Saturday, September 10, 2011

Samstag in Heidelberg

I woke up this morning (too early...) and looked out the window to find a wooded hill outside, underneath a blue blue sky. It was over 30 degrees C today (not sure in Fahrenheit), which was a nice change from 10-19 degrees in London with wind and rain. Didn't have that much sleep because my bus was stuck at roadworks for 40 minutes, and then the Pirate Pianist picked me up and we got talking... But enough sleep or functioning today, so I guess that's okay.

Pirate Pianist and I got breakfast at a bakery near her house (brezel und apfel something) and took the tram into town. So many nice houses with steep roofs and shutters! PP explained that they don’t tend to have air conditioning here, but use blinds or shutters to keep out the heat.

We wandered down the longest shopping street in Germany, which I assumed to be pedestrian-only until a BMW crawled its way through the crowds. There were some good chocolate shops and a gummy bear shop with a football pitch in its window made entirely from gummy bears. The streets are all cobblestones and narrow with buildings crowding down the sides, some painted in bright yellow and blue, and there’s a ruined castle up on the hill and a river curling down the side.

We climbed several flights of spiral stairs to the top of a church tower to see the view. Just as we reached the top (out of breath and dubious about the height we'd strayed from the ground) the midday bells started to ring, and rang all the time we were up there. If you pressed back against the wall, you could feel the tower moving with the bells, which wasn't particularly reassuring.

Boats dotted the river, and from this height the streets and buildings below looked even more quaint. There was a weir just upriver, and the old bridge directly below us while the new bridge was some way downstream. You could see blue ranges in the distance,, and of course the wooded hills around us and the ruined castle.

We met a few people on the stairs going down again, which was interesting because there really wasn't enough room to pass. We managed it without taking a sliding trip to the bottom, however, and emerged back into the sunlight to walk across the old bridge.

Pirate Pianist showed me where newlyweds lock engraved padlocks to the bridge, then throw the key into the water as a symbol of their marriage. We discussed what would happen if you tried to do that at home... After a hot chilli chocolate at a lovely cafe, we got doner kebabs and tried to eat them in the park beside the river, but had to keep running away (literally) from wasps. Some people were using barbecues and creating clouds of smoke, so in the end we stood in one of those and ate as fast as we could.

There was a rowing race happening on the water, which was exciting to see, and lots of spectators and a bouncy castle as well as sunbathers taking advantage of the heat. We didn't stay long after finishing, though, (the wasps were determined to eat our food, even though it was all gone) and caught a train out to a little village with its own castle. Here we had some icecream and tried to have lemon lime and bitters, but it appears bitteren aren't the same bitters as in NZ.

The castle was closed, but we were still able to walk around it and cross the moat. I decided I'd quite like a house with a moat, as long as there's a drawbridge. We wandered the streets a bit more then took the tram back to PP's house, where cold drinks and a siesta awaited us.

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