When we have long weekends, we all urge to make some vacation plans. This time, on the occasion of Carnival here in Dusseldorf, we got a long weekend too! As it is still early summer, most of the options we had ( Berlin, Stuttgart, etc) were ruled out. We were running out of time and options!! Then it flashed to us. We decided to explore Bonn- the birth place of the famous music composer Ludwig van Beethoven!
Bonn is about 75 kms away from Dusseldorf. So, instead of taking a train, we decided to drive.. I must say, that is one wise thing we did.. As we entered the highway, the long straight roads lined with beautiful picturisque scenery. The bald winter trees, the gloomy sky, and the sun who played hide-n-seek .. It was just awesome!! I just kept clicking pictures of every object in my line of sight :)
On reaching Bonn, we headed out towards the Tourist information center at Munsterplatz, which is in the city centre, closer to the Hauptbahnhof. A courteous lady at the help desk guided us about the places which we ought to see, some “may like to visit” kinda places next, and with some general information about walk tours.
Out of about 40 museums and galleries, we chose a handful of unique museums and galleries. We could have also opted for guided tours in the tourist bus or a guided walk tour. But we decided to do it ourselves. So here began our “Bonn-voyage“ :)
1. Beethoven house:
The birth place of Ludwig van Beethovan. There is a history behind this house. It is said that the government was about to demolish this building since it was old and in its place they wanted to erect some other building. A group of Beethoven followers and admirers fought together to retain this house. Their struggle paid results. The house was retained :) And they restored it and made it a monumental structure. It is this group which later formed a trust and till this day, they maintain the Beethovan House.
A tour through the 12 room house offered us a deeper insight into the life and works of the great composer. The most catchy of the several exhibits were the life death masks of Beethovan. The last of the pianos used by him is also on the display. The entire house is an illustration of his life , the people in his life, his possesions like the grand piano, violin, his ear trumpets, his glasses, his birth room.. It was a touchy feeling as we toured the home of such a legend!! Indeed, this is a must see place in Bonn.
2. Egyptian Museum: This is the museum which has its history dated back to the 19th century. We were told that the exhibits are just a part of the collection that they had before the world war. Most of the collection got destroyed during the bombing in the world war. What remained has been carefully preserved here. The museum is part of the University of Bonn. It has a plethora of exhibits : the pottery, the metallic ornaments, tools, idols, temple architecture, the mummies, the wall sketches of animals and many more things!!
(Egyptican Museum, Bonn )
3.Arithmeum: I have always found Arithmetic to be fun!! What more could a person like me want!! I found this place fascinating with all its uniquely distinguishable exhibits of the various machines of calculations!!
From the abacus to the modern day computers and mainframes, everything is on the display here. Some of the exhibits even provide us with a chance of a hands-on experience with most of the ancient calculating machines.
This was a very neatly planned and laid out exhibition with different floors depicting machines of different times..It was a four floored building which took my breath away :) I was just thrilled. At times, my dear hubby mocked at my indulgence into those objects :)
4. Art and exhibits Museum, Federal republic of Germany: A pleasant surprise to us was the exhibition about “Napolean & Europe- A dream & Trauma”. Amongst the several beautiful displays, I loved the painting of Napolean on his horse. The painting, in my interpretation, was a manifestation of the power, the strength, the victory and the confidence of Napolean in his conquests. While making our plan, we thought this would merely be another art exhibit and had plans of dropping it. But later we realized what we would have missed, had we knocked this off our tour plan
(P.S. We werent allowed to take pictures here. Hence, no photos :( )
(Art Exbition, Bonn )
It was evening now and most museums close by 6:30 pm. Hence, we winded up and made our journey towards Hotel Mercure where we had our room booked.
A drive through the muted roads freed me from the little fatigue caused by the walk tour that we had to all these museums and galleries.
The night closes with a hope of a better, brighter tomorrow. I hoped it literally was that :)
A bright sunshine peeped through our room window and woke us up with a promising morning. We quickly showerd and rejoiced a royal continental breakfast. We packed our bags, checked out and started our Day 2 of “Bonn-Voyage” :)
6.Poppelsdorf Schloss: With sober looks from the exteriors stood this classy palace amidst the vast botanical garden. The bright sunshine, the sparkling water in the pond nearby, the sounds of the ducks, the children playing in the park, the cool breeze made me forget the world! I felt liberated :)
Summer is the time to visit this castle.Then, we could see much more vibrance and color in the botanical garden. We took a stroll in the garden, talked to a few people there about when the best time would be to visit this place again, and also learnt that this garden was now part of the Bonn University. Though we couldnt explore much inside, it was indeed a treat for us!!
(Poppelsdorf Schloss, Bonn)
7.Frauenmuseum: This is the world’s first women’s museum!! It consists of exhibits ofwomen’s contribution to art, culture, science, their discoveries and is unique in Germany. Unfortunately, we couldnt go inside this museum since it was a Sunday and another reason being it was a carnival weekend. Nevermind, we did learn much about this museum- dedicated to the women, open to all :)
8. LVR-Landesmuseum:This museum has, in its display, the evolution of man and culture. From the man of Neanderthal era, to the present day, the evolution is shown with a lot of detailing about the occupation, livelihood and the like. Realistic exhibits of early man and the set up took us by surprise and made us feel as if we lived with them :)
It was noon now and time for our lunch. Being vegetarian calls for an extensive search of hotels that serve purely vegetarian food :)“Vegetarian : No chicken no fish” – that is one definite thing we need to mention while ordering food :)
After some search, we found a small restaurant in the market place which served Pizza, Pasta and some tapas. This place was another experience of its kind!! A open restaurant in the center of the market- only shelter – umbrellas above our head. Romantic it was to sit there in the crowd and still feel confined to your table. The sun shone brightly above us as we had our lunch. A nice meal, an amazing company of my hubby, beautiful weather- just apt to call it a perfect date !! :) Who says we cant be dating after marriage? I did !! With my hubby, ofcourse :)
We sat there as we planned our much awaited destination next: Drachensberg Castle!
9.Drachensberg Castle, Konigswinter: Our navigation system led us to Drachensberg castle. We had to drive uphill now to reach the castle. But as the navigator suggested, we discovered that we couldnt drive till the castle and it was a restricted area. Never mind we thought and parked the car at the base of the hillock and began walking. Every step we took revealed newer, brighter and better view of the place. Lush green pastures , tall brown ,bald trees of the winter, fresh air, endless road and a castle on the top of the hill which stood there alone elegantly- oh what a scene that was!!
A steep flight of stairs led us to the reception area of the castle. Here was the guest house. Adjacent to this was the Castle. It looked like the castle they show in Disney land :) Surrounding the castle are walls that give it a fort-like look. The view of the farther side of the city across the Rhine river was spectacular. To add to our joy, we spotted a para-glider too! It was nothing but fabulous to stand on top there and experience the beauty of nature.
(Drachensberg Schloss, Bonn)
This was our last destination as we had planned. From here, the journey back home was still memorable. Our drive was through the outskirts of the city, through the less urban areas where house looked old-style but elegant with the sun shining dull on their roof tops.
As I now recollect, everything seems so picture perfect. Eagerly awaiting the next vacation. Hope it gets better each time!!