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Finally made it to Bonn

overcast 45 °F

Well, so much for that. I completely slept through my alarm, which hasn't happened in quite a while. I had planned on getting up early to go for a run before we left for breakfast in Bonn, but instead I woke up to Elke knocking on my door at 9am. I got ready in about a minute and a half and hopped in the car, because Elke had an appointment at the BMW dealership. It only took a few minutes, then we headed to their favorite restaurant for breakfast. It's essentially a little diner, but they go there almost every Saturday because its the only place they have found that can cook a soft boiled egg the way Elke likes. Is it just me, or is a soft boiled egg pretty much the ONLY way American's don't eat eggs? Also, I don't realize just how much and how often I eat until I come to Europe. Elke had one soft boiled egg for breakfast. One. And Bernd had a tiny little plate with one piece of rolled up ham and one piece of rolled up salami with a tomato wedge. And rolls of course. I got a couple scrambled eggs with ham, plus a double plate of what Bernd got and still could have kept going.

After breakfast, we split up. Elke had to do a bit of shopping, and Bernd showed me around the city. He had to pick up a pair of shoes, and I bought a map of the region. We passed by Old City Hall, IMG_0815.jpg
...and an entrepreneur who turned a tree into a climbing wall.
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The huge plaza outside Old City Hall had a farmer's market,
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...and of course the requisite authentic german band.
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Apparently, local asparagus is huge here and the season is just starting up. They have white and green asparagus, but the white seems to be preferred and is as thick as a half dollar. Here's the "asparagus queen" who is literally elected every year by asparagus growers or something to promote their products. 90_IMG_0820.jpg
Bernd said, and I quote "That's the asparagus queen, and she looks it." I'm not sure if it it's just Bernd or if its typical German bluntness, but when describing someone, adjectives almost always include either "beautiful" or "really quite ugly." Later on in the day, the conversation turned to Obama's recent gaffe of introducing "the best looking attorney general." Bernd said that Germans did not understand why this was such a big deal and said that a German woman would be happy to be called beautiful. He did note, however, that over the last decade or so, Germany is becoming more like the US in terms of political correctness. On politics, Germany's two major parties, the Social Democratic Party and the Christian Democratic Union seemed to have been quite similar to the Republicans and Democrats. Bernd described the Social Democrats as the more liberal and concerned with helping the poor while the Christian Democrats were on the side of the invisible hand and family values. Interestingly, he said that both parties have moved toward the center in recent years to meet the general population, to the point where you sometimes can't tell the difference between competing candidates from each party. Certainly quite different from the trend in the US.

The plan was to meet back up at the record store, so that's where we headed next. Bernd and Elke have a pretty extensive record collection with a high end record player, and have a favorite store they like to go to in Bonn.
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"Analogue" was like the Starbucks of music. They had a system set up and couches scattered around, and we would put records on and just talk with the owner.
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The owner's passion for records was quite infectious. You truly can tell the added depth of the music compared to a mp3, which has been compressed. He says that with a record, the "music is happening TO you." Quite honestly, I was surprised to hear that records were still being made, but he said that even today's popular music can be bought on a record. I got to put on my very first record, previously unreleased recordings from Jimi Hendrix, although I let him put the needle on, since the needle cartridge was worth 3000 Euros (About $4k). Yeow.

On the way home, we stopped at the Grocery store. It's fairly small, but they do a pretty nice job. Theres an extra large sausage/cured meat selection for the germans of course...IMG_0830.jpgIMG_0831.jpg90_IMG_0832.jpgIMG_0833.jpg90_IMG_0835.jpg
On a typical sunday morning, Bernd makes a big breakfast, but tomorrow, I'll be making them eggs. We decided on Greek omelettes, so we got everything we needed for that and they they asked me whether there was anything else I would like. When I asked for peanut butter, Elke was noticeably surprised. Peanut butter is apparently pretty exotic for Germans. They didn't even know where it was and had to ask an employee. We got back home and started fixing lunch. Since I got here, I've been eating bread with just about every meal but for lunch I just grabbed an apple and peanut butter. Elke asked if I wanted bread and I said no thanks and she seemed perplexed haha. A slice of bread or a roll is truly part of every meal here. She was also interested in the apple with peanut butter and thought it was a strange combination. I told her about how every American kid has had countless peanut butter and jelly sandwiches and suggested she try one or try a peanut butter and banana sandwich.

Bernd and Elke are headed to a friends house for dinner so I'm on my own to explore tonight. So after lunch I read for a little while then looked up a few sights to see in Bonn. I also planned out a running route along one of the main streets in Bonn and packed my running shoes. There is a museum of post-war German history that I would really love to go to, but Bernd and Elke actually said they would like to come along on that one, so we'll have to find time later. I would also like to go to the Arithmeum, a museum that explores the intersection of mathematics, technology and art (kind of sounds like TED, doesn't it?) In Bonn, I found a parking spot near the beginning of the route I had mapped out beginning on the river in the Northern outskirts of town. Then I headed South. I brought my phone, which was lucky because I passed a number of things on the way. One of which was Villa Hammerschmidt, which was the German "White House" when Bonn was the capital. Apparently it is still the secondary residence of the president.
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I also passed this unhappy looking fella, Konrad Adenaur, the first postwar chancellor of Germany (the plaque was in German, so thanks wikipedia!)
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This was also funny. When I was in London, there weren't too many of the iconic red telephone booths left. Apparently, they sold a few of them to Germany...
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My route also took me through an arch under The University of Bonn...
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...and passed this museum that is apparently famous as it was on all the sites about top things to see in Bonn...
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When I got to the southern edge of town along the river, I turned back. It ended up being around 15k (10 miles)...Google maps automatically gives me km when I'm over here.

I had brought along a banana for after my run, but by then it was about 8pm and I was pretty hungry, so I changed my clothes in the car and drove closer into the center of town in search of food. I was pretty surprised how dead things were in town. EVERYTHING was closed at 8 and it was still light out. Nevertheless, I wandered around and saw some of the things I had seen early in the day, but now illuminated in the twilight.90_IMG_0867.jpg
This gate is the last remnant of medieval Bonn.
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It is the perfect time to be in Germany, because most trees are in full blossom. I wish I had seen this in the daytime, because this tree's blossoms were quite nice. 90_IMG_0876.jpg

There are quite a bit of high end shopping throughout Bonn. Bernd had explained that they didn't have many shopping malls (although they were starting to become more prevalent by building just outside cities and therefore paying much lower rent and driving the inner city shops out of business). Let me tell you, Nantucket Red is HUGE in germany right now. Literally every mannequin was wearing something in Nantucket Red. I'm afraid that now that I know Nantucket Red blazers and scarves exist, I wont be able to live without them.
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(Just kidding on the scarf. I'm not THAT european yet)
I also passed a TJ Maxx, ahem TK Maxx. I wonder why they would make that change. Is TK a more European name than TJ? Seem's like a lot of extra hassle for nothing.
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Anyways, it was close to 10pm by now, and I was starving and hadn't seen anything but bars open. Finally I found a subway. Now usually, I don't give subway salads much credit, but this was a welcome bit of home, and probably the most veggies I've had in a day since I got here. IMG_0883.jpg

Miraculously, I not only found my car, but also got home in the dark without a hitch. Clearly German street signs make a lot more sense to me than American ones. I get lost in Rochester more often in a week than I have so far in a week in Germany. I got home late and took a shower and finally discovered why my towel rack was so strange looking. Pretty ingenious!
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I caught up on a few emails and planned a day in Cologne tomorrow. Bernd and Elke got home around midnight, then we all turned in.

Posted by atbrady 13:05 Archived in Germany Tagged of germany city university villa old hall bonn running eggs analogue records scrambled konrad adenaur hammerschmidt asparagas Comments (2)

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