Date: 1 October 1999
Subject: Bonn and Cologne
There are some travel stories that are so wonderful that the reader is almost jealous when reading them... like sailing through the Waddensee for a week with a bunch of Germans for less then it would've cost to stay in a hostel for a week! And then there are stories that the reader simply will not believe, (like the proverbial being driven by the locals through the streets of town in celebration that you hear about from time to time)... when these things happen to us, there is almost a two part experience, because I KNOW it is happening, and I revel in it. But I also am a step distant thinking, WOW... this is unbelievable!!!

Anyway, back to our travelogue... I have lots of observations that will have to wait until a later time, for time reasons, but I will catch you up on the last few weeks. After the ECLIPSE, LONDON, SCOTLAND and the WADDENSEE...

We drove home late at night from the Waddensee at the end of our sailboat adventure. Home, of course, being Bonn. This was the evening of Cheryln's birthday and we had had a very nice day. We were riding with our friend Sonja and a very strange, but nice guy from the boat... one of the few who spoke no English. Between Cologne and Bonn (so almost home after 4 hours) he pulled off the Autobahn and started driving on residential streets and finally dirt roads. He wouldn't tell us what he was doing. Finally he stopped in a field next to the Autobahn; across the freeway Hotel Europa from us was a 10 story building... a huge hotel that was never completed. As a piece of art someone had placed Warholesque lit photos of famous people. Each portrait was 12 feet high and the building was covered entirely! It's called the HOTEL EUROPA and will stand until the building is torn down in two years. It was very bizarre and very cool.

We spent a week in Bonn. I got a sore throat the last day on the boat, so I was moving pretty slowly, and it was nice to have some downtime... We got out and about everyday, worked on email and shopped... but we really didn't do much. It was wonderful staying in Sonja's house with her many interesting and very generous roommates. They made us feel at home (as did the very cute mouse that we shared the attic with at night!) I didn't start to feel healthy again until the weekend and then we got all these ideas of places to go and things to do. But there wasn't time.

We did go to Koln (Cologne) for a day, which is only 20 minutes from Bonn. We wandered around the famous Dom (cathedral) for a few minutes and actually saw a rainbow over the church!!! Then a drum band assembled in a very un-German fashion -- disorganized, people trickling in even after it started, different uniforms. It was an interesting group of perhaps 40 people, kids, senior citizens, punk rockers, business people... and they had 4 or five different kinds of drums and were pounding it out! It was very loud and echoing off the church. They were GOOD! It was fun and while they were playing the rain started, first a little and then a complete downpour! It was as if they had called the rain! They did finish the number they were on before they too ran for cover. It was GREAT!!! We wandered the central city and went out to the fabulous marketplace before heading back to Bonn.

On the day before that we had seen a band too, the LOCAL HEROS played in the central marktplatz in the 1000 year old altstat. This was a IRISH FOLK/HARD ROCK band made of 6 Germans and one Croatian! Their Irish brogues were almost convincing! It was a fun show, and the accordion player was Sonja's friend Manfred.

Monday evening we met Manfred on a train to Koblenz and on to the small town of Eltville along the knee of the Rhein, in the Rheingau wine region. Manfred is a wine fanatic... he worked every year at the winery that we were going to. We had an amazing travel experience just getting on the train, meeting this person, and having him tell us all about the geography, the history and the wine. He was a cool guy and it was a great train ride.

PRESENT PHYSICAL LOCATION:   Budapest Technological University
    old town, Castle Hill, Buda I, Budapest, Hungary


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