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'Bahnhof', 'Beethoven', and the 'Bundesrepublik': Ah, Bonn

-Michael Vick '10

Today we headed south again, but this time we headed past Brühl to the city of Bonn. The hometown of Ludwig van Beethoven and former capital of West Germany, the city offered its fair share of museums, shops, and churches. Shortly after leaving the train station in Bonn, we headed through towards the Beethoven house. After posing for a picture in front of a statue of the composer himself, we took a short side-trip to explore the Romanesque-style Münsterbasilika St. Martin (finished in 1248, the same year that construction on the Cologne Cathedral began). We continued on through the shop-lined streets to the Beethoven house, where Ludwig van Beethoven was born. After a tour of the house, where we saw the composer’s personal instruments and the various “hearing aids” that he used near the end of his life, we got a chance to explore the house on our own and spend a few minutes browsing his music on the computer. After breaking for lunch, we reconvened in a nearby marketplace and spent a few minutes individually watching people shop and learning the dynamics and vocab. of the open-air markets. Next, we saw the Baroque winter palace of the Cologne archbishop and elect-prince, Clements Augustus—who we learned about in Brühl—which is now the University. A short ride on the U-Bahn took us to the Deutsches Bundesrepublik Museum, where we wrapped up our day walking through and seeing the last 50+ years of both East- and West German history. Most students headed back to Cologne to relax and have dinner, but those of us with a little more Wanderlust stuck around Bonn to visit the old government quarter and walk along the Rhein before heading back. Whether wandering through the marketplaces, touring the Beethoven house, or traveling through the Deutsches Bundesrepublik Museum, we had plenty of opportunities to experience first-hand some of the lessons that no textbook can fully impart.