Weekend in Germany - Düsseldorf

The last stop on our German Christmas Market odyssey was Düsseldorf.  I could tell I'd like Düsseldorf when I emerged from the train station to see this camera wielding gent on top of an advertisement pole.
We walked through the Hofgarten and admired the ducks chilling out on the canal running through the lower end of the park.
The Christmas markets in Düsseldorf are spread out around town.  Düsseldorf also embraced the holiday themed bin decorations.  This sausage topped rubbish container was a tempting treat.
One of the Christmas markets featured a golden angel theme.
We sampled both ginger cookies and marshmallows enrobed in chocolate.
We walked along the pedestrianized shopping area on Flingerstrasse and admired the holiday decorations.
We opted to try a dampfnudel smoothered in vanilla sauce and plums -- very filling!
We washed down our dessert with glühwein served in the cutest mugs yet.
We saw this cryptic sign outside the Rathuis:  Düsseldorf schuldenfrei seit 4 Jahre 90 Tagen 21 Stunden 52 Minuten.  I learned later that this translates to: Düsseldorf debt-free for 4 years, 90 days, 21 hours, and 52 minutes.
After seeing the sign above, I chuckled when I saw this statue showing a guy pooping coins.  I think this is how Germany must view the rest of the EU given the latest trials and tribulations in the eurozone.
We continued to stroll around Düsseldorf's shopping area.  We spotted this striking church tower and then turned around to discover a gorgeous spot for lunch at Brauerei zum Schlüssel.
We were excited to sample Altbier.  Düsseldorf and Cologne have a bit of friendly competition going on and beer is a key battleground.  Don't order Kölsch in Düsseldorf...
We tried leberwurst and onions...
...and sausage in lentil soup for lunch.
Continuing on our way, we passed a sunny yellow church and popped in for a look.
The interior was ornately decorated with an impressive organ.
Outside again, I liked this juxtaposition of classic and modern.
Many of the nearby buildings featured signature flourishes.
We continued past a very large brick church before emerging onto the promenade along the Rhine.
I spotted another statue atop an advertising pole in the shadow of the church.
We decided to walk along the river for a while toward the Düsseldorf MedienHafen.
The skyline popped against the scattered clouds.
We passed a classic, stately clock tower and descended to the path at river level.
The path was decorated with leaping figures.
We walked under the Theodor Heuss Bridge.
On the other side, the path was lined with gnarled trees at regular intervals.
We walked passed the Rheinturm which seemed to be reaching for the sky.
When I saw the white building below in the distance, I knew it looked familiar.  It looks just like that Stata Center at MIT and could only have been designed by one person -- Frank Gehry.
We walked over for a closer look.
There were actually three Gehry buildings next to each other -- one white, one silver, and one red.
We walked further into the MedienHafen and admired the creative buildings across the channel.
One of the buildings was covered in people-sized toy creatures.
A dock worker saluted at the entrance to the area.
We'd walked quite a long way and stopped for a snack.
We turned inland to further explore the MedienHafen.
The guts of this building were exposed for all to see.
We saw a life-sized figure doing a handstand.  It was awfully similar to the guys we saw along the Rhine but I couldn't find any reference to the significance.  I would love to learn more if anyone has any context.  Please leave a comment!
Before we knew it, the sun was setting on our Christmas Market weekend in Germany.  We sat along the canal on Königsallee for a moment before heading to dinner and then to the airport to catch our flight back to Dublin.
We had such fun that we're thinking of making a Christmas Market weekend an annual event.  Does anyone have any suggestions of markets to consider for 2012?

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Sidewalk Safari: Weekend in Germany - Düsseldorf
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