I felt bad taking the train to Dusseldorf until I discovered that Tom had taken a boat all the way from Cologne to Rees, and he’d ganged up with a bunch of Englishmen who he travelled with for the rest of his journey. No such luxury for me. In fact he only spent 15 minutes in “Dysseldorp”, but I was having no such lacuna. The sweaty walk from Dusseldorf’s railway station went through the 80 or 90 per cent of the city I’d never see again: I was focused on the old town, on the Rhine, and some pretty tasty sounding art galleries. Strange how quickly one can reacclimatise when Beuys and Kiefer are in the picture. I was a middle aged grunge hero by the time I made the tourist office in the old town, a dripping mess. So when the lovely tourist officer, hearing of my desire to stay in the old town, said: “Most of the guys who do that just want to drink all night and have a bed to crash, the places are not so nice,” I was thankful she recognised my inner poet. I looked like a guy who might have been all night in a Cologne heavy metal hangout who then got freaked out by mass-taking German gun clubs. But somewhere in my ruddy look she saw Heine. Forty minutes later I was in a suburban boutique hotel, ten minutes walk from the old town, surrounded by shoe salesmen – and women. The TV was flatscreen and plasma and not bolted high from the ceiling; there was no smell of kebab. And the breakfast bar had Apple desktops for web access.