Ride along the Rhine River into the German borders and one will be able to find the enchanting city of Bonn.
As mentioned in my summary article on NRW region, Bonn remains as the de facto joint seat of government of Germany, together with Berlin, after the unification of Germany. Comparing both cities, Berlin gave me a greater sense of solemnity amidst modernity. On the other hand, Bonn seemed to have retained, or perhaps retreated back to its medieval character. Enter the city centre and one finds its city hall and Bonn cathedral standing high against time.
WHAT TO DO/SEE
B may stand for Bonn, but many might know the city as the birthplace of Beethoven. Born around 1770 in Bonn, Ludwig van Beethoven exhibited great musical talent at an early age and began his first public performance when he he was merely seven years old. By the age of 21, he moved to Vienna to pursue his musical career, thinking that one day he would have the opportunity to return to Bonn. However, rising complications in the political scene hindered his return. He then continued to live in Vienna until his death in 1827.
To honour the composer and his birthplace, The Beethoven House was founded in 1889 by the Beethoven-Haus association to study Beethoven’s life and musical career while preserving his roots. For classical music lovers, it is a definite must to visit the museum. The museum is located in the same house where Beethoven and his family stayed before they relocated. Entry is 4.50euros and photos are not permitted in the museum. The souvenir shop located at the entrance is worth a visit for essential collectibles.
Make your way through the marketplace, it is definitely a routine to visit the town hall, Stadt Bonn, and the Bonn cathedral, Bonner Münster. The area can be easily recognised the marketplace by the obelisk and Old Town Hall. The marketplace is also a bustling area where locals would set up their stalls to sell goods like local cheese, beer, warm food and others.
Around the corner, one can visit the main building of University of Bonn. This beautiful yellow building used to be the Electoral Palace, former residential palace of the Prince-Electors of Cologne. Currently, it is the administration office and the faculty of humanities and theology. On a sunny day, the building reflects a golden glow that is irresistibly beautiful to capture with the blue sky.
During my stay, I relied greatly on Yelp reviews to search according to my preference. In my opinion, I would recommend downloading Yelp app for food recommendations over Trip Advisor. Sometimes, the latter can be pretty over-rated… However, in Bonn, i had another food place in mind, a must must must go to place: Haribo store, Bonn. I would have preferred to make a trip down to the Haribo factory store but the itinerary was inconvenient.
Anyway, back to the main point of the Haribo store in Bonn. This is THE place for Haribo-lovers, kids… maybe not parents… and THE place for one to get Haribo gummy back home. All kinds of gummy sweets are available here, from the usual editions to travel editions and then to limited editions, from fruits to liquorice to fizzy flavours, and even from mini sizes to normal packets and even XL versions in buckets! What a paradise for gummy bears and Haribo-lovers!
This is also the place for one to purchae Haribo collectibles, ranging from shirts, caps and stationery, to travel accessories and even a travel luggage!
One known perk of traveling within the NRW region by public transport is the ease of using a single travel pass to board trains and local buses. Simply purchase a 30euros travel pass, limited to NRW region, from any train station and off you go to explore the different cities in NRW region. However, do note the restrictions of the travel pass. It does not allow one to ride on high-speed trains (like ICE and IC) but only local trains like RB. Remember to verify the terms and conditions before boarding.
Unlike in the past where tourists can avoid fines easily with the excuse of being ignorant, European countries are becoming tougher on tourists. There were instances where local police were called in to assist train and bus conductors if the matter is blown up.
DAY TRIPS OUT OF BONN
During my visit, I made a short getaway to Königswinter, south of Bonn, where the Schloss Drachenburg is located in. It take approximately 30-45mins tram ride on tram 66 from Bonn HBF to arrive at its stop. To make one’s way up to the castle, one can choose for a furnicular ride up or a brief trek up the hill. To save cost, I opted for the latter. It was a mere 20-30mins walk. Depending on your route, one may be climbing up from the furnicular centre or from the carpark within the hills. The former has a pretty steep climb up while the latter would be preferred.
Entry into the castle costs 5euros and it would pretty much seem like one can have the whole castle to oneself. During my visit at noon, there were less than 10 visitors in the compound. This gave me a lot of time to capture the beauty of the castle without human intrusion into photos.
And the view from above over the Rhine River is spectacular!
There you go! Mark Bonn down in the to-go list and feel free to explore the city in your own preferred way. However, just remember: B is for Bonn, Beethoven and Haribo!
If there are more itineraries one would wish to know about, leave a message for me!