There are times in life and in travel where we can become suddenly and violently exhausted. When this happens in life we call it burn out and we seek ways to slow down and lighten our load so that we can replenish our energy levels. In travel however we tend to ignore it because there are so many things that we want to see and do, and anyways “we can sleep on the plane ride home.”
This vacation mentality of trying to see everything at once, of cramming as much as possible into the daily itinerary; can actually lead to us enjoying our time away less and less. We become stretched so thin that we rob ourselves of the joy and pleasure of travel.
This was how I was feeling after my first two and a half weeks in Germany. I had seen so many amazing places, and gotten to hang out with so many amazing people; but I wasn’t pacing myself. I wasn’t allowing myself the time and space to process and truly enjoy all that I had done so far. That’s why my stay in Bonn came at just the right time.
The friend that I was staying with was attending university, so while she went to classes in the mornings I had a few hours to myself to reflect and recharge. Those morning re-fueled and brought me back to a place of excitement about the rest of my trip; instead of over thinking and over analyzing how I could see as many things as possible in my short time here.
While my mornings in Bonn were characterized with calm and quiet, the afternoons are where the adventures took place. Bonn was once the capital of Germany, so there are so many interesting historical places to visit. From the House of History Museum which chronicles much of Germany’s history, to the original Haribo shop (where the number of gummy candies you can buy is overwhelming), to the many delicious and unique places to eat, there’s always something to do or see or eat. There are also so many great trails to hike…but a word of caution: make sure that you know where the trail head is otherwise you could end up spending 2 hours on a bus travelling around the village looking for it.
We even ended up going to Köln (or Cologne for you English speakers out there) which is right next to Bonn. This is where a huge cathedral resides, and you can climb up to church tower. However climbing 533 stairs in a spiral stair case can be a touch tiring (and dizzying), but the view is well worth the Jell-O legs at the end. This is also where one of the many love lock bridges in Europe can be found, and it’s quite fun to walk along and read the dates and see the many different types of locks.
At the end of the week, I felt relaxed and ready for the second half of my trip. It was good to take time to slow down, and not have to cram six different things into one day.
For your next trip (or even just in your day to day life) I highly encourage you to take even just one day to not really do a whole lot and savour the journey that you’re on.
I will leave you with final piece of advice: watch out for the pigeons, because they will fly at you and they will hit you in the face.