Bonn: The First Step

The Symphony has arrived in Germany! After touching down at Frankfurt airport, we blazed toward the city of Bonn, our first stop on the tour.


Bonn was once the capital of West Germany, during the period after World War II. Though the national capital was moved back to Berlin after 1990, with the unification of East and West Germany, the city continues to house numerous civil servants from the federal government, as well as several United Nations agencies.

Our tour guides mentioned that Bonn is sometimes called a “large town” rather than a full-scale city; it has a population of 328,000 compared to Berlin’s 3.5 million inhabitants. However, this is not to its detriment. The streets were pleasant and walkable, with lots of green public spaces.

Like many other Germany cities, Bonn encourages walking and bicycling as forms of transit, and we found the old city center and surrounding streets to be eminently walkable, Particularly noteworthy are the bike lanes: bicyclists zipped down special paths separated from cars, often painted adjacent to (and level with) the sidewalk. If you are on foot, be sure to stay out of the bike lane!

Collage of bicycle photos

Bonn is a university town, with the Universität Bonn as a focal point. We noticed plenty of students out on the grass enjoying the sunshine, as Stanford students are also apt to do.

Universitat Bonn's "Oval"

It’s just like the Stanford Oval! Although Universitat Bonn’s version is actually more of a rectangle…

Despite many yawns, we also had our first rehearsal in the afternoon, as our series of concerts begins tomorrow. We’re catching a good night’s rest before our tour of the Beethovenhaus in the morning, so for now, gute Nacht!

This Symphony Diary was prepared by Kevin Hsu.

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