Last weekend we spent a couple of days in Bonn, the former capital of West Germany which is situated in the largest German metropolitan area, close to Cologne, Düsseldorf, Dortmund and others. It was perhaps the last really warm sunny weekend of this summer and we´re happy we used it for this short trip.
HOW TO GET THERE
It took us 4 hours of driving getting to our hotel, but it was also Friday late in the afternoon when highways are often blocked in Germany. The Cologne-Bonn airport has great connections to many European cities and destinations all over the globe. Bonn is also easily accessible by train and it makes a nice stop on the way to the Netherlands or Belgium for example.
The last time Lu and me were there it was in Autumn time, so we were looking forward to enjoy the towns beautiful green parks in warmer temperatures. Of course we strolled around the city as well and used the S-Bahn trains to get around. Bonn is ONE OF THE OLDEST GERMAN TOWNS and ruins of the first settlements are still to be seen around the town today.
The city is famous for being the birthplace of Ludwig van Beethoven and the location of many United Nations institutions. Deutsche Post DHL and Deutsche Telekom have also headquarters here. Since it is not a huge town (a little over 300.000 inhabitants) you can easily see most of its attractions in just one or two days.
WHAT WE SAW & DID
MICHAELSTOR or the Koblenz Gate is part of the Residential Palace, built in the 18th century. The archway over the road leading to Koblenz city originally served as the assembly room of the order of knighthood of the holy Michael – you can see his gold-plated statue, the archangel, on the facade. In its lateral passages there were guard and customs rooms in former times.
Today it is a representative entrance into the city´s centre if you´re coming in by car. There is also a S-Bahn station in the near, HOFGARTEN PARK with a nice playground for the kids and the famous University. Not far away (5 minutes walk) you can take a stroll by the river or even take a day cruise.
UNIVERSITY OF BONN
University of Bonn is ONE OF THE LEADING UNIVERSITIES in Germany, founded in 1818 it really stands out with its architecture and looks more like a palace. There is a large number of programs and subjects offered and is ranked as one of the 100 best universities in the whole world. We liked the nice park next to it, with nice views on the longitudinal university building.
THE OLD TOWN HALL
“ALTES RATHAUS”, the Old Town Hall with its beautiful rococo facade is situated on the edge of a square where you also find lots of restaurants and an expensive looking hotel. In the times when Bonn was the capital of West Germany, many famous and important persons such as John F. Kennedy, Bill Clinton and even the Queen Elizabeth II. have visited this Town Hall. The atmosphere on the market was very nice and if we were not on a mission of finding a playground Lu wanted to go to, we would have definitely sit down here for a drink ;).
“STERNTOR” CITY GATE
This historic city gate is located in the narrow street close to the Bottlerplatz and is a reminder of an once an important city entrance and its FORTIFICATIONS IN THE MIDDLE AGES. The original Sterntor stood some metres from its current site, it was moved for the purposes of the increasing traffic in the city. Today, here is a walking zone and you can see it from up close – there is also a smaller fountain, which Lu used for cooling off his tired little feet ;). There are a couple of bars and restaurants around the little square where the gate.
THE OLD TOWN
Unfortunately the original historic old town was almost completely DESTROYED during the 2nd World War – the name “Old Town” refers to another part of the town since then, a part which was only 100 years old. But we could still notice the old charm of little shops, inns and cobblestoned narrow streets with residential houses. We´ve heard it´s really nice in the spring when the whole town is wrapped into pink-coloured cherry blossoms.
RHINE RIVER PROMENADE
The best place for long walks in cities is usually by the river and Bonn is no exception. The promenade stretches on 29 KILOMETRES and features little urban gardens, places to rest, playgrounds and “Biergartens”. Lu liked watching the boats and there was also a nice wind breeze – definitely a must to come down here as it´s a nice contrast to the old town.
We did not have the time to take part in a DAY CRUISE, but there were many boats from different companies, offering all sorts of 1-3 day boat trips on the river Rhine.
RHEINAUE FREIZEIT PARK
We chose to spend the last day in ONE OF BONN´S LARGEST PARKS, the “Rheinaue Freizeitpark” (Rheinaue Freetime park), which was only about 10 minutes walk from our hotel. 10 minutes to one of the parks entrances that is – the park is huge, it covers a 160 hectare and it´s almost as big as the city´s old town! No wonder you can easily spend the whole day here ;).
The park was planned in 1979 for a GARDEN SHOW and contains almost 45 kilometres of walking paths, perfect for joggers, families and elderly visitors. We found beautiful playgrounds, picnic areas, lakes, mini golf, baseball field, “Biergarten” bars and ice cream vendors.
Lu loved the ducks – the last time we were here, he was to small to notice them :). They were not shy at all and used to the visitors.
The more we walked the greener it got – at one point we stood in front of this beautiful lake where one could rent BOATS and KAYAKS– it definitely did not look like we were almost in the town, but more like a natural area, it even reminded me of African sceneries. Amazing! We both starred at it for a couple of minutes, so beautiful.
Besides large green areas, lakes and playgrounds there are also interesting garden sections, like rose garde, JAPANESE GARDEN, gardens for blind people and many more. Lu and me went to explore the Japanese one and it was beautiful! We must go to Japan one day ;).
The day was coming to an end and it was time to leave. One last ice cream to end the perfect weekend, strawberry for Lu and lemon for me! Till next time, Bonn ;).