Mainz the colourful city at the Rhine River

Mainz stretches along the Rhine at its confluence with the River Main. It’s a small university city that is more charming, beautiful and vibrant that the famous neighbors of Cologne and Frankfurt. 

Mainz is part of one of the most scenic train rides in all of Germany, to say the least. So travel by train is mandatory. You really can’t miss it, I assure that the ride will be one of the highlights of your trip to Germany.

The train journey is along the banks of the river, its a relaxing journey that dazzles with its ruins of old fortresses, beautiful castles, small medieval towns, and countless vines. Most of the towns in this line are worth a visit if you have the time.

A good way to visit them is to stay in Mainz and do a return day journey to visit some of the most historic towns along the river.


Mainz has a charming and inviting Old Town, easily explored by foot. The historic streets impress mostly with it’s fantastic architecture, cobbled streets, beautiful half-timbered houses, small boutiques, appealing open squares, restaurants, wine bars, rustic taverns and interesting museums and churches.

The atmospheric square, where the weekly farmers market takes place is the place where the impressive Roman Catholic church from the 10th century is located. The beautiful Mainz Cathedral – Dom is perfectly situated in the heart of the city, facing the Gutenberg Museum.

This museum is one of the oldest printing museums in the world and was founded over 500 years ago. The exhibition is a journey through the writing and printing history.

Unlike the Dom, the Gutenberg museum is not free. The ticket is 5€ for adults.

From the museum when walking through the pedestrian street  “Augustinerstraße” (Augustinerstrasse), you can still see some details of the magnificent cathedral. This street leads to a Roman theatre.

The St. Stephen’s Church It’s another church that deserves a visit, for its world-famous Chagall windows. They have that name because of the ethereal stained-glass created by the Russian-Jewish artist Marc Chagall, as a symbol of the Jewish–Christian reconciliation.

A walk on the promenade along the Rhine River banks is also great.

Useful tips

  • Mainz old town is a bit more than one kilometer from the train station.
  • Cycling is also an option in Mainz, you just need the install an app to use one of the many public bicycles around town.
  • Ryanair links several European airports with Frankfurt-Hahn airport, which is closer to Mainz than Frankfurt.
  • To reach the airport from the city or the city from the airport buy online a ticket from one of the low-cost bus companies. The bus is direct and takes 1.30h.
  • If you’re a fan of Carnaval you should go in February to take part in the traditional carnival festivities.

photography – all rights reserved – Ana Rocha

Düsseldorf a surprising city along the River Rhine

Düsseldorf is one of the economic centers in Germany and is located along the River Rhine. Dusseldorf is known mostly for its nightlife,  and prominence in the fashion industry.

Because I’m not really into nightlife neither fashion this city would not be my first choice of a German town to visit.

But destiny (and cheap flights) made me end up there, and I didn’t miss the opportunity to visit 🙂 I had no expectation about Düsseldorf. It had never really crossed my mind going there, so I was kind of surprised how pretty it was, and how Düsseldorf’s art scene was so amazing.


Dusseldorf is very close to the famous city of Cologne and is the capital of the German state North Rhine-Westphalia.

>> Düsseldorf old city center

Dusseldorf has a small charming area that is intact in the old city center (Altstadt), the rest of the city was mostly rebuilt after the war.

Passing over the Stadtgarden you can make your way into the old city and the boardwalk that runs along the Rhine River. 

To explore the area is better by foot. Just walk randomly through the web of lanes. This district is known as “the longest bar in the world”, because the small Old Town has more than 300 pubs.

In the Old City Center, you will not miss the Marktplatz square with the Town Hall and the equestrian statue of Elector John William II. During the Carnaval and Christmas, this place is full flow.


The Castle Tower right on the banks of the Rhine is another important stop, as it’s the only remaining piece of the old castle that used to dominate the area.

Düsseldorf’s biggest church is called St. Lambertuskirsch. It’s not the Cologne cathedral but still beautiful and quite impressive, you will recognize it for its twisted tower.

>> The Japanese quarter

Dusseldorf has the third largest Japanese community in Europe, and the Japanese culture is very present around the Japanese quarter, centered around Immermannstr.

As a tourist destination, this area lacks in charm or atmosphere but you can find here Japanese shops, restaurants, tea shops, travel agencies, appliance stores, grocery stores, etc.. its kind of a little Tokyo or Japantown.

>> The Königsallee (King’s Alley)

This famous shopping street has beautiful stone walkways and a picturesque canal in the backdrop. It is literally a shoppers’ paradise, and for people like me, a place for a nice, long walk.

It’s called by the locals, and it’s a great staring point to discover the city. Where the Königsallee Boulevard converges with the Hofgarten promenade, you have the sinuous Kö-Bogen; a large-scale office and retail complex. The Hofgarten promenade it’s a relaxing place to read a book, drink a coffee or do a picnic near the lake.

>>Rheinuferpromenade (promenade)

No matter which side of the Rhine you choose to walk through; the views are amazing. The Burgplaz marks the beginning of the promenade, wandering along the Rhine River from the Altstadt towards the Rhineturm, is a fantastic walkway ,watching the ship’s and tourists boats up and down the river and the surrounding architecture.

Rhine Tower (Rheinturm)

The Rheinturm is a 240.5-meter high concrete telecommunications tower,  in the head of a modern district on the river. From the top, you have an overall look of Dusseldorf.


The Japanese Garden is a wonderful place for meditation, despite the distance from the city center, you can easily cycle there. The Volksgarten is another great park perfect for a summer picnic. It has a small beer garden open during summer months.

Have you ever been to Düsseldorf?

What did you like the most? Do you have any recommendations?


photography – all rights reserved – Ana Rocha

More about :

🎉 Düsseldorf’s Karneval

🏙 Düsseldorf Art Scene & Architecture


Düsseldorf’s Carnival

Düsseldorf’s Carnival is a massive over-the-top event, It’s crazy how Germans are into it.

Düsseldorf has a completely different vibe during the celebrations. There’re lights, music, costumes, ‘home-made’ floats, rides, fireworks, street food everywhere, parades, and lots and lots and lots of alcohol.

Who would guess that Carnival is such a big deal in Germany and that German people are really into it?

Sure that doesn’t have the glamour, weather, music, rhythm and the tropical vibe from  Brasil but still is a massive event.

In Germany, the dispute is between Cologne’s carnival and Düsseldorf’s carnival, but best is not to ask around which one is the best one, since its a sensitive topic for some people. Apparently, they are eternal rival cities.

This may surprise you but Cologne’s Carnival is among the biggest in Europe, but someone said, what Düsseldorf lacks in size it makes up for in alcohol consumption.

There are several variations of Carnival throughout Germany. But the celebrations kick-off on November 11th at 11:11 am everywhere. But the crazy parties don’t really begin until February, also referred to as the “crazy days”

Dusseldorf is one of the fortresses of the Rhineland Carnival and drinking from early morning is part of the fun, during the week-long carnival, bars and pubs know no closing time.


What to Expect

The dates of the carnival vary from year to year but always starts on a Thursday before Ash Wednesday. This day is called Altweiberfastnacht (Women’s Carnival Day). And is when the ladies take over the City Hall and cut off men’s ties.  Women in witch costumes “kidnap” the mayor and take control over the city. Followed by a street carnival in the Altstadt (Old Town)

If you think this is too crazy I’m afraid I need to say that this is just the beginning 🙂 From this point onward, it steadily gets more crazy, crowded, and loud.

On Saturday, is the Jugendumzug (Youth Procession), at Düsseldorf city center more oriented for families.

On Sunday is the “Karneval Sunday” in Konigsallee people start drinking and parting early in the morning, and locals get creative with ways to carry around their alcohol, have spectacular costumes and small ‘home-made’ floats

Rosenmontagszug or Rose Monday Parade

The parade comprises thousands of people in costumes marching around the city for hours, they include a giant decorated floats and people marching on foot through the city center and down Dusseldorf’s shopping street, Königsallee. Many of the floats from the Dusseldorf parade are political and often controversial.

It’s important to memorize the word- Helau, the local word for the Karneval greeting in Dusseldorf if you want to catch candies, chocolates, crips and other trinkets that they threw at the crowds, while you shout “Helau” and wave your hands.


Have you been to a carnival parade in Germany?  What were your first impressions?

Do you have tips about Dusseldorf’s Carnival? Share in the comments below.

Now you just need to figure out what you’re going to wear next year…


photography – all rights reserved – Ana Rocha

More about :

Düsseldorf a surprising city along the River Rhine

🏙 Düsseldorf Art Scene & Architecture




Düsseldorf Art Scene & Architecture 

Düsseldorf is one of the wealthiest cities in Germany, and home to extraordinary museums, galleries, and fascinating modern architecture in the district around Lorettostrasse and in the renovated port area.
Nowadays Düsseldorf is not only known for its fashion industry, trade fairs, and offices. But is also known for its vibrant arts scene.
Düsseldorf has 26 museums and more than 100 galleries. Exhibitions may range from local to international, and collections are surprisingly diverse. With this range and quantities of venues quality and diversity is guaranteed.

Here is a list of some of the best places to visit:

  • Neanderthal Museum,
  • Kunstsammlung Nordrhein-Westfalen (with three venues K20, K21, and F3),
  • Düsseldorf Film Museum,
  • Hetjens Museum (Deutsches Keramikmuseum),
  • Goethe Museum,
  • Stiftung Museum Kunstpalast,
  • Schmela Haus,
  • Kunsthalle Düsseldorf,
  • KIT- Kunst im Tunnel,
  • the NRW – Forum Düsseldorf,
  • Kunstverein für die Rheinlande und Westfalen,
  • Akademie-Galerie – Die Neue Sammlung,
  • Julia Stoschek Collection,
  • the KAI 10 | Arthena Foundation,
  • Hetjens-Museum – Deutsches Keramikmuseum,
The Modern District: Medienhafen

Wel, and I saved the best for last …

My favorite part of Dusseldorf is The Modern District: Medienhafen.

This district is a center for modern architecture and design. Düsseldorf has kind of a double soul, on one side the Altstadt full of history, with lots of traditional buildings, on the other side is posh, modern and very business oriented. Medienhafen is a redeveloped harbor area and a must for any architecture lovers.


Medienhafen is located south of the Altstadt, and has work from amazing architects:

  • Frank Gehry – the Neuer Zollhf;

The Neuer Zollhof is a set of three contrasting buildings designed by Frank Gehry, as part of the redevelopment of the port area. Each one of the three buildings have its own distinct design, materials, and colors.

  • Claude Vascosni – the  Grand bateau ;


The Grand Bateau looks like a curved ship on land.

  • William Alsop – the Colorium ;

The British architect created a colorful tower with a very distinctive dynamic and playful aspect, that really captures your attention.

  • Helmut Jahn – the Hafen tower;


It is an impressive glass building, near the Colorium.

Düsseldorf is one of those places that you learn to love after a while. It may look ugly, but it’s a diverse and interesting city. If you dig a little deeper, it has lots of beautiful hidden places.

Places nearby, outside Dusseldorf:
Schloss Benrath

A Baroque Palace 10km away from the city of Dusseldorf. The architecture and the park are beautiful and worth of a visit.


A big city located 45 minutes from Dusseldorf, with lots of touristic attractions, led by its famous gothic cathedral.


Is a little town that has a (Schwebebahn) suspension train, that hangs over a river the whole route.

Schloss Burg Solingen

A charming town with a castle 1:30h away by public transports,  great for a day out.


photography – all rights reserved – Ana Rocha

More about :

🎉 Düsseldorf’s Karneval

⛪Düsseldorf’s old town