And so my series of weekend trips continues.

Last weekend, the weather was surprisingly good for mid-October with sunshine and temperatures of over 20°C. So some friends and I decided to get our bicycles out one last time this year and head to Bonn by bike. We cycled along the Rhine through beautiful woods full of colorful leaves. But we also passed the big industrial areas between Cologne and Bonn, which feature Germany’s largest refinery.

Industry between Cologne and Bonn

Lots of industry between Cologne and Bonn

After arriving in Bonn, we left our bikes near the old town hall and went on a stroll through the historic city center. We had a great lunch of pumpkin-and-apple-pie beneath what I believe was the ruin of a tower that once belonged to the city’s fortifications. Afterwards, we continued our walk, looked at the Bonner Münster (Bonn Minster) and had some nice ice-cream. Then we decided we didn’t want to cycle all the way back to Cologne (which would have been another 40 kilometers), so we boarded the train and were back home in just under an hour.

Bonn Minster

The Bonner Münster

 

There was a dramatic change of weather from above 20°C one week ago to temperatures around 0°C this weekend. Still, it was nice and sunny outside, so together with a friend I decided to head out to Cologne’s surroundings once more and take a look at Duesseldorf. This time, without a bike though. We just went by train, which takes about 30 minutes. Again, we walked a lot and looked at the city center, both its modern and historic parts. Then we sat down at an outside table of a restaurant to have some Altbier, which is quite a famous beer brewed in Duesseldorf. While we were enjoying the beer, we watched Duesseldorf’s soccer team lose against Wolfsburg on some screens the restaurant’s owner had hung up on the outside wall. The atmosphere was great despite all the depressed soccer fans.

Japanese food, Rhine, Altbier

Impressions of Duesseldorf: Japanese food, view of the Rhine and Altbier

After a short walk down to the Rhine (yes, that river seems to be everywhere within the region), we headed to the Japanese part of town. As there’s a large Japanese community in Duesseldorf (in fact, the largest one in Germany), there’s an abundance of Japanese shops and restaurants. We decided for Ramen (noodles) with Gyoza (fried dumplings) and Japanese Kirin beer, which all tasted really good. When we left, we realized we had been very lucky to arrive there so early. There was a long line of people in front of the restaurant waiting to get a seat.

All in all, two great trips! I will definitely have to continue exploring Cologne’s neighborhood.

And I have to admit, Duesseldorf beats Cologne in so many respects. There’s a kind of fight going on in the region between people who live in Cologne and people who live in Duesseldorf. But in my opinion and even though I live in Cologne, Duesseldorf wins: The atmosphere is nicer, Altbier tastes better than Kölsch and even the guys seem to be better-looking. I will return soon, Duesseldorf!