Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Bonn, the Former Capital of West Germany - April 30, 2016

Welcome to Bonn from Ludwig Van Beethoven
We joined the Newmans, the Snapps, and the Jarrards for a Saturday visit to Bonn, the former capital of West Germany. When the Germany was reunited after the Soviet Union collapsed, the capital was moved back to Berlin, although Bonn continues to be an important center for government and education. It is a beautiful city with lots of museums and park space. And it is the birthplace of Ludwig van Beethoven. He was born in an attic room of a house in the old city that was acquired in the late nineteenth century and converted into a museum and research center. I wasn't sure what to expect, but it was well done, interesting, and worth the visit. They have lots of interesting documents and artifacts including his first published piece of music (when he was 12 years old). There were musical instruments like his viola and the keyboard of the organ that he played for many years. Unfortunately, the church and the organ were destroyed during a bombing raid in World War II.

At the end of the visit to the museum, we crossed a courtyard to a studio where they had rows of computer workstations. We listened together to an excellent recording of a Fantasie for Piano while we followed along on a digital version of the handwritten manuscript. Janet may have enjoyed it more, but we both thought it was pretty cool.

We walked through the old city a little and found a nice German restaurant. After some Schnitzel and Wurst, we walked to the cathedral. It was begun before 400 by the Romans. German tribal people were pretty wild when the Romans conquered. The spread of civilization reached all the way to England under the Romans. We walked past a small monument of a lion perched on a Roman stone column.

While we were about to leave the Cathedral, a large procession of 20+ year old German men and women entered the cathedral following a priest and some young men bearing flags. We didn't know what the occasion was, but Jeff got trapped by the procession and stood in a corner next to a pillar in the nave. He lingered listening to the large group of young people singing. It was beautiful. He slipped out as they all knelt (young men on the right and young women on the left) and began a service.

The sisters wandered around an open market while the men found a seat at the base of a monument erected to Beethoven in the plaza outside the cathedral. The market was all art works, jewelry, and other handmade items.

An added bonus to the day - our group managed to hand out a few pass-along cards. People are always curious about our name tags, and that leads to easy conversations. We look for opportunities to share why we are here.

Beethoven's Geburtshaus (his birthplace)

Not a great picture, but upstairs in the attic is where he was born.
Elder and Sister Newman

Sister Jarrard and Elder Jarrard

Elder and Sister Snapp - It was cold in there

Music lover
Not where we ate, but a great looking old Gasthaus or Inn
Walking the old city

A bit of the old wall and a gate left standing
Jägerschnitzel (a pork cutlet baked and topped with a mushroom sauce) and lots of fries

A half meter long sausage topped with a spicy sauce and curry powder - and lots of fries

A few pictures of Bonn Münster (Cathedral) in no particular order

Classic exterior

We liked this stained glass window in the basement chapel under the apse

Joseph leading the donkey along - this was on a wall in the cloister

The cloister was deserted, so it was a nice place to walk and think

Notice the request to "protect the dignity of this lieu." Something went wrong in the translation department. 

Most pillars had these triptychs.

Cathedral nave

Interesting piece of a triptych altar. Notice the Savior at the top on the right hand of the Father. The dove represents the Holy Ghost. 

Entry door with colorful mosaic

Cathedral cloisters

Small chapel

Figure on the left is the Archangel Michael

The apse behind the altar

Curious nativity altar. Notice the man in armor at the front left.

Ludwig Van Keeping Watch Over the Cathedral Plaza

According to the placard, the dedication of the monument was attended by Queen Victoria

A busy Saturday market in the open plaza
Our Saturday companions. We love these people.
One more view of the preserved bit of the old city wall

After leaving the old city, we made a run at the Haribo factory outlet store, but we arrived 20 minutes after closing time (they need to update their website). We'll have to find another source for cheap gummi bears. Half of the group had to leave. We parted, but we thought we would make a little side trip on the way back to Frankfurt and stopped off in Königswinter (The King's Winter) across the river from Bonn. It was too late in the day to do much, but we looked around, decided we wanted to come back, and had an ice cream cone.

Antique shop in Königswinter

Ferry landing on the Rhein

More than one German city has this fascination with donkeys (Esel in German)
One more beautiful sight on the way back to Frankfurt. A significant spring crop here is rapeseed which is the source of canola oil. The fields are a beautiful bright yellow, and they are separated with brilliant green. It's amazing how much agriculture there is in Germany given the 80 million people living in a land area about 1/2 the size of Texas. But it is splendid and green.

Picture doesn't do it justice. The color just isn't vivid enough.

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