I just had to say it, didn’t I?
After yesterday’s adventuring my feet were crying for a steady day. Yesterday was supposed to be a rest day but when I made the bookings and itinerary I had completely forgotten about Wuppertal. Kinda has me wishing for one less day in Stuttgart and one more day here.
After breakfast in the hotel I made my way to the station to head to Bonn. I’d wanted to check it out as part of the trip as it was the capital of West Germany until the reunification in 1990 when a vote returned the capital to Berlin.
I had to catch a train to Köln (Cologne) and transfer to a second train. It was chaos when I got there as the board was lit up with cancelled and delayed trains. This has turned out to be a good thing because I’m transiting through Cologne on my way to Brussels tomorrow so I’m going to catch an earlier train just in case my transfer window ends up like the Mannheim transfer going from Stuttgart to Hamburg. The train I wanted to catch had been cancelled due to a fault, the next train was delayed and ended up getting sent to another platform. After another 10 minutes that train got cancelled too. I should have called it there and came back to Düsseldorf, but no, sunk cost fallacy I decided to stick it out. Eventually a train came going where I wanted to go and I jumped on.
Made it to Bonn almost an hour and a half later than I wanted to. A quick and easy lunch of Fish and Chips then I ducked into the info centre to purchase tickets for the tour bus. By the time I got to the tour bus stop I had just missed the thing and the next one wasn’t for another hour. Took a short walk around the old town and finally jumped on the bus just after 3:30pm. The tour itself was great, got to see all around the town and the government district that is now the United Nations Campus and Conference Centre. There was a section of the city we went through that was a new urban development, only completed a couple of years ago. It was all low density apartment blocks with green spaces around. The tour even took us down a path that is supposed to be for bikes and pedestrians only, obviously the tour bus has an exemption here. Apparently the final decree (I think that’s the right word?) to relocate the capital to Berlin after the reunification was signed in a waterworks building that was being used as the parliamentary building. While Bonn was left relatively untouched by the war compared to larger cities like Cologne and Hamburg there wasn’t the same level of infrastructure for government buildings and they had to build new or use what they had. Given the American occupation of the area a lot of reconstruction money was apparently pumped into Bonn due to it being relatively untouched.
Given the tour took just over two hours that was basically it for Bonn because I had to get a train back to Düsseldorf before they finished for the day. I hadn’t studied the timetable at all before leaving assuming I would have all afternoon so wasn’t prepared to risk sticking around beyond the 6-o’clock-ish time I’d elected as my latest departure.
Turns out I could have. The trains coming back were just as munted as they were on the way there. The 6:18 train I was going to catch was 35 minutes delayed and was packed when it eventually turned up with more people (myself included) wanting to get on. I was lucky to have purchased a first class DB Pass that allowed me to access the area at the very back of the train that was almost empty. There was zero chance a ticket inspector was going to walk through this train, especially given I’ve only encountered three of them in my nine days here.
I got scolded by a beggar at the station as well. I can only assume it was something about my not speaking German as the barrage came immediately after “Mein Deutsche ist nicht gut”. Dunno what he said, also don’t really care.
By the time I got back here I didn’t want to put too much thought into dinner so I just had a BBQ chicken roll and a donut.
Heading to Belgium tomorrow for a day and a half in Brussels then it’s Eurostar to London.