Always dreamed of making it to Japan for the Spring sakura (cherry blossom) but can’t afford the air fare? Europe has an alternative. If you rock up to Bonn in Western Germany in the middle of April, chances are you will be rewarded with a pink floral party, if you know where to look. We happened to be passing through on a recent road trip, and decided to poke our heads in. And sure enough, on Heerstrasse in the centre of the city, cherry blossom trees line the street, forming a beautiful canopy. Bizarrely, most of the snap happy tourists were Japanese – perhaps they were homesick. Rather than double back on ourselves, we turned the corner and wandered down Breite Strasse which is a lot quieter but equally pretty.
There are plenty of quirky cafés on Heerstrasse if you fancy some kaffee und kuchen (coffee and cake); the 18th century house where Beethoven was born is a few streets away; and Biergarten Am alten Zoll is a good spot for a beer on the Rhine. That should be enough to keep you busy for an afternoon! I’d also recommend a jaunt to nearby Schloss Drachenburg, a 19th Century villa that looks more like a Disney castle. It’s a few miles outside Bonn, on the Drachenfels hill overlooking Königswinter. We pushed on to Cologne to drink all the kölsch, but that’s a story for another time.