Today I left Ulm to visit a little town called Heidelberg, which is famous for itâ€™s quaint German setting underneath a great castle. After winding back through the old town from the hostel and saying goodbye to Anja, I got to the train station to get an earlier train to Heidelberg. Unfortunately there wasnâ€™t anything nonstop, but I figured I could handle a transfer halfway through to arrive earlier. The train was late by about 5 minutes so it made me nervous about making the transfer, but I went ahead and gave it a shot anyhow. Thatâ€™s part of the adventure, right?
After a train ride through the countryside, then to Stuttgart, I got a little nervous that somehow the train had changed without me knowing it. Now all the signs said Salzburg, and I definitely didnâ€™t want to be heading for Austria. Alas, it was the correct train, and I saw my transfer point as the next stop. The train was still a little late, and once we arrived at the station, I literally had just enough time to step out the train, lug my luggage down the stairs on one platform, up the other to get on board as it pulled up. Iâ€™ve surprised myself this time with the amount of luggage, but it was an unusual trip as I needed to bring nicer clothes, so I brought 3-4 dress shirts just in case.. but of course, I didnâ€™t use them, and theyâ€™ve added room to my already full luggage. I have ended up buying some clothes here too, along with the Milka chocolate, and still have to get my favorite Nivea products that I canâ€™t get at home.
After arriving in Heidelberg, I headed for the luggage storage area. Of course, the machine I select ate the money and didnâ€™t function, so I had to get someone to help. She overrided the system, and gave me a certificate for me to come back that eveningâ€”that worried me a bit since I just had to think, what if I canâ€™t find HER, and what if no one can be FOUND in the station to help get my luggage out. They do often seem shorthanded in service.
I left the station and headed for the Hauptstrasse, or Main Street which is one of Germanyâ€™s longest pedestrian shopping areas. It was nice to see all the old buildings along the cobbledstone drive and everyone out and about. I wandered along the streets and alleys looking at things, and couldnâ€™t help but feel that everywhere has become so ameicanized. All these brands that look like youâ€™re shopping in an American mall, yet facades are simply â€˜euroâ€™. Of course the big castle peering down at the street along with plazas with everyone enjoying their meals and the church that dates back to so many centries ago make this environment very European. Nevertheless, shopping seemed less â€˜marketâ€™ like and more stripmallish. I found a restaurant that had some Japanese menu items, so I had a great Katsudon meal that felt really filling.
I then made my way up to where the main street parts to go up to the castle, so I went along the VERY steep pathway that leads up to the castle gates. I wasnâ€™t interested in going in, but I did want to see the view of Heidelberg from above. After about 20 minutes, I arrived at the top, pretty worn out from the hike with my backpack, and my non hiking shoes making my feet feel like they are completely flat. Looking out over the city, it was nice to treat myself to the last 2 pieces of chocolate Mathias had gotten us as a symbol of Switzerland.
After the castle, I went back down towards the river to cross the bridge over to the other side which has another mountain facing the city. It has a famous bridge which everyone was taking pictures in front of. I then headed for Philospherâ€™s Way, which is a pathway up on the hill overlooking the city. Now this was a climb, and I had to stop a couple of times to let my feet rest. These shoes have seen some miles!
At the top, seeing the city from this side was even better because of the castle in the background. Heidelberg does seem likeÂ the typical German city. I then made my way down through what seemed to be a ritzy part of town with large houses, all built Hansel Gretel style. It was nice to see everyone doing their daily lives and simply taking a peek of life here in Heidelberg.
I then headed back down to go once more a different way to the shopping area, to do some shopping before I head to Frankfurt for the evening. Unfortunately, it sounds like Judith is sick so Iâ€™m not sure if Iâ€™ll get to see her tomorrow or not before I head back homeâ€¦
I got back to the station, and found the woman to retrieve my luggage. All went well with getting everything and now Iâ€™m on the train to Frankfurt to meet up with Volker, who is a good friend of Ulfâ€™s. Iâ€™ll stay there tonight to then see ulf and hopefully Judith tomorrow for some sightseeing around Frankfurt before my journey back home!