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Beethoven’s Bewitching Bonn!

by Sandy

Germany is celebrated for many things.  From fairy tales and fast cars to castles and classical music, you’re spoiled for choice on where to begin your German adventure and what to include. So spoiled, in fact, that designing an itinerary that covers everything you want to see, taste and experience can be a serious dilemma.

The solution?  A kick-ass road trip!

For inspiration, follow me as I set off on an epic solo road trip adventure through many of Germany’s most dazzling destinations.

Late summer and early fall are my favorite times of the year to visit Europe. The crowds are leaving, the temperatures are cooler and, historically, the rates are a bit more favorable. Unsurprisingly, I want to cram as much as humanly possible into the two months I’ve allotted for my latest German adventure, chronicling my antics all along the way.  For inspiration, follow me as I set off on an epic solo road trip adventure through many of Germany’s most dazzling destinations.

First stop:  Bonn!

Damaged by sunlight, the Bonn landmark statue of Beethoven, unveiled in 1845, was just returned to its location in June 2022 after six months of restoration.

One of the oldest cities in Germany, Bonn has dominated the shores of the Rhine for more than 2,000 years.  Located only about 100 miles northwest of Frankfurt, Bonn is the perfect place to begin.  After landing at Frankfurt Airport at 8:15 in the morning, I was happily on the road by 10:00.  (Pro tips:  No, road signs are not in English.  No, there is no speed limit on the Autobahn in de-restricted areas.  Yes, driving on the Autobahn is the definition of insanity.)  Yet, a short hour-ish later, I had arrived happy, safe and sound.

Instead of staying in the city center this trip, I opted to stay in the Bonn-Bad Godesburg neighborhood. Beautiful, safe, close to the rail station and the parking is free!

Instead of staying in the city center this time, I opted to stay about five miles south of the center in the Bad Godesberg neighborhood. Why?  Because parking in the city isn’t cheap. It’s around 25EU per day and that’s money I can put toward Wienerschnitzel and wine, y’all!  So, I choose a charming little guesthouse offering free parking and close proximity to the rail station (literally a nine-minute walk).

After dropping my case at my charming little guesthouse, I grabbed my bag and set off for the Underground, which would take me to straight into Bonn’s historic city center.

After dropping my case, I grabbed my bag and set off for the Underground, which would take me to straight into Bonn’s historic city center.

Strolling through Bonn, Germany is a joy!

Strolling through Bonn is a joy.  The people are kind, the shops and cafes are lovely and the architecture is to die!  Luckily, on this particular weekend, there is a wine and food festival in Munster Square.  By this point, I was starving and so thankful to be able to sit down with a hot meal and take in the cheery atmosphere. (I ordered the currywurst and pommes.  Yum!)

After a long day of travel, I was so thankful to be able to sit down with a hot meal and take in the cheery atmosphere. (I ordered the currywurst and pommes.  Yum!)

After enjoying a few minutes to relax and recharge, I made my way to Beethoven-Haus.

The house at Bonngasse 20 where Ludwig van Beethoven was born is a true reflection of the composer’s genius.

The house at Bonngasse 20 where Ludwig van Beethoven was born is a true reflection of the composer’s genius.  Attracting 100,000 visitors each year, Beethoven-Haus is one of the few remaining houses in Bonn built during the 18th century. Surviving both World Wars almost entirely unscathed, it houses the largest Beethoven collection in the world!

My absolute favorite items are Beethoven’s ear trumpets.

My absolute favorite items are Beethoven’s ear trumpets.  Beautifully created and crafted by Johann Nepomuk Maelzel in 1813, you can see them on display here.  Maelzel developed four differently-shaped trumpets for the composer to use after his hearing began to fail him.  Although Beethoven later described the trumpets as ‘poor’, he continued to use them for several years.  Maelzel’s other important invention was the metronome, which Beethoven used as the first important composer.  visit to Beethoven-Haus is mandatory!

Bonn’s historic Town Hall provides a stunning backdrop for Bonn’s busy market square.

Other highlights of Bonn include the Bonn Minster, Town Hall and Market Square.  And please do not miss the Holy Name Church.  If you’re looking for the best bakery in town, try Mauel 1883.  Open since (obvie!) 1883, everything you’ll find inside is made from scratch on premises.  Today, I had the plum pastry. Sinful, I tell you!  Sinful!

If you’re looking for the best bakery in town, try Mauel 1883.  Everything you’ll find inside is made from scratch on premises.  Today, I had the plum pastry. Sinful!

If you’re looking for great schnitzel, try Cafe Spitz.  Rumored to be one of the best in town, it did not disappoint.  Extra credit for comfortable outdoor tables with generous awnings, which help to maximize your valuable people-watching time.

If you’re looking for great schnitzel, try Cafe Spitz.  Rumored to be one of the best in town, it did not disappoint.  Extra credit for comfortable outdoor tables with generous awnings, which help to maximize your valuable people-watching time.

Best coffee in town?  Black Coffee Pharmacy.  Pro tip:  Try their dark hot chocolate instead.  Delish!

Best coffee in town?  Black Coffee Pharmacy.  Pro tip:  Try their dark hot chocolate instead.  Delish!

Beethoven’s musical genius left an indelible mark that forever changed the landscape of Western Classical music.  For that reason alone, Bonn is certainly worth including on your next trip through Germany.  His image is literally everywhere and you’ll find buskers on almost every corner proudly playing his classics on everything from flutes to violins. Even if Beethoven isn’t your thing (how is this even possible?!), Bonn has plenty of captivating places to visit, along with a fantastic culinary scene.  Just go!  You’re sure to have a Rhine old time!  (See what I did there?)  With love from Bonn, Sandy

Beethoven’s musical genius left an indelible mark that forever changed the landscape of Western Classical music.  For that reason alone, Bonn is certainly worth including on your next trip to Germany.  His image is literally everywhere.

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