Germany Day 1-Heildeberg

>> Saturday, July 04, 2009

*****I apologize in advance for my spelling errors....the dang spell check says everything is wrong because it is in GERMAN!!! I guess Blogger is linked to German server to has German spellcheck. My Dashboard is German too...but luckily I know my way around well enough to make due. ******

So I made it! Whew. I am running about two days behind on pictures. It is currently 1:30 in the morning and I just got back from our day out in Stuttgart, Germany. But here are my pictures from yesterday in Heildeberg.

All I can say about Heildeberg is absolutely beautiful. Imagine stepping back hundreds of years and you would be sitting in the Old Town sector of Heidleberg. The city was hit during the war but the ruin that was left of the castle and surrounding town is breathtaking. It was the perfect start to my holiday.

This is the hotel we stayed at. It was very quaint. It was five star as you could tell by the service. I got a "welcome" drink upon arrival of sparkling wine. The room was all Laura Ashley. What the room didn't have? Air conditioning. What all of Germany has in air conditioning. Ugh. Not even in MCDONALDS! Michael says he has been hot for a week. (FYI we are in a Hilton tonight and have AIR!!!)

What the room did host was a crank window with a lovely view. That is actually someone's house across the way. The crank window provided the air conditioning for the room.

Once I got settled Michael was not far behind me and met me within the hour. We immediatly set out to explore since by now it was past lunch time. This is the view directly outside our hotel. Right across the Neckar River is the castle. From here you cannot see the devastation caused by the bombs during the war. Breathtaking!

To get the castle we paid 6 euros for a one trip on this train. I was shocked once I realized it only went about .1 mile. But then I realized if I didn't take the train I would have to take the 300 steep stairs leading to the castle. Done and Done! Thanks for the heads up Sybil!

Once we got off the train down from the castle you can see all of Old Town. That is the Old Bridge going across the river. I told Michael I could only imagine living in the castle and looking down at the kingdom.

Statue at town center. Also a fountain. We definitly saw a guy bathing in it (by bathing I mean face, hands, underarms...not nude bathing!) and not a homeless guy but an average joe. Some custom I don't know about?

A street right off the center square. There are outside bars everywhere. It is great for people watching. I think this is because it is cooler outside than in because there IS NO AIR!

Another shot of the castle from the opposite bank for the river. I should mention all of the pictures with both of us in them is via my tripod. The best ever for vacations. Especially ones where you don't know how to ask someone else to take picture! haha. Plus I center it, focus so I know it will be a decent picture unlike most people who just snap say whatever! I feel some good pics on the vacation.

Old Bridge. We didn't see cars on the bridge so I am not sure if driving is not allowed but the bridge had mostly pedistrain traffic.

Philospher's Way. A beautiful walk along the Neckar River.

Inside the Castle walls there was this weird clock.

This trip feels like a second honeymoon. So romantic thus far.

In the castle this caught my eye. It almost looks like Eads I love you. I do baby!

At the Wine Vat display

In the castle. I wish I could get married at this place!

This is a Giant Wine Vat. I am assuming it supplied the castle with refreshments. Huge! I think we should buy this and supply Eadsfest with wine this year. No chance we will run out before the last event.

There was also a Pharmacy Mueseum in the castle. I saw this and had to take a picture. I am not even going to say anything but we got a good giggle.

Inside castle walls

This picture really shows you some of the damge done during the war. Wow!

Almost more impressive than the castle was the grounds and gardens. We just sat on a bench and talked. It was so peaceful and sureal. The trees were so big it made you realize how old they really were.

Fountain in the castle gardens

There was a random rose garden in a perfect circle. Not sure if there is some signifigance to that but I started being goofy and meditated in the circle.

But if that wasn't enough I had to start being silly

Another view from the grounds. Right below where we snapped this picture they had sheep wandering in the fields (to avoid cutting grass?) They were "baaaaing" away while we strolled. We got a good laugh out of the sheep. It is random to see sheep just hanging out.

I wouldn't say they are "restoring" the castle but maybe reinforcing it so it doesn't fall onto the village below? There was some definite construction going on around one of the towers. Of course
I couldn't read anything so I couldn't tell why they were doing it.

This is the front of the castle from the courtyard surrounding the entrance.
I love this pic

So after we walked the city and castle we settled down for a nice beer in Germany. I tried a Pilsner first...yuck

Then after many cocktails during happy hour switched to Heferfizen (Colleen will be proud!) As you can tell below the night went on for quite some time. I would say we all had a great time. Between three of us we racked up a 140 euro tab with dinner and drinks. Yes this was me smiling pre bill

mmmmm I found my favorite type of German beer.

Oh it was late night by now

And good night!

We did it up right my first day/night. Considering I just flown in from an eight hour flight and hadn't showered in what seemed like forever due to 24 hours of travel I hung it well. But boy was I soar in the morning. I should mention we did go DOWN the stairs from the castle. I had to work off all the liquid carbs Germany blessed me with.
I will end with a few observations I have noted during my short visit thus far:
1. AIR CONDITIONING!! Now I know why people say Europeans stink. It is because they are always hot. And yes they really do have a not so fresh musk.
2. There are no screens on the windows. The windows are always open to due to Obs. #1. It is strange to me. But then I realized I say no bugs. Weird? We ate outside and there were no flies either. I just don't get it.
3. People are artsy. By artsy I mean purple hair, lots of tattoos, peircings, Crazy hair cuts, weird rocker clothes.
4. I have never seen so many pairs of leggings in my life. Women wear them under shorts, skirts, dresses, capris. Everywhere
5. Men where capris. Enough said
6. I don't know if people are just more in tune with each other or if the Gay population is skyrocketing in the area but there were a lot of dudes "hanging" out in a way more friendly way than my guy friends hang out. Or maybe all gay people just live here. Maybe I was in a community and didn't realize it. But been in two towns and have seen it both places.
7. Women were manly haircuts. It was not uncommon to see women with buzzed heads. Refer back to #6?
8. I don't see really overweight people. I see chunky but not really obeses people. Maybe it is just americans. I didn't see fat kids either. Mmmmmm
9. There seems to be some sort of pride in flowers here. Everyone has window boxes full of beautiful geraniums, and the florist shops at the Bahn (train) stations are marvelous. It adds a certain amount of charm.
10. German is too bad to read. It seems a lot like English. I am finding it easier and easier to naviagate based off of this. I don't feel as helpless as initially anticpated. It is kind of thrilling to have a certain amount of confidence about things in a strange land. Things have clicked in a way.
Well I am off to bed. Tomorrow we leave for Zurich. Hopefully I can get in a post about Stuttgart the Porsche Museum, and the Palace and surrounding areas on my two hour train ride.



Susan July 4, 2009 at 9:58 PM  

Steph, Europeans aren't fat because they WALK EVERYWHERE. I noticed that in Paris. Made me feel was also frustrating trying to buy clothes as souvenirs.
I am SO STINKING jealous. It looks beautiful. Screw the heat-I just spent a week walking on hot asphalt in Florida. You'll survive. By a Camelbak and fill it with ice water. Or better yet, liquor.

Mickie July 9, 2009 at 5:09 PM  

Looks like you are having a blast! I've not been to Germany, but I felt like I had a lot of the same revelations about Europe on my travels as well. Jack would love to go to Germany, maybe we'll get there one day too.