Bonn Perhaps the weather was just too good at the weekend. Rather than joining StattReisen’s newly launched tours, many Bonn residents were instead drawn to local recreation areas and swimming pools. Nevertheless, there were some loyal guests on the city tours.
“Yes, he's one of us,” StattReisen guide Andrea Bewerunge noted, looking at her colleague telling a group of three people on the Marktplatz about the book burning in front of the Old Town Hall. She did not have a bigger audience on Sunday either, guiding just a couple and a GA reporter through the city. The city tours, started up again by StattReisen on Sunday, are not yet top of the list of fun things to do in Bonn.
As many as 21 tours had been announced for the company’s “new start in person”. Following in Beethoven's footsteps, through an American settlement, along the path of democracy, through the Südstadt and Weststadt areas, StattReisen boss Norbert Volpert also guided just three people through the main railway station. Then there were the bike tours, guided tours of the Bonner Bogen and themed events like notorious female residents etc. etc. “We were able to do three quarters of our tours,” Volpert summed up. Up to ten people could have joined the tour according to current corona regulations, but this number was rarely reached, for example in the evening on the night watchman's tour.
“I had hoped for more,” said Volpert. The response is still “far from normal”. This may have been due to the beautiful weather, as well as to the uncertainty about what is allowed and what is not. But the main point was probably that there are not yet any tourists from outside of Bonn who make up a lot of the audiences. In addition, according to Volpert, there are often bookings for group tours, which are not possible at the moment. There are hopes for a further easing of the rules this week.
Bewerunge, however, was happy just to be able to lead people through the city again. She had conducted several guided tours via live streaming during lockdown. You have to plan it all differently, she said, communicate with the cameraman, in short: “You have more stress and have to work to the point.” She also used the time to work out a tour “that you can sort of listen to in your car” while driving along stations.
Her tour on Sunday moved “between platform 11 and office 99”. It was all about the small and larger curiosities that the city of Bonn had afforded itself over the course of history, including the more recent ones. The guide talked about the north and south superstructures and all the bungling involved, and took us to the underground station which is also a nuclear bunker - but would not withstand normal bombs and would cut off the power to the rest of the local transport if it were sealed off.
She explained why St. Martin's parish is in the Bonn Minster, which avenue plans Elector Clemens August was unable to realise, why the height of the Sternhotel was adjusted to that of the Old Town Hall and why the Sterntor is now located where it is, a truly crazy story. Of course, we also learned what platform 11 and office 99 are all about. Those who want to know more can sign up for Bewerunge's guided tour - or for one of the many others that are now available again on weekends. Find everything you need to know at www.stattreisen-bonn.de. For tours in English see ‘English language city tours’.
(Original text: Stefan Knopp, Translation: Caroline Kusch)