Today the girls and I went on our first train ride into Duisburg town. I packed them nice, warm and snug in our 2-in-1 stroller (means single stroller with two babies in it) and off we went in search of adventure. It's a whole 5 minute walk to the train station. And 2 flights of stairs up to the platform. My plan was to unload the girls, get them to hold hands and walk up the stairs slowly by my side while I carried the stroller. Totally do-able but lucky us, we had a nice young gentleman offer his manly services and lug the stroller up for me while the three of us girls walked up the stairs hand-in-hand. That was a good start to an uncertain outing.
And so we reach the platform and well, it was nothing but a platform! I wondered where the ticket counter was, no one around to assist in times when the ticket machine didn't work. That's probably because the machine works all the time. So I decide to give my (very little) German a go and approach this older couple. "Entschuldigung, meine Deutsch ist nicht gut. Aber was bahnhof zu Konig-Heinrich Platz?" They seem to understand me and walk across to the information board. The man comes back and tells me the name of the station. He even helps me purchase the ticket from the machine, and buys me a 'kinder' (child) ticket. Not too sure if he did that on purpose or by accident, either way it saved me 0.90 euros. The lady tells me which platform to board the train and that it would arrive in 5 minutes, AND its only 1 stop away! What?? We were all prepared for an adventure! 1 WHOLE stop? Gee. Anyway, in exactly 5 minutes the train stops in front of us, we board and 3 minutes later we alight at our station. Very exciting journey indeed. Oh I shouldn't complain, 2 months from now and I will be grateful for this; the simplicity.
Thank goodness there are elevators at this station. Just when I am relieved that I need not worry about carrying the stroller down and not being able to 'hold' my little girls, the little girls start arguing over who gets to press the elevator button. Gah! Elil pressed it the first time, Nila got to press the button inside the lift. Ok, problem solved. So, how do we get to Konig-Heinrich Platz from here and how long will it take by foot? Again I practise my German, this time on an elderly lady. She understood me; of course it did not take too much, I just mentioned the street and she pointed straight then 'links' (left). Aha, another 5 minute walk! And so we were there. A long street with shops on either side, backerei's galore, a WOOLWORTH's, McDonald's (we had our lunch there btw), a mall and a Kartstadt (A German departmental store), C&A, H&M, Esprit. Not a giant mall, but decent - you won't get lost in it. The girls keep asking for Mega Mall, "when are we going to reach mega mall mummy?" asks Elil.
We walk into WOOLWORTH's, the first shop I see. We are comparing prices and quality in different stores, just so we know where to go and where not to. I tell the girls they get ONE thing each. Elil cannot make up her mind between Disney Princess handsoap or glittery, shiny fairy stickers. Nila made up her mind instantly with a Disney Princess mug. In the end, Elil chucked the handsoap for the stickers and Nila put her mug away and grabbed the princess handsoap from her big sis. Ahhh kids....you gotta love 'em! And so we walked around for a bit. Went into Hema, which had some pretty nice house stuff, a little more costly but also better in quality and look.
Soon it was time to go back, the girls had a playdate with Jordan (playdates? so soon? yup!). And so we had our McDonald's and back to the 'bahnhof' (station). Getting back was not as easy as getting there. I managed to get my ticket pretty easy because they have a language selection on the machine, that was great, I felt so efficient. Until, of course I could not find the correct platform to wait at. There were more than a dozen and I had no idea which line to take. We walked up and down the station, and asked for assistance from 2 people who like me had no idea. Finally, I find an information counter where they guide me in the right direction. Yay! In no time we are home and 15 minutes later we hear a ring at the door and there is Jordan with his face pressed against the glass. What a wonderful day we had! I look forward to the next adventure, maybe into Dusseldorf with daddy doo-doo.