Our lovely and excitable landlady took us on a little excursion last week to Ahrweiler, a beautifully preserved medieval town in the Ahr River Valley about half an hour from Bonn. (She spoke lots and lots of German to us, which Tyler did a great job of understanding and responding to. I dozed in the car. She also bought us ice cream.)
We'd already gotten a taste of half-timbered cuteness in Königswinter, but Ahrweiler is all cuteness, everywhere you look, on steroids. The houses are not just half-timbered, but intricately carved and painted. The town is surrounded by 14th-century (I think) walls with towers and gates, and beyond are rolling hills covered in grape trellises. In short, it is stunning.
Because we had a third person along on the trip, we were able to take our first pictures together since we've been here. I'm including several, since these will probably continue to be rare.
This church is quite similar to Doppelkirche (the one we can see from our windows), but bigger and more beautiful. Like Doppelkirche, the interior walls are covered in paintings, some dating from as early as the 14th century.
If you'd like to see more of the ridiculous half-timbered cuteness, you can find more pictures on our Flickr: http://www.flickr.com/photos/meldrumhaus (look for the Ahrweiler set).
After Ahrweiler, Frau de Matos took us to see some picturesque ruins in Bad Godesberg (south of Bonn; still considered part of Bonn; I'm not clear on this point). Behind this 12th-century arch is a restaurant and civil marriage office.
Until recently the arch was covered with ivy, and what stone showed through was black. Frau de Matos seemed very indignant about its restoration.
The views from up here were even better than the ones you get across the river in Königswinter, in part because you can see Schloss Drachenburg showing off its glinting towers and golden stags on its hillside across the way.