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Friday, January 20, 2012

The Rhine's Hidden Gems: Dusseldorf, Bonn & Cologne


When we picture the Rhine, we see for castles and vine-covered hills. However, the river is more than that; it’s an “urban lifeline” passing through the high-quality-of-life state of North Rhine-Westphalia, and connecting the towns of Bonn, Cologne and Düsseldorf. Impressively, Dusseldorf ranked No. 6 on a list of high-quality places to live. See what these these hidden gems have to offer.

Dusseldorf

Düsseldorf
Founded where the languid waters of the River Dussel collide with the Rhine, this city lies away on either side of the Dussel. Dusseldorf is home to Europe’s largest Japan Town and fashion fair. If you visit the town, it is imperative to try its signature Altbier (Old Beer), which is poured through the spigots of 250 different inns, restaurants and bars. For great grub, head on over to Brauerie Zum Schiffchen, a restaurant where Napoleon and his staff celebrated their victory over the Rhineland.

Moreover, alluring shopping can be found at Königsallee, the trendy boulevard featuring exclusive, swanky stores like Gucci and Louis Vuitton. Museums there are abundant, but the one to see is the two-in-one K20K21, boasting 21st century works in K21 and 20th century works by Picasso, Klee & Mondrian in K20; and the Kunst im Tunnel, presenting contemporary art in a former DPW tunnel. Finally, Düsseldorf’s MediaHarbor contains contemporary works of German and international architects, while attracting visitors to its landmark, Gehry’s Leaning Towers.


Bonn
Once the nation’s capital and Beethoven’s hometown, Bonn still breathes historic political life. The Deutsche Welle at one time housed the German Parliament, while the Villa Hammerschmidt was home to the president of West Germany. Today, the Hofgarten Park hosts university folk instead of youth protests. Furthermore, museums run rampant in the city. You can see a wide collection of Beethoven’s portraits, instruments and more at his museum, the Beethoven-Haus, and the House of August Macke, a painter who created more than 400 German Expressionist masterpieces. Or to learn more about the aforementioned historic changes, you can visit the Haus der Geschichte.

Cologne
Cologne
First things first: the Gothic Cathedral. The city’s primary attraction is a UNESCO World Heritage Site that dates back to the Roman occupation. Inside, you’ll find the Shrine of the Three Magi and other historical treasures from 1,100 years ago. Don’t miss its most noteworthy exhibits: St. Peter’s staff and chains. Across this monumental work of genius, you’ll see the Romano-Germanic Museum, where you’ll discover the life of Dionysus on a Mosaic floor, and the world’s largest collection of Roman glassware among other riches. Lastly, the Fragrance Museum is the oldest perfume factory in the world boasting Eau de Cologne, the world’s oldest perfume brand. Other top museums include the Chocolate Museum, the Museum of Applied Art, and the Sport and Olympics Museum.

Delve into any of these top River Towns on one of our River Cruises!
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