Monday, November 5, 2007

Heidelberg Abenteuer

Hi all,
So this weekend I traveled to beautiful Heidelberg. Friday afternoon, Eric and I boarded our first train of the day (with him running in 5 minutes before departure...boys). We were soon confused, however, because we couldn't find our car. As we walked along the train it went 3...4...5....5....7. Naturally, our car, number 6 was missing. Not quite certain what we should do, Eric found a conductor, who pleasantly informed us today there was no 6 and why didn't we sit right here and first class instead?" It was a hard sell, I tell you.
The landscape was beautiful - the grass is still green and the trees are all still clad in fall colors. There was a bit of fog that day so everything looked peaceful and a bit mysterious. We made our next train no problem - and that's where our luck ended. We barely made it off the train at our 5:53 stop - Eric had been napping and I was on my laptop. However, upon disembarking and watching the train roll away, we noticed two very important things.
1. This was a lovely town, but hardly looked like it was a major town (Stuttgart) and
2. The trainstation signs (along with a huge one on the building) all proudly stated "Ellwanger"
So, God bless military time. We'd actually gotten off early - by just an hour to Stuttgart - but there is no way we could catch our train from Stuttgart to Heidelberg and have Eric make his Hockey game on time. Conundrum. So, Eric squared his shoulders, and dialed his friend Mike in Heidelberg. After enduring a few minutes of laughter at our luckless stupidity, he checked a map for us - he'd never heard of Ellwanger before. Next, Eric took on the envious (not) task of talking with the lady at the train station. She spoke mostly in German and after chiding us several times about our idiocracy she gave us two options:
1. Get on the next Express Train (which we were on earlier) and get to Heidelberg at 8:05 for a mere 72 Euros or
Take the regional train pass for 29 Euros (together/up to 5 people) and get there at 8:20.
That was obviously a hard decision.

We had an hour to burn, so I took a lovely picture of Eric standing with a sign of a mother holding her child's hand (since we apparently are too dumb to ride the train correctly, we figured it fitting). Then we went to a deli shop and Eric got 100 g of potato salad. Without his glasses, he somehow thought that it looked bigger than 3 forkfuls...
After successfully making our way back to the station and the subsequent stations of Crailsheim and Heilebonn (?) we arrived at our destination.

Mike and his mom were waiting for us, bemused and ready to take us to their lovely home. After the formalities of introductions, Mike went and picked up his gf and we all played "Das Spiel des Wissens" aka, Trivial Pursuit in German. It was an old game and it was set up so you went around the solar system. This of course brought up the key point and intense discussion of the validity of playing Pluto or skipping it. The game was actually a lot of fun although Eric and I tossed around the dictionary a lot.

On Saturday we hit the town. We tried to get on the base (with thoughts of oreos and teddy grahams dancing in our heads) but Eric hadn't gotten the fine details down about how to enter (with a government ID or know someone on base) so the biggest attraction there was the prominent pink brothel across the street. We attempted the Philosopher's Path - which was pretty hellish and so we only went about a third of the way up. I figured that was adequate for a History and English/German major. Then we went to the fabled candy store. From the outside it doesn't appear to be a candy shop - if anything it looks like a dentist's office. The inside is literally crammed with candy and a line. It took a while because the shop keeper plays a dice game with every customer. If you win you get a large candy prize and if you lose, a little tiny one. It was pretty nifty. That evening we hit the local carnival but didn't stay for long - it wasn't anything spectacular and the main attraction seemed to be hanging out with your friends.

On Sunday we briefly went up to the Heidelberg castle (hence the pic) and although I didn't stand in the footprints again, I'm sure I'll be coming back sometime to Heidelberg. Then Mike dropped us off at the station and we made our way home in a relatively uneventful manner. It was a great trip and I wouldn't hesitate to go back but would definitely check my tickets twice next time.


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