Plenty of visitors in the old town Bonn's cherry blossom frenzy has begun
Bonn · The blossoms are not yet fully open, but they already look great. Bars, cafés and restaurants in the Old Town are expecting an influx of customers in the coming days. The city authorities are calling on us all to wear facemasks and keep our distance.
The cherry trees in the old town are not yet in full bloom, but there are already plenty of people enjoying themselves under the canopy of pink blossoms in Heerstrasse and Breite Strasse on Sunday. In single-digit temperatures, winter jackets are taken off, selfie sticks extended and dogs cuddled. The most important thing is to find a good motif in the spring sun – following winter’s brief re-appearance (complete with cold and snow) on Saturday.
Some of the streets are crowded, which has led the city administration to advise visitors to wear a medical mask, although this is no longer compulsory. But only a few people are wearing a mask on Sunday.
Pub landlords expecting good revenues
Among the onlookers are Shelbi Ankiewicz (20) and Jona Salillari (22), who had heard about the cherry blossoms and want to pose in front of the canopy. "I love the cherry blossoms, they are great," Ankiewicz happily exclaims. Anette Baumgärtner has travelled from the Lower Rhine to visit her son in Bonn. "I'm seeing the cherry blossoms for the first time and am impressed about the contrast between the blossoms and the rows of houses," says the mother.
Katharina Müller and Basim Ghomorlou have been running Café Camus in Breite Straße for about four months. The couple had only experienced the cherry blossoms as visitors. "This is a challenge for us. The neighbourhood vibe in our café is different because of all the new faces," Müller says. Only a few of the cherry blossom tourists have a real connection to the neighbourhood and linger here. "Most just want a quick coffee and then move on." This makes it difficult to maintain the desired living room atmosphere in the café. But the next few days should make it financially worthwhile. "We expect sales to increase," says Müller.
Bonn Facebook group grumbles about flower hype
The Bonn cherry blossom festival is nothing new for Martha-Maria Gimènez-Thömmes, owner of Café de Arte in Heerstraße. For a few days, the gallery owner has been noticing things picking up again. "The cherry blossom festival is extremely important for us café owners because we have had hard times with the two years of pandemic behind us," she stresses. She sympathises with those local residents who find the crowds annoying, before adding apologetically, "It's only for a very short time which helps us all."
In the past, one of the main problems was people urinating on house walls or on bushes. To put an end to this “wild peeing” mobile toilets have been set up for a few days in the schoolyard of Marienschule and on the corner of Maxstraße and Breite Straße. There are also some toilet cabins in Paulusstraße, Heerstraße and Breite Straße. Some of the cubicles are barrier-free and the city administration has promised that they will be cleaned regularly. The toilet cubicles are important for pubs, cafes and restaurants in the old town, says restaurateur Müller. Her colleague Gimènez-Thömmes would like to see more mobile toilets, for example at the entrance to the playground in Heerstraße.
Resident Franz-Josef Hay (78) is laid back about the increasing hustle and bustle in Breite Straße. "I live in the old town, you just have to accept that there is more going on here," he says. Everything is "within reason" and he has no problem with the hordes of visitors. This is not the view of about 130 supporters of the anonymous Facebook group "No to the Cherry Blossom Festival", who react to the annual rush with bitter comments. In an interview with a TV station, a spokesperson for the group describes: "We are all residents, many even with resident parking permits. These are completely useless when our parking spaces are besieged for weeks by Südstadt lumpen and other intruders."
Original article: Niklas Schröder
Translation: Jean Lennox