Bonn & Koblenz (October 11-13, 2014)

Saturday
Charlie had a concert the night before and didn’t get home until after midnight, so he slept in and we left around lunchtime. We drove about two hours to Schloss Stolzenfels in Koblenz, a castle overlooking the Rhine River. After a short hike up the hill to the castle, we meandered around the grounds until a guided tour of the inside began. The tour guide only spoke German, but we had some information printed in English to read during the tour. If you have read any of my previous blogs, you’ve probably realized that I don’t retain much historical information about the places we visit…if you want to know any of those details, just ask Charlie :).

Views of the Rhine from Schloss Stolzenfels
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My two favorite boys at the castle
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Schloss Stolzenfels (I found this photo on the internet when I realized we didn’t even take a picture of the outside)
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Next, we took a short drive to the center of Koblenz and walked to the Seilbahn (cable car), then enjoyed an incredible ride across the Rhine River! The cable car dropped us off at the entrance of Ehrenbreitstein, a huge fortress on top of the mountain. We walked around the entrance area for a few minutes before taking the cable car back across the river. A few moments later, we arrived at the Deutsches Eck, the point where the Rhine and Mosel Rivers meet. It was an amazing view, and one of my favorite parts of the weekend. After walking back to the car, we drove another hour or so to Bonn, checked into our hotel, and walked to a nearby pub for a late dinner. You would probably be surprised to hear that we shared a burger, pizza, and jalapeño poppers. Not exactly local specialties, but it hit the spot after a long day!

Ehrenbreitstein in the background
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Cable car ride! You can see part of the fortress on top of the hill.
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Incredible view from the cable car of the Deutsches Eck, the corner where the Rhine and Mosel Rivers meet.
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Sunday
With full bellies after our hotel breakfast, we walked about 10 minutes to the Beethoven Haus and arrived a few minutes before it opened. Touring the house was one of the highlights of the trip for Charlie and me. It was so meaningful to actually see some of the musical history that we had learned about in college! After touring the house, we tried to watch a special interactive light show set to music from Beethoven’s opera Fidelio. However, the lady in charge was getting more and more nervous about Connor walking around and touching things, so we decided to make a graceful exit before we were asked to leave :).

Beethoven Haus
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Next, we walked around the old town area and saw a famous Beethoven statue, the Rathaus (town hall), and the Bonner Münster (one of Germany’s oldest churches). We couldn’t go into the Münster because there was a Mass, so we continued towards the train station. After figuring out which tickets we needed, we hopped on a train for just a few stops to reach the Haus der Geschichte. The museum showed the history of Germany from 1945 to the present. Connor had fallen asleep on my back at the train station, but when we got to the museum we were asked to move him to my front. I was so upset that I had to bother him while he was sleeping, but Charlie and I managed to rearrange him to my front and he stayed asleep through the whole museum! (Apparently it’s a liability rule that you can’t have anything on your back at the museum because it’s easier to knock things over or bump into things…?)

Beethoven statues
(The left is just a random statue outside of a hotel, and the right side is a famous statue in Bonn)

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Connor woke up in time for the train ride back. We got off one stop earlier than where we had started and saw some beautiful buildings that were part of the university. We took an absolutely beautiful walk down a street that was lined with trees and stunning row-houses, ending at the Poppelsdorfer Schloss. After admiring the outside of the palace for a few minutes, we began our trek towards our hotel area. As we walked, Connor pretended to march in a parade with Mickey Mouse and waved huge leaves as if they were flags. Never a dull moment in the life of a 2-year-old! We walked into the Münster for a few minutes, then found the Sterntor. The Sterntor is part of an old city gate, and it would have been a great photo op if there wasn’t a huge pizza sign visible through the big arch!

Connor’s parade in front of the Poppelsdorfer Schloss
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We decided to go to the same restaurant for dinner since there were plenty of menu options, and the weather was nice again for outdoor seating. I had gnocchi with beef strips and a curry sauce – once again, not a local specialty, but at least it was something unique that I hadn’t had before. Connor shared with me, and Charlie had a burger. We got a cup of frozen yogurt with toppings to share as we walked back to the hotel. Connor enjoyed his first taste of M&Ms, and kept asking for more bites of ice cream with “beans.” Our last bit of entertainment for the night was when Connor locked himself in the hotel bathroom. He probably could have unlocked it himself, but Charlie immediately noticed that he could unlock it from the outside with a coin. Daddy saved the day before anyone could even think about panicking!

Monday
Connor decided to wake up way too early, so he and I went for a walk outside while Charlie slept longer. Once the three of us were ready for the day, we had breakfast at the hotel, then walked to the Beethovenhalle. It’s a concert hall and turned out not to be much to look at (and we couldn’t go inside), but there was a really impressive Beethoven statue out front. The Rhine River was just on the other side of the hall, so we took a look before heading back the way we came. We walked to the Friedhof (cemetery) and saw the grave of Beethoven’s mother as well as Robert and Clara Schumann.

Statue in front of the Beethovenhalle
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After walking back to our car at the hotel, we drove just over an hour to Marksburg Castle, south of Koblenz. We waited in the car for a little while until the little man woke up from a nap, then walked up to the castle. Connor enjoyed watching the street-sweeping tractor while we waited for our guided tour to begin. It was another German tour, but we had an English guidebook. Construction of Marksburg began in the 12th century, and it is the only hill castle on the Rhine River that was never destroyed. After the tour, we enjoyed some German snacks at the café: currywurst for Charlie, and sausages with a pretzel and sweet mustard for me…and some of everything for Connor. About an hour and a half later, we were back at home and ready to plan our next adventures!

Marksburg Castle
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1 Comment (+add yours?)

  1. Marilyn Mraz
    Nov 04, 2014 @ 11:47:59

    Looks absolutely beautiful, you are making some wonderful memories.

    Reply

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