Once derisively called Hauptdorf (capital village) just because it wasn’t Berlin, Bonn (pop. 306,000) became the capital of West Germany by chance because Konrad Adenauer, the first chancellor, resided in its suburbs. In 1999, the Bundestag packed up and moved back to Berlin, allowing Bonn to be itself again. Today, the streets of the Altstadt bustle with notable energy, and Bonn’s well-respected university and museums bolster the cultural scene. Bonn is also fast becoming a center for Germany’s computer-technology industry and hip cyber-culture.
TRANSPORTATION AND PRACTICAL INFORMATION. Trai ns run to:
Cologne (20min. 5 per hr. ‚5); Frankfurt (2hr. 1 per hr. ‚25); and Koblenz (lhr. 2 per hr. ‚8). The tourist office is at Windeckstr. 2, near the cathedral off Munsterpl. ( 194 33. Open M-F 9am-6:30pm, Sa 9am-4pm, Su 10am-2pm.) Consider buying the Bonn Regio Welcome Card (1-day ‚9, 2-day ‚14, 3-day ‚19), which covers transportation (M-F after 9am, Sa-Su 24hr.) and admission to more than 20 museums in Bonn and the surrounding area. The post office is at Munsterpl. 17. (Open M-F 9am-8pm, Sa 9am-4pm.) Postal Code: 53111.
ACCOMMODATIONS AND FOOD. Take bus #621 (dir.: Ippendorf Alten-heim) to Jugendgdstehaus to reach the super-modern Jugendgastehaus Bonn-Venusberg (HI) , Haager Weg 42. (28 99 70. Breakfast included. Laundry ‚5. Curfew lam. Dorms ‚21; singles ‚34; doubles ‚48.) Closer to the city center, Hotel Bergmann , Kasemenstr. 13 (63 38 91) is a small family-run hotel. Follow Post-str. from the station, turn left at Munsterpl. on Vivatsgasse, then right on Kasemenstr. (63 38 91. Bath on each floor. Breakfast included. Singles ‚35; doubles ‚50.)
The market on Munsterpl. teems with vendors selling meat, fruit, and vegetables. At the end of the day voices rise and prices plummet. (Open M-Sa 8am-6pm.) There is also a supermarket in the basement of the Kaufhof department store on Miinsterpl. (Open M-F 9:30am-8pm, Sa 9am-4pm.) Cheap eats are available at Mensa , Nassestr. 11, a 15min. walk from the station along Kaiserstr. (Open M-F noon-2pm and 5:30-7:30pm, Sa noon-2pm.) Cafe Blau 0, Franziskanerstr. 5, across from the university, will sate your hunger without devouring your cash supply. (Chicken or pasta platters ‚3-5. Open daily lOam-lam.)
SIGHTS AND NIGHTLIFE. Bonn’s lively pedestrian zone is littered with historic nooks. UBeethovenhaus, Beethoven’s birthplace, hosts a fantastic collection of the composer’s personal effects, from his primitive hearing aids to his first violin. (Bonng. 20. Open Apr.-Oct. M-Sa 10am-6pm, Su llam-4pm; Nov.-Mar. M-Sa 10am-5pm, Su llam-4pm. ‚4, students ‚3.) In its governmental heyday, the transparent walls of the Bundestag were meant to symbolize the government’s responsibility to the public. (Take U16,63, or 66 to HeussaUeeBundeshaus or bus #610 to Bundeshaus.) Students study within the Kurfiirstliches Schlofi, the huge 18th-century palace now serving as the center of Bonn’s Friedrich-Wilheims-Universitat. To reach Bonn’s other palace, follow Poppelsdorfer Allee to the 18th-century Poppels-dorfer Schlofi, which boasts beautifully manicured botanical gardens. (Gardens open Apr.-Oct. M-F 9am-6pm, Su 10am-5pm; Nov.-Mar. M-F 9am-4pm. Free.) The Welcome Card (see Practical Information, above) provides admission to most of Bonn’s Museum Mile. To start your museum-crawl, take U16, 63, or 66 to Heussal-lee or Museum Konig. ISHaus der Geschichte (House of History), Willy-Brandt 4, examines post-WWII German history through interactive exhibits. (Open Su and Tu-Sa 9am-7pm. Free.) One block away, Kunstmuseum Bonn, Friedrich-Ebert-Allee 2, houses a superb selection of Expressionist and modem German art. (Open Su, ‘Di and Th-Sa 10am-6pm, W 10am-9pm. ‚5, students ‚2.50.)
For club and concert listings, pick up Schniiss (‚1). The CSJazz Galerie, Oxfordstr. 24, hosts jazz and rock concerts as well as a jumping bar and disco. (Cover ‚3-5. Open Su and Tu-Th 9pm-3am, F-Sa 9pm-4am.) Pantheon, Bundes-kanzlerpl. caters to eclectic tastes with a disco, concerts, and stand-up comedy; follow Adenauerallee out of the city to Bundeskanzlerpl. (Cover ‚6.50-8. Open M-Sa llpm-4am.) Boba’s Bar, Josephstr. 17, is one of Bonn’s most popular gay and lesbian nightspots. (Open Su and Tu-Sa 8pm-3am.)