We did not discover until partway through our trip home that if you set the automatic navigation system to “short route” it is different than “fast route”. To us, shortes route is the fastest route, so we didn’t think much of it when we set it initially. What we ended up taking was truly the scenic route, weaving through the countryside and small towns. It was nice and showed us that Attendorn is a pretty typical smaller town here in Germany. We went past lots of old churches as the roads wound through the rolling countryside. We enjoyed watching small town life as we puttered through the streets. At one intersection, we saw a bridal party being chased and honked at by a line of cars. (it was cool to see they do that here too and it isn’t just an American thing to do) There were trees everywhere. My biggest impression of Germany is probably how green it is and how many trees tower over the roads and countryside.
Eventually, the architecture started changing slightly and the towns along the way became a little denser and gradually looked more and more urban, until we found ourselves driving in a large metropolitan Bonn.
One of the more unsettleing things is that the road share the same space as the trains in places. There wasn’t any choice but to follow the roadway, but dang, it made us nervous. As we got into town, the lanes of traffic split, with the rails in the middle, so you were right up next to any passing trains. The trains were really short too. I am used to freight trains, miles long at times. This is maybe two up to six cars long, painted brightly with advertisements.
Our first blip with the navigaton system came when we were in the middle of heavy traffic in downtown Bonn. The voice suddenly announced “You have reached your final destination area” with no further explanation and we were like “Where?” We are in the middle of traffic and no sign of the specific store we are looking for. We decided it might be on one of the side streets and maybe you can’t drive there. (a weird phenomena we have noticed around here. On the older, super narrow streets, they often block off all automobile traffic and you are only able to walk). We found a parking garage just before the train platform (and what appeared to be a giant outdoor escalator) and went down into that, hoping we would be able to figure out how to pay for the dang thing. lol. Faced with multiple directions we could go, pointing to, presumably, different streets above, we kept going left. We ended up finding a parking space about 5 spaces away from one of the exit doors down a level. I had to get out of the car so Zach could park because the space was so narrow that I would have not been able to get out.
We ended up next to an elevator, and when we came up to the street, we discovered we were across the street from where we went down. lol.
That was odd. It was the first time I can remember being in a group that big crossing a street. It was a wall of people and bikes pushing forward to the other side. We walked away from the train platform, trying to figure out where exactly it was that the navigation system abruptly announced we were there. As it turns out, we overshot it a few streets, but we did eventually find the street we were looking for.
Along the way, Zach was amused by the fake birds on the sign.
The shopping area itself was really amazing, although the crush of people made me know this is not a place I would ever want to come with Zane.
Zach is the one who spotted the place first. I was dazzled by all of the shops and not looking up at signs, but suddenly there it was, the meca of German Yarn: Wolle Rodel. (I don’t know how to put those little circles above letters, so pretend they are there) Oh.My.Goodness. Now THIS, my friends, is a yarn store. Whoa. The selection was dizzying. I read someplace on the internet that their in store brand is pretty good, but I ended up picking out things like Regina, and Lana and other magnificent brands. It was about half the price that I would pay for it in Kansas, and considerably more than the dozen or so various colorways I have ever seen IRL before. It was Yarn Nirvana. I had fun. They had all kinds of yarn there, but I was focused on the sock yarn because I don’t feel like spending the kind of cash I would need to if I were to make my plus sized body a sweater, but socks I can handle. lol (I will take pictures of the stash later, but they are in the car trunk at Zach’s work right now)
After the yarn, headed back to the street, we noticed Beethoven’s house and museum. We stopped there to look in the shop and at the building, but didn’t really want to spend the time going through the house, and especially not pay to do it when we had plans of going to the art museum in Cologne. (Had it been Bach, or Vivaldi, or especially Mozart, we would have spent more time there despite our other plans, but the desire to see a Monet and Rembrant IRL was overwhelming my desire to see Beethoven’s house on the inside) I did, however, pee there. So, I can now say that I peed at Beethovens house. lol.
So, for those of you who found this blog searching for where to shop for yarn in Bonn, Germany, find Beethoven’s house and on the other side of the street, a few shops up (away from the main driving street), you will see Wolle Rodel. On the street we drove in on, there was a big McDonalds on the corner across the street from the walkable shopping area.
We grabbed a quick snack and cup of coffee before going back to our car, with my wool sitting at my feet. We had cheesy bread and some pastries with bavarian cream in them. We decided that “hey, I think these are what toaster pastries are supposed to taste like”
Along the way we came across a group of American (by the accent) college age girls all giggly trying to shuffle around and take pictures of eachother. I asked if they wanted me to take a picture of them all together and they were giddy. lol. I think afterwards it might occur to them…”hey…she spoke English”, but they were so focused on what they were doing at the time I don’t think it registered.” lol
Getting out of a parking garage is sort of weird. The “out” bar area isn’t manned. On your way to retrieve your car is a vending machine type thing. You put your parking ticket in there, then start putting in Euros until you have paid it. It stamps it and spits it back out at you. Then you find your car, follow the Ausfahrt signs (our nemonoic, of sorts, to remember which is “exit” is “the Fahrts exit out the Aus”) and find your way to the street. When you get to the exit bars, you slide the stamped ticket in and the bars raise up (and you sigh in releif that you figured it out)
This is where the navigation starts getting weird and you remember why you need to bring a map, a compass, your common sense, and a sense of humor with you on the trip. Right outside the parking garage we set the navigation for Cologne/Kohn.
Since the parking garage exited out onto a side street, we had to first get back on the highway and followed the instructions of the lady in the machine as we wound around the streets. At first, all seemed well, but as it kept telling us to “turn right/left at 100 meters”, then “turn right/left NOW” and it was directing us to turn into buildings, we first thought it was because we don’t have a really good feel for what “meters” is because we think in feet and yards, not the metric system. It seemed like it had us going in circles, and then, we as we pulled up to the exit of the parking garage, we discoverd it had, indeed, directed us in a circle, we pulled over and laughed heartily and tried to reset the navigation system again. It did it again. We decided maybe it thought we were on the highway above, so we pulled farther away and reset the system again. When it tried to take us back to the parking garage, we rebeled and found our own way back to the street. At this point, the navigation system is having her own little meltdown because she thinks we are lost, lost, lost, and keeps insisting that we are “off road” and “New Route, Make a U-Turn” in a sing-songy voice. After hearing this a while, when we are clearly back on track, we decide the lady in the navigation system is autistic, and very happy Zane is not in the back seat to pick up the phrase “New Route, Make a U-Turn” in a sing-songy voice over and over again when we pass something he wants to go to. lol. Eventually we get the navigation system reset and all seems well for the trip to Cologne. It still has us taking side routes instead of the Autobahn, which confuses us, but we can see on the map and with the compass that we are going the right direction, so we live with it.
On to Cologne/Koln