I lived in Soest for a few years, as well as worked there. Soest is a small city, very accessible and easy to get around in (keeping in mind it is, like many medieval cities, built in circles radiating out from the Cathedral in the centre of town). It is very conducive to walking or cycling. Not only is Soest …
The oldtown part of Dusseldorf rocks.
I visited Blankenheim from 1976 to 1985. I loved the people culture and city. I would love to return to see frends like HUBERTA MULLER - firstname.lastname@example.org.
Bochum is beautiful, if you go there some day you can't miss a soccer game-- these people are so dedicated to their team, it's a great experience. You also have to see the Rhine river and take the lifts up the hills over all the vinyards, if you do I promise you will not be disappointed.
Fly really cheap to anywhere in Europe with Germanwings from the Cologne-bonn airport!