces, hip enclaves and imaginative skyline along the mighty Rhine River.

The Straits Times and Singapore Airlines, which flies four times a week to the city, are collaborating on an insider travel story and video.

On a six-day trip, The Straits Times travel writer Lee Siew Hua and multimedia editor/videographer Aileen Teo have been exploring the rejuvenated Media Harbour, once a place of crumbling warehouses. Media, technology and creative industries have now moved in, including trivago.

Here, quirky plastic figures, nicknamed Flossies, drip up and down a heritage facade. Nearby, a trio of post-modernist Frank Gehry buildings tilt and twist into the sky.

We have also walked into the cobble-stoned old town, Altstadt, with the world’s Longest Bar of 260 pubs. Here, people chill with beer glasses of the local copper-red altbier with its deep caramel flavour.

Enjoy copper-red caramel altibier along the cobblestone alleys in Dusseldorf. ST PHOTO: AILEEN TEO

A gallery owner shows us playful street art one sunny afternoon. Soon, we walk into a May Day party on a small street where relaxed locals cluster over coffee and beer to welcome springtime as musicians jam.

On a day-trip to the city of Duisburg, we step onto a walkable rollercoaster with a wonderful name: Tiger & Turtle - Magic Mountain. It is a giant art installation with vistas of the green countryside.

A walkable rollercoaster in Duisburg, a city near Dusseldorf. The giant sculpture sits on a green hill of industrial trash. ST PHOTO: LEE SIEW HUA

In another spot, the Landscape Park, a factory complex that once produced pig iron, looks like a revamped dystopia. Its illuminated halls, still strewn with vintage machines from Germany’s days of heavy industry, now host opera performances and fashion shows.

For scuba-divers, there’s a massive rust-red tank with submerged planes and cars for a faux wreck-diving experience.

Bizarre, but this is really a story of savvy transformation and industrial chic writ large.

In Dusseldorf and Duisburg, step back in time and also experience a very contemporary world on our STxSIA journey.