Friday, 15 June 2012

A couple of days in Bonn and Cologne

When I landed at the airport of Cologne/Bonn for the first time, I started to look at both cities as they were one, just because of the airport name without knowing much about them. Later, people were telling me that Cologne is much more beautiful than Bonn and that in Bonn there is nothing to see. That is totally not true – they’re both so different and interesting or at least the parts I saw. A month ago, I had the chance be taken around and I’m very satisfied of my experience.

View from Cologne Cathedral
The love bridge and the Cathedral
The first day of my weekend, my friend took me to Cologne for some shopping and of course to see the Cathedral Sts. Peter and Maria. I had already seen it before but only from outside as it had been closed. Now it was open and we entered – The Cathedral is huge and spacious and there were 2 big organs inside. Hundreds of tourists went in and out for the time we were there. The best emotion of that visit was climbing up one of the towers – 533 steps to the top in the narrow tower! People from the top were coming down in the same time we were climbing up and it was turn after turn…as my friend said: “The best part of every visit here is the adrenaline from that feeling”. On the top there was a great view to the whole city, Rheine and the bridges.

On our way to the Cathedral we passed through the Bridge of love – I haven’t seen so many love padlocks at one place! There we thousands of them in different colours and sizes. The lovers had written their names and the date of their anniversary or the date of “locking their love”. Even there was a couple on their wedding day taking photos there.
The colourful padlocks
Schildergasee - the shopping street
After that experience we went through the Shopping Street of Cologne. It was crowded in and outside the shops. We stopped for some classic pommes frites with mustard. Then, in a wonderful French pastry shop, we had amazing cakes, I wanted to try from everything but there was no space in my stomach anymore. Meanwhile we met two parties of girls that were out for a maiden party. The German girls has very interesting tradition when it is about the maiden party – the bride’s friends buy some candies, snacks, chewing gums, condoms, lollipops, little jewelries and the aim of the future bride is to sell them at the street. I was trying to take a photo of them while one of the girls saw me and started shouting in German running towards me. First I was shocked, thinking that she has something against but then I realized she wants to sell me something. After bargain a little bit I had a condom for 1 EUR. Everybody was happy at the end.

The Mayden Party Group
Poppelsdorfer Castle
The next day we spent in Bonn, the capital “Federal Republic of German”. Nothing much left there after the capital moved back in Berlin except the central of The United Nations and the main building of Douche post but the city is still beautiful and one of the reasons is Rheine, something that cannot be changed. First we had a walk around the center and the old buildings, the City Hall, The church Munster and the homonymous square, where is situated a statue of Beethoven. People in Bonn are very proud, as although he has spent his life in Vienna, Beethoven has been born in Bonn. We also walked through the University to the Castle of Poppelsdorfer and the Botanical Garden. What surprised me a lot was a small glass cabin in the alley, close to the University, that was full with books. It was not locked and people have the chance to take a book, read it and then turn it back. And it was standing there, untouched of the vandals, something that it is impossible in my country.

The book cabin
Monument of Beethoven

Rhein park
The whole day we were riding bikes, it hadn’t happened to me for few years. And although my ass was hurting me because of 7 hours on the bike’s seat, it was a perfect sunny day with free thoughts, pleasant company and relax. Inna, my friend, took me through the big Rheine Park where we enjoyed The Japanese garden, ice cream and sun. Then we went to Drachenburg Castle that is in the nearest town – Koningswinter. To reach the other side of the river we had to use a ferry, two minutes and we crossed the river. The Castle was built at the end of 19 – the century by a rich baron but he has never lived there. The area is beautiful and there is a great view to Rheine and Bonn. On our way back to the little town we decided to take the funicular as we saw it coming. But when asking for the price, the guy said 7 EUR! Hmm, we decided that it is not worth to pay this amount and we turned back. The guy shouted something after us and then he said: “It would be free for you” and he winged. Hehe, how to miss such an opportunity!

That was a perfect spontaneous 2-days German trip that I really enjoyed, thanks to my friend Inna. For the first time I was not following the main attractions and sightseeing but I felt as a real traveler with a close guide! 

Some more photos of the trip: 

The Japanese Garden
Drachenburg Castle
Rhein from the Castle
The  funicular
Around Koningswinter