Bonn is such a fine walkable university town, we wanted to revisit after being away for 15 years. We had left many a stone unturned, such as a visit to Beethoven’s birth place, and the grave site of Robert and Clara Schumann.

Bonn is full of walkable streets and plazas.

Bonn is full of walkable streets and plazas.

But on our drive from the Moselle Valley to Bonn we first passed through The Eifel, surprising country dotted with crater lakes, redolent of volcanic activity. In fact, the most recent Eifel crater lake formed only 11,000 years ago.

Naturally we had to leave our car and start walking. Although there are no towering volcanoes here, there are numerous small volcanoes (up to 2500 feet) not far away and quite sizable ones flanking the nearby Rhine River, and peppered all across Germany right up to the Polish border. We have hiked to the top of most of them, but not on this trip. At the top, they all have cafes with coffee and pastries.

Looking down from the rim onto the Schalkenmehren crater lake.

Looking down from the rim onto the Schalkenmehren crater lake.

The town of Schalkenmehren lies quite at the lake's edge.

The town of Schalkenmehren lies quite at the lake’s edge.

The second in a string of five crater lakes

The second in a string of crater lakes, Lake Daun

After hiking up and down various crater rims, we were quite set for a good lunch. This hotel/restaurant seemed like the perfect place. It being a pretty nice day, everyone dined on the terrace, but most had left by the time we arrived. So we avoided their cigarette smoke.

Hotel Schneider in Schalkenmehren

Hotel Schneider in Schalkenmehren

Another tasty meal like so many others on this trip.

Another tasty meal like so many others on this trip. Eva has the pickled fish.

We explored the town a bit and found it to be in pristine order, just like almost everywhere we have been so far.

The main street in ---

The main street in Schalkenmehren

An interesting hand-carved bench

An interesting hand-carved bench with a sea eagle and owls.

Running a bit behind schedule, we drove the swift and scenic Autobahn all the way to Bonn, which took an hour or so. We exited the highway only a few blocks from our well situated hotel, where we stayed for five days. Because we were located only a few minutes’ walk from the center of Bonn, we expected our relatively inexpensive room to be quite small and cramped. But when we checked in, the clerk decided to put us up for no extra charge in a place across the street in a full size apartment with glassed-in balcony. We were delighted.

Eva deep in thought, or sleep.

Eva deep in thought, or sleep.

We were enjoying the last bottle of Martin Winery wine

We were enjoying the last bottle of Martin Winery wine.

After an outstanding breakfast at the hotel, including 20 varieties of honey, and nearly as many jams plus all the usual fine things offered for breakfast, including carrot and potato salads, we hit the pavement with vigor.

The Beethoven House was first on our agenda. It was worth the visit, as it seemed really authentic and had just the right number of quality displays to represent Beethoven’s life and work. Bonn is definitely proud of him. Still, at age 22 he left for schooling in Vienna and never returned.

Beethoven's birth place

Beethoven’s birth place.

Plaque

Plaque

Beethoven statue in the main plaza

Beethoven statue in the main plaza.

The gravestone of Beethoven's mother

The gravestone of Beethoven’s mother.

The nearby grave of Robert and Clara Schumann

The nearby grave of Robert and Clara Schumann.

Beethoven greet visitors at the tourist office

Beethoven greets visitors at the tourist office.

Beethoven glares at passersby near a subway entry.

Beethoven glares at passersby at a subway entry.

Like most other German cities, Bonn was badly bombed toward the end of WWII, but meanwhile it has been well reconstructed. Shortly after the war Bonn became the temporary capital of West Germany, located about as far away from the Russian warmongers as possible. Within a short time after the fall of the Soviet Union, the official capital and most government offices moved to Berlin. The transition was painful but Bonn today is thriving.

The main plaza

The main plaza

Bustling market downtown

Bustling market downtown

Inside the cathedral

Inside the Minster (former cathedral)

One blustery day we took the subway to the Museum Mile, where a collection of art, history, and assorted other museums and government offices are located, near the river. It’s a right elegant part of the city.

The Art Museum

The Art Museum

A few minutes’ walk from our hotel along a wide, tree-lined promenade is a most convenient bridge that crosses the Rhine. Solar panels line one side of the bridge.

A heavily traveled bridge crosses the Rhine.

A heavily traveled bridge crosses the Rhine.

On Eva’s bucket list was to take a boat trip along the Rhine. She finally got her wish and spent a day along a really lovely section of the river. Across the river some distance upstream she disembarked, lunched and explored Linz before returning later in the day. Nearby is the town of Remagen, famous in WWII because a bridge located here was the only one of 22 bridges which crossed the Rhine that was not destroyed by the Nazis on their retreat from France. It was used heavily by the Allies to get troops and material across the Rhine before it collapsed a few days later. It has not been rebuilt.

Near the bridge ferries and cruise boasts tie up.

Near the bridge, ferries and cruise boats tie up. In the background is the Siebengebirge, a string of old volcanoes.

After weeks in Germany we were looking right shabby. We found a barber from Kosovo who trimmed us up nicely. He spoke five languages and was a riot of entertainment.

Our barber from Kosovo doing Eva's hair.

Our barber from Kosovo doing Eva’s hair.

Where did this idea come from as the name for a driving school?

Where did this idea come from as the name for a driving school?

Burger palace recommended by our hotel. The burgers were excellent.

Burger palace recommended by our hotel. The burgers were excellent.

Not five minutes from our hotel was the symphony concert hall, Beethovenhalle. In front was a modern rendition of Beethoven.

Concrete sculpture of Beethoven

Concrete sculpture of Beethoven.

Here we draw to a close our story of Bonn. We are leaving for points north, well away from vine and wine. We pick up daughter Suzi in Düsseldorf, where she flies in from San Francisco, and the three of us travel for a few weeks together.

Tschüss.

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