The Bonn trip: A cultural and historical adventure

Junior Year in Munich students Karina Gunn (University of California, San Diego), Safiya Mostafa (Wayne State University) and Kenny Ventress (Bowdoin College) describe their trip to the former capital of the Federal Republic of Germany.

A city for music and candy enthusiasts alike, the JYM trip to Bonn in December was quite the cultural and historical adventure! Early Friday morning we gathered at the “Münchener Hauptbahnhof” only to find out our train was one hour delayed – a few stragglers benefitted from the delay, however!

We spent the time chatting and hanging out with other JYMers and friends until we were finally able to embark on our journey. After a quick four and a half hours, we arrived in the history-filled city of Bonn! We grabbed a quick bite to eat at the market in the square of the “Altes Rathaus” which was near our hotel, checked in and dropped off our luggage and departed on our city tour led by the students of the “Deutsche Kulturgeschichte” class.

From the story of Roman soldiers, Cassius and Florentius and the Bonner Münster, to the Beethoven House and the political landscape of Bonn, we learned all about the fascinating history and culture of the city from other students. We then headed back to the hotel and went our separate ways for dinner (and a trip to the Haribo store, of course), but all came back together at the end of the evening to enjoy Kölsch beer – truly immersing ourselves in the culture of North Rhine-Westphalia – and play cards in the company of all the JYMers.

On Saturday, we started the day by celebrating the birthday of JYMer Francis (Miami University of Ohio) with breakfast at Café Blau. Afterward, we visited the “House of the History of the Federal Republic of Germany.” From exhibition to exhibition, we walked through decades, stepping into the most crucial events of post-World War II Germany. Afterward, we shared our favorite parts of the exhibition with one another.

Haus der Geschichte der BRD
Haus der Geschichte der BRD.

Our next stop for the day was an optional trip to Cologne, an excursion that proved to be very interesting. Upon arrival at the main Cologne train station, we stepped out to an astonishing view of one of the biggest churches of the world, the “Kölner Dom.”

Its looming spires and gothic architecture were breathtaking, their appearance rivaled only by the interior of the Cathedral. High ceilings, spiraling pillars and glimmering stained glass were to be seen in every corner of the cathedral and its vast size surprised us all. We spent some time there, walking around the altar and through an exhibition and stopping to listen to a hymn. Afterward, some JYMers went back to Bonn, while others stayed and walked around Cologne a bit longer.

The return trip proved to be an experience, however, as the crowds in Cologne led to major transportation delays and an overall unforgettable evening for those who got stuck. The JYMers in Bonn ended the night with dinner, ice skating and an exploration of the Bonn nightlife!

Vor dem K├Âlner Dom
Vor dem Kölner Dom.

On Sunday, we embarked on a hike to the famous “Schloss Drachenburg” and the old ruin of the “Burg Drachenfels”, trekking nearly 10 km. A fascinating view of the Rhine River awaited us as we peered from the ledges of stone at the end of the hike. Afterward, we paid a visit to the former family home and garden of Konrad Adenauer, the Federal Republic’s first chancellor after WWII, which has been restored as a museum.

The view and thorough tour of his former home gave insight into Adenauer’s life, political engagement and historical significance for the Federal Republic of Germany. To top off the evening, we dined at a phenomenal Middle Eastern / North African restaurant. The menu offered a variety of dishes in a buffet with endless “Nachschläge.” Meanwhile, an adorable cat entertained us as we waited. Joghurt cream, Kuzu ta Kebabai, Börek and Gavurdasi Salatasi are a few of the specialties that came served fresh and warm before us.

To conclude the evening, we took a calm ride back to the Brauhaus Bönnsch to enjoy our last night in the city of Bonn.

Auf dem Drachenfels mit Blick aud den Rhein
Auf dem Drachenfels mit Blick aud den Rhein.

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