Crossing European borders

It was the first day of July and the air was sultry with the clouds joining together faster than my roller bag. All I kept thinking was “don’t let this storm ruin a perfectly planned weekend that has been going very well”. And it did not it!

I flew to Atlanta on a Friday afternoon so I can drive to Andrews, NC to attend my friend’s wedding on Saturday at Hawkesdene  with the intention of flying out of Atlanta to Düsseldorf, Germany on Sunday. Logistically, the schedule was packed and many things could’ve gone wrong; but thankfully everything went almost flawlessly. I say almost because there was a snafu with my rental car at Avis. That did not stop me from enjoying this busy weekend ahead of this long awaited trip.

After an active couple of days, I was ready to relax and cross the Atlantic to see my friend, Carla, and her family. But before I board, I had to unwind with a classic old fashion from One Flew South. This always does the trick!

One Flew South
#moodsetters

Since the departing flight out of Atlanta was on time, I arrived Dusseldorf after watching the sun sets and rises within a short time between continents and couple of movies while I crushed some candy :). I barely slept and constantly checked the flight status. I could not wait! Eventually, the flight landed and all I saw was carbs at all the airport eateries. I was not hungry but my brain was trying to trick me…As tempted as I was, I had to chill but I was in trouble nonetheless.

Espresso
Operation “stay awake” in progress

Mentally, I was prepared for a low-key vacation but Carla wouldn’t let that happen. Within 24 hours of arriving, I was already up for a road trip across the border to the Netherlands for a good time.  We stayed at his beautiful property, Rest & Rust, for about 4 days but I really wish I could stay forever (may be not forever, but you get the point). I enjoyed every minute there…the 10pm sunsets were magical. Plus, I enjoyed some good food, consumed more cheese than I should have, and talked sh!t to the sheep.

Road
This was a memorable drive to Rest & Rust house. So beautiful!

Rest & Rust

Exterior of Rest & Rust. Check out link above for better photos of the house. 
Early Evening
It’s only 9pm, no big deal!
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Shortly after 10pm

My visit in the Netherlands wouldn’t be complete without a park visit. This lodge, or as I call it… castle, was a delightful sight as we enjoyed a nice picnic on the lawn.

St. Hubertus Hunting Lodge at National Park De Hoge Veluwe, The Netherlands

The last week of my visit, I relaxed, cooked with Carla, and explored Düsseldorf. I enjoyed the most beautiful supermarket I have ever seen Zurheide. This market has several restaurants and everything you can imagine. Oh, check out the lighting… I definitely felt like buying everything. I am not aware of any markets stateside that looks like this. You could gain 10 lbs in only a day here. You can have all three meals with a few snacks in between. There’s something for everyone including the Vegans, Vegetarians and Carnivores of the world. Listen, there was a great selection of Asian and Afrian produce/fruits that I did not expect to see. Very cool!

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This was a great vacation because it wasn’t filled with tourist activities. I almost felt like a local  and I honestly did not feel like taking out my camera most of the time. It was just awesome. This was my first visit to Germany and I can’t wait to return to explore other cities. I really like Düsseldorf for its accessibility, fresh food, and great quality of life.