We have been living in Bonn, Germany for almost two weeks, however, this past weekend was our first real chance to explore the city and our last for a few weeks to come; Last weekend we were in Paris, next weekend we’ll be in Amsterdam and the following weekend we will be in Brussels. In fact, I didn’t realise, but Friday night was the first time Anna had ventured into town since the day we arrived.
Spring is a great time to be in the western area of Germany, there are festivals, carnivals and flea markets on almost every weekend. We only found out on Friday night that Bonn has cherry-blossoms this time of year, much in the same way Japan does, and has a festival based around them next weekend. This past weekend was also the last weekend of the Spring holidays, so a lot of families were getting out to try and enjoy the weather, a lot of people jogging or cycling, just people wanting to get outdoors and bask in it. Also, very little is open on a Sunday, so people are somewhat encouraged to get out. All that is really open on a Sunday here are restaurants or bars, so there are really only three options: Eat, drink or be merry. Or all three.
Winter in this part of the world can get extremely cold, so I guess people here have a differing opinion of what “nice weather” is. There has been one or two days of what could be considered “t-shirt weather”. Maybe it’s because I come from Australia, where the temperature can reach half-boiling point, or perhaps it’s because I have spent the last seven years in Singapore, where you are hot and sweaty, 24/7, but one thing I know is this: It can be sunny and still be cold. Case in point: Sunday. Sunday was sunny, the temperature was expected to reach 16°C, a nice day, but still relatively cool. I just must have a completely different perspective of heat, because I don’t think it even got that warm. I was wearing thermals, a t-shirt, jumper and a jacket. Admittedly, I did end up removing my jumper and jacket at one point, but I’m still glad I wore the thermals. Anyhow, it was just refreshing to see so many people getting out, having picnics and enjoying themselves.
When I was in Pondicherry, India, I saw people playing a game that looked like a bizarre combination of shot-put and lawn bowls, where a large metal ball is thrown towards a “jack” (pictured, right). The game was played on a dirt or gravel surface and I thought it must have been unique to that area. On Sunday I witnessed people playing it in the park, here in Bonn. Pondicherry was occupied by the French, Bonn is relatively close to France, so I guess it’s a game from this region that I hadn’t seen before. Like lawn bowls, it seems to be largely played by the middle-aged and retirees, but some young people, like the woman in the photo, were getting into it.
We have three months in Bonn and we are doing a lot of traveling in the first two, but we also know it’s not necessary to do everything here in the first week. So, what else did we get up to?
Visit Beethoven’s Birthplace
It is reasonably common knowledge that Beethoven spent the most productive years of his life up to his death in Vienna, Austria, but he was born and spent the first 22 years of his life in Bonn. How could we not check out Ludwig’s joint? Since 1889 the Beethoven-Haus Society has maintained a commemorative museum in his birthplace, which today houses the largest collection of Beethoven material in the world. Photos weren’t allowed inside the property, but external shots in the street and the courtyard were permitted, Here are some we took:
Explore the City / Go Shopping
As I’ve previously mentioned, Bonn is is one of the oldest cities in Germany. Anna has been working exceptionally hard every day and hasn’t had much of a chance to explore the city. Naturally, she wanted to go shopping, but she was also interested in the architecture here, too. At the top of this post I showed the Beethoven statue, but there is far more to see than just that. The buildings here are beautiful. Well, most of them:
Eat and Drink
The old beer halls here are awesome and people here just drink any time of day, it’s a part of their culture, so how could you say no? Also, the food here is great. Contrary to popular belief, not everything is pork based, it isn’t all schnitzels and sauerkraut. Anna will also tell you that the desserts aren’t bad, either. I’m going to go to McDonald’s at least once here because the McRib is a permanent feature on the menu! I used to love them as a kid, but they only appeared for a brief time every year or two in Australia and you can’t get them in Singapore because they obviously aren’t halal.
So, the next couple of weekends will be spent traveling overseas, but after that we will still have two months remaining in Germany and the weather will be improving. What to do then? Well, there is plenty of the city left to explore, we found an entire area that was similar to Brunswick Street, plus Anna wants to see a play or a Ballet here. This is the first one I saw advertised:
We’re also looking at joining a pilates class, because we need some exercise besides the huge distances we’ve been walking. Anyway, we’re off to Amsterdam, Netherlands on Friday for the weekend, so, most likely, the next time you will hear from me will be after that. Danke sehr.