As I've alluded to previously, we have been living in Bonn since the beginning of February.

It's a shock to the system to move from Berlin to Bonn. The current capital is not only a much larger city, it's dynamic urban landscape, and magnet for all types. The former capital, derisively known as the Bundesdorf (i.e. federal village, as opposed to federal capital) is quaint and provincial by comparison. In the time it would have taken me to get to my U-Bahn stop in Berlin to go somewhere, I can walk to most places in Bonn I would care to visit. In less than the time it would have taken me to get from my home in Prenzlauerberg to a destination in West Berlin, I can now travel to Cologne, the closest major city.

In Berlin, wealth stands out (because most people are poor, or artists, or both). In Bonn, poverty stands out (because most people are affluent.)

Having spent some time in Holland, I can tell that Bonn is far enough west in Germany that some things feel Dutch. The train station is ringed by crammed bike racks. The churches are brick rather than stone. The city and the countryside intersperse. (My travel guide says that two-thirds of the land within city limits hasn't been built on.) Bönnsch, the local dialect, begins to sound like Dutch.

The world looks different from Bonn (402 km to Paris) than it does from Berlin (877 km to Paris, but just 516 km to Warsaw). When Bonn was the West German capital, inevitably politicians must have had their eye on relationships with the Brussels (the EU), London, and Paris. Now that the German capital is in Berlin, they can't help but think about eastern Europe.

Our apartment is slightly southeast of the main university building, a former palace.

Stand by the main university building and look southwest, and you'll be looking down Poppelsdorfer Allee. E. gets this view every day on her way to work.

It's not a city with many major landmarks, but one of them is St. Martin's Basilica (M√ľnsterbasilika), a late Romanesque church with Gothic elements.


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