In and Around Bonn
What to do in Bonn?
Ten games of go in the main tournament, ten free afternoons in Bonn – of course you can spend the congress afternoons playing go, pair go, blitz go, family go, poker go, or listening to the pros, but you could also enjoy a few days off. Here are some ideas:
Beer gardens along the Rhine
You will notice quickly: the perfect means to move around in Bonn is a bicycle. On both sides of the river Rhine bicycle paths take you north to Cologne or south to Koblenz. Or you can simply do the relaxing “Bonn bridges tour”. Make use of the three bridges to change from one bank to the other and back again, and find your favourite beer garden among more than a dozen. The right bank of the Rhine is mocked as Schäl Sick (the wrong side), but the sun shines longer over there. Nonetheless our favourite beer garden is located on the Bonn side between Kennedy Bridge and North Bridge. In the Bavarian beer garden Schänzchen you can have fresh draught Weissbier, delicious sausages and other Bavarian specialities.
Bonn and Beethoven (www.beethoven-haus-bonn.de)
I’ ll have to talk about Ludwig van Beethoven. After all, he is Bonn’s most famous son. You can visit his birthplace and see the traditional and the modern Beethoven sculpture. But you could also attend a concert in the Kammermusiksaal right beside his birthplace. In this small yet fine hall with excellent acoustics you can enjoy both classical and jazz concerts.
The Bonn cathedral “Bonner Münster”
One of Bonn’s oldest buildings is the 900 year old cloister of the Bonner Münster. A nice quiet place where you will find a high water mark. I don’t even dare imagine that the water of the Rhine could rise this high. Afterwards have a look back at the Münster sipping a cappuccino at café Galestro or a cocktail at bistro Roses.
Cologne and its cathedral (www.koelner-dom.de)
People from Bonn have to admit that the most famous monument of the region is in Cologne. So hop on the train for a short journey to Cologne. The trains run three times an hour. After visiting the cathedral and climbing the 533 steps to the top, the local beer (“Kölsch”) in the breweries of the famous Kölner Altstadt will taste refreshing. Finding a souvenir of the cathedral is easy: it is on the reverse of a special issue 2 Euro coin. But frankly: I prefer Cologne’s romanic churches to the cathedral. Have at least a look at Groß Sankt Martin in the old town.
Once upon a time in Königswinter (www.siebengebirge.com)
The Siebengebirge (“Seven Mountains”) with the former guest house of the German government and the Drachenfels castle cannot be overlooked from Bad Godesberg. It is Germany’s oldest natural protection area and can be easily reached by tram. All of you who already attended the 1979 Go Congress have to hike to the old venue. The others may consider passing by the nice cafés Milchhäuschen, Waidmannsruh, Löwenburger Hof or the inn on top of the Ölberg. You can taste the local wine in the enchanted garden of Weinhaus Gut Sülz in Oberdollendorf.
Hiking in the valley of the river Ahr (www.ahr-rotweinwanderweg.de)
30 kilometres south of Bonn lies the Ahr valley. Every hour a direct train heads towards the most beautiful hiking area near Bonn. You get the most spectacular views by taking the Rotweinwanderweg, which means red wine hiking path, between Altenahr and Dernau. A few kilometres further on you reach the former monastery of Marienthal, where the best tarte flambee is served. Try the one with wild pig ham!
Cycling in the Ahr valley (www.ahrweg.de)
The alternative to hiking: take your bicycle, visit the pottery village of Adendorf and than descend to Kloster Marienthal and have a tarte flambee as well. The way back to Bonn follows the Ahr until it flows into the Rhine. Those who are not exhausted can go back to Godesberg by staying along the river. The others can take the train at Remagen station.
A more leisurely approach is taking the train to Altenahr (you can take your bicycle along) and cycle down the Ahr to Ahrweiler or Bad Neuenahr and there again take the train back to Godesberg.
The Ahr valley and the cold war (www. regbu.de)
Once again the Ahr valley, if you keep your eyes open near Kloster Marienthal you will soon discover strange entrances. And looking out of the train window near Ahrweiler you may notice some pillars without any bridge. Both are part of the most interesting building of the Ahr valley, the former government bunker. Today it is open to the public. Participants of past manoeuvres often lead the guided tours. If you visit the bunker, you will pass by a completely different building: one of the best-preserved Roman mansions north of the Alps.
When visiting the Rhine, a boat trip is a must. If you are ready to spend a whole day, you can go to Mainz by train and then come back by boat. You will see the UNESCO World Heritage site of the Middle Rhine Valley comprising the famous Loreley and a lot of castles. If you have only the afternoon, take a boat to Königswinter or Linz and have coffee and cake during the journey. The childrens’ favourite boat is Moby Dick – you will see why.
The museum mile is always worth a visit. Apart from the temporary exhibitions in the Bundeskunsthalle and the permanent exhibition of the Rhenish expressionists with August Macke’s masterpieces in the art museum, Axel Schulte’s museum building is a fine piece of architecture. And the museum café can really be recommended.
The Brühl castles (www.schloss-bruehl.de)
In the small city of Brühl, halfway between Cologne and Bonn, there is not only the theme park Phantasialand. Right next to the station you will find another UNESCO World Heritage site, castle Augustusburg. A stroll through its park will bring you to castle Falkenlust. And the new Max Ernst museum is located near Brühl station as well.
The path of democracy and German history (www.wegderdemokratie.de)
The path of democracy leads you from the museum Koenig, where the constitution of the Federal Republic of Germany was formulated – and where nowadays you can visit the African savannah – to the modern parliament building. It was built shortly before the fall of the wall and used only a few years until the parliament moved to Berlin. The history of Germany after the Second World War is on display – in an entertaining way - in the “Haus der Geschichte”. I am still touched whenever I see the former foreign minister Hans-Dietrich Genscher on the balcony of the German embassy in Prague, telling the East German refugees “I have come to tell you that today your departure…”. Admission to the museum is free.
The botanical garden (www.botgart.uni-bonn.de)
From Bonn main station it is a ten-minute walk along Poppelsdorfer Allee under its Chestnut trees to Poppelsdorf castle. Before entering the botanical garden behind the castle take a few steps to the next corner, buy an ice cream and take it with you into the garden. Maybe you are lucky and during the congress the amorphophallus is blooming again. The giant blossom can reach heights of up to three meters. On sunny days you will not only meet a lot of students in the garden, but also a lot of lizards.
The neighbourhood called Südstadt is located south of the main station. It is one of the largest Wilhelminian style quarters in Germany. You can stroll around for hours discovering more and more of the typical late 19th century details of the stucco facades. Our favourite places for dinner on a summer evening are “Lamme” or “Matthieu’s”, both on Argelanderstraße at Schloßstraße.
Going south along the Rhine to Rolandseck is a nice bicycle tour. You enter the Arp museum through the old station. The newly built museum by Richard Meier lies just behind the station. If you are fed up with culture you can pay a visit to the museum café, which can be reached without visiting the museum.
A getaway to the Rheinaue
The public park called Rheinaue was formerly a national garden exhibition. Those who love Japan should visit the Japanese garden. You could also rent a boat on the small lake. And if you arrive early, you may have the chance to occupy one of the much sought-after BBQ areas.
An Onsen in Cologne Ehrenfeld (www.neptunbad.de)
If you have ever been to Japan and become fond of Japanese baths you will feel comfortable in the Neptunbad sauna, even though it is not cheap. Before or after the visit you should stroll through Ehrenfeld. Perhaps Cologne’s most colourful neighbourhood, Ehrenfeld is a mixture of a Turkish bazaar, young designer’s shops, trendy bars and restaurants.
Miniature golf in Bad Godesberg (www.minigolf-bonn.de)
It is only a 20-minute walk from the congress venue to the Godesberg miniature golf course. For a relaxed afternoon don’t try to do it like the pros, whose target is a hole-in-one on every time.
The island of Grafenwerth (www.adenauerhaus.de)
A few kilometres south of Bonn there are two islands in the Rhine. The ferry to Nonnenwerth is only for the school-girls of the local school, so instead we can go to Grafenwerth. After a swim in the open-air pool you can enjoy the beer garden on the waterfront. If you are interested in either history or in roses you should visit the house and the garden of Germany’s first post-war chancellor, Konrad Adenauer, in Rhöndorf.
If you started to play pétanque during last year’s congress in Bordeaux, you can continue to improve this year. You will find players in Godesberg near the Rhine at the “Bastei”, in Bonn at “Alter Zoll”, and in front of Poppelsdorf castle.
Kingfishers at the river Sieg (www.siegfaehre.de)
I have to admit: I cannot promise you will really be able to observe kingfishers. They are way too rare. But heading north from Beuel along the Rhine towards the Sieg is worthwhile. You can take the small Sieg ferry driven only by the current, have a break at the restaurant on the other side, and continue your walk to Mondorf, crossing the Rhine with another ferry and take the bus back to Bonn main station.