2017-05-28 From GA,Atlanta to Germany,Bonn (for 5 nights)

2017-05-28 From GA,Atlanta to Germany,Bonn (for 5 nights) <Some text, some pictures, ….    repeat several times> 

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2017-05-30_GermanyBonn_nearTouristInformation-BeethovenStatue0

My older son works for a global company that is headquartered near Bonn, Germany. He was scheduled for a trip and a few days before he left, I visited his house. I told him about my Michigan trip and he asked me to ‘tag-along’ with him on his trip to Germany. I said that I would and bought one of the few remaining seats on the Delta flight leaving on Sunday. I had just washed the clothes that I wore on the Michigan trip, so I packed many of the same ones for the trip. I read the latest information posted on the internet for packing. I.E., use small tubes for liquids and cream, put them in a one-gallon plastic bag, etc. I put a change of clothes in a backpack and carried it into the passenger cabin, in case my suitcase was lost.

The flight left on Sunday at 5:30pm. My son picked me up at my house about 2pm and we rode a Marta train to the airport. The internet directions for overseas flights indicates that passengers should arrive a couple of hours early in order to allow time for security checks, etc. When we got to the airport, we got something to eat as it would probably be a while before we ate again. The flight started boarding about 45minutes to an hour before take-off, and my son is a frequent customer, so we followed the ‘priority’ line. My son was seated near the front of the airplane and I was near the back. We were on a large airplane that had small video screens in front of every seat. While flying, I was unable to sleep (I don’t know why) and I watched movies. (A child behind me cried many times during the 8-hour flight.) Because of the engine noise, and the earphones quality, I wasn’t able to hear the sound as well as what is normal for a theater. We arrived about 9AM, Germany time and my whole ‘time-sensitive’ system was out-of-kilter the whole time we were on the trip.
My son’s company had given him a ticket for the high-speed train between Frankfurt and Bonn. In our research, we had found out that it was probably best for me to buy a ticket on the train. We were too late for the train that my son was supposed to ride so he deciphered the code of the next probable train to catch, and proceeded to the track. On the way, we stopped at an information booth for confirmation of his plan and we only had to wait 30 minutes for the next train.
Everyone has heard of how accurate German trains/airplanes/busses are on their schedules. I was AMAZED by the train. It was quiet, comfortable and -FAST-. There is a lighted display above the door which displays the speed and the next stop. At many points of the trip, we were going 150 mph. Inside, you could not feel the speed. We went through several tunnels. Our departure in Bonn was about 45 minutes after we started. My son found a taxi and we went to his work first and he worked for the remainder of the day. I continued in the taxi to the Hilton Hotel, where his company had arranged for his stay. I checked-in and rested a little, then I found a map and tourist information book.
We had a dinner and snacks on the flight, but after my rest, it was about 5PM there and I wanted something to eat. I found a Vietnamese Restaurant across the street from the hotel and ate there. Pad Thai in Germany – go figure. After eating, I walked along the Rhine River path and found a bench. I watched several barges go past and with the warm day and gentle breeze, I fell asleep on the bench. I had told my son that I was going walking along the river and he found me and called “Mom”. I woke up after he found me!
I take pictures of everything – I think that people who look at pictures on the internet may be interested in seeing pictures of Germany. Anyway, my thoughts are to take pictures of everything. I enjoy taking them and have found that as I age, they are reminders of some memory that I may have lost. So, the problem is – when creating weblog posts, I tend to include too many pictures. It is for the reader to decide if they want to see them all or not. On this post, I will try to post only ‘interesting’ ones.

(Click on a picture to make it larger. Then view the gallery by using arrows on the left and right middle of each picture. To get back to this page, hit the ESC ‘Escape’ key on the top left of the keyboard, or the ‘X’ on the top right of the gallery pictures.)

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Monday. In reading some of the history of Bonn, I found that during WWII, it was heavily bombed (as were many German cities). The Allied forces especially targeted bridges. The bridge near the Hilton was obviously rebuilt after the was and was named “Kennedy Bridge” after President Kennedy. The bridge allows for local trains, bicycle lanes on both sides and for several lanes of cars. It was very long and I was surprised at both how wide the Rhine River is, as well as how swift the water flowed. After walking out of the front of the Hilton, I discovered quickly to “look-out” for bicycles as they came across the bridge with speed and didn’t slow for pedestrians to cross.

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Tuesday. I decided to go on a ‘walkabout’. I wanted some milk for breakfast and the hotel didn’t have any in their refrigerated kiosk. I asked at the front desk for a nearby place to purchase milk and they gave me directions to a small grocery store – specifically, walk along the main road to the right and a store wasn’t very far. I found it without any problems. Once there, I found no English translations. I didn’t speak any German and just paid with cash. Before I left Atlanta, I had thought that I would be able to use my credit card there as I do here …. WRONG. They have a different ‘system’. They want a minimum credit card charge to be 20Euro, -or- they will charge 2Euro for each transaction. In short, I learned to use cash. My son had let me have some of his cash. I bought my milk, and a cheese biscuit, then found a bench on the street and ate. (My son had told me that the hotel serves breakfast for 20Euro, if you purchase it ahead of time and 25Euro if you wait to pay when entering the buffet area. I thought that was a ‘lot’.) I walked around that area some, found some “Food Trucks”, bought some supper (olives, hummus, couscous and flavored cream cheese), ate it on a bench, walked around more and returned to the room to watch tv. I looked more at the area maps and found that there was a open-air bus guided tour daily starting at the tourist information center.

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Wednesday. I walked to the tourist information center about 11AM and bought a ticket for the bus city tour. It didn’t start until 2PM, so – I walked around the area and found some lunch. I also asked about a restroom in the area, and the tourist information center agent recommended that I go to the fourth-floor of the nearby retail store. She added that ‘public toilets are horrible’. I did as instructed, so I was ‘good-for-the-tour’. The guide on the tour gave the notable points in German first and English second. I was really glad to actually know about the points-of-interest. I enjoyed the tour very much. It was about 2 hours on the bus, then we got off and viewed the street of the Beethoven House and other points-of-interest. I.E., the old City Hall, the Medievel Gate, the Beethoven Statue, a church and monastary near it, and a modern art sculpture.

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Thursday. I had seen the boats on the Rhine River and thought that there were tourist tours, but I hadn’t seen anything in the books. Remember, that the books were in German and there may have been some information, I just didn’t realize it. I asked the hotel front desk for information on taking a boat tour and they told me to walk under the bridge and look for a ticket-booth a short distance walk. I found it and there was a boat tour leaving at 11AM. The ticket agent told me to get off the tour at Linz (about 2 hours away) and return to Bonn. There were several boats that I could return with, but I decided to only wait 30 minutes in Linz and return. I ate a bratworst burger for lunch while there. It was a wonderful tour and great day. The trip to Linz, I sat on the back deck and could hear a loudspeaker but not understand it. On the return trip, I sat on a different part of the back deck and discovered that I was wrong about the loudspeaker. I.E., it did have an English portion of the tour after the German. I saw many houses and great vistas, and – of course, took many pictures.

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Friday. I visited the Beethoven House Museum. It was a short walk from the hotel and I had passed it several times on ‘walkabouts’. I was truly impressed – the preserved house was where Beethoven was born. The family had also lived in several other houses near the area. Information from his house is available on wikipedia.org. All of the exhibits were in German and I wasn’t able to read about the displays while there, but looked-them-up after returning. The sign at the entrance to the house noted that taking photos was not permitted. The house had boards in the floor that were old and creeked when you walked on them. They had some control of moisture in the house, but there was no air-conditioning and it was a warm day. I really enjoyed it – the courtyard allows photos and I took several. There is a nearby annex which houses a digital lab and information about a Beethoven website created especially for children, ages 10 to 13. http://www.hallo-beethoven.de
After leaving the museum, I visited the nearby church, Namen-Jesu-Kirche. It was open for visitors today and there were several others inside. It was a nice church and there were pictures inside that had displays of the destruction of the area by WWII bombs. I was able to take several pictures there. A neaby pizza sidewalk cafe attracted me for dinner.
I walked around a little more and returned to the hotel to pack. My body was still unadjusted to German ‘time’ and I went to bed early knowing that it would be a long travel day the next day.
Saturday. Up at 5AM. Take taxi to train station and ride the train back to Frankfurt. We waited at the airport, because – “it is better to be an hour early, than to be a minute late”. My son directed me to the baggage check-in, security, and boarding. The return flight left at 11AM. There were boarding equipment problems and gate-agents wrote down information about each passenger so that they could enter it into a computer later. The return flight was about 9 hours and, in Atlanta, the international passport control area was slammed with many returning passengers. The line was long and new self-check kiosks were a maze. I was tired and entered in the wrong information – a nearby attendant realized that I had made a mistake and corrected me. I was thankful for his attention and knew that my mistake was because I was tired. Once out of that zone, I proceeded to baggage claim and my son had found my bag for me. We had to go outside and wait in the long line for a bus to return us to the main terminal. It was HOT outside -and- not FUN! By the time we caught Marta and I arrived home, it had been 3 hours since landing and I was exhausted. It had been a great trip and I never would had been able to ‘make-it’ without the help of my son.


Epilog. My adjustment back to Atlanta-time has not been a problem. I presume that is because I never really adjusted to German time. I was very happy (and grateful to my son) to have had the opportunity to take the trip.
Blog note: I had never envisioned that I would take a trip overseas when I retired. I planned to just learn more about the United States. The trip was wonderful and we were fortunate to have had good weather the whole time. When packing, I wasn’t sure whether to expect cool weather or hot. It turns out that the weather in Germany was unusually warm for this time of year and that I didn’t need my ‘cool weather’ gear.

(Your comments about this blog are welcome. I attempt to tell readers a story and show readers the pictures of where I visit. Please feel free to send me an email or post your comment on the website. Please forgive me for my mis-spelling and other mistakes. Note: My ‘other’ blog is about my antique MG car and is found at: http://PuddinInTheMGB.wordpress.com . Dad called me “Puddin”, and I named my van, “Vanna White”. )

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