We arrived just in time to catch the students coming off the train and get them situated with maps and transportation cards. Then we met them at the hostel and got them checked in. By this time Joss was begging to go to the hotel and take a nap -- not normal at all. We finally made our way to the Weisser Bock, which is right in the altstadt above a restaurant.
When my parents came and toured Europe, my father said he was "quainted out" after staying in so many pokey old hotels. This one had great rooms, but it was a little strange to get to. We had to take the elevator up, then go downstairs, then back up another flight. Pretty quaint.
But as I said, the rooms were big and comfortable and the showerheads came far above your head. Here Joss is listening to the Tiki Tiki Tiki Room for the ninety-leventh time.
And the kids were across the hall in their own suite. For the first time on the trip Maddie got her own room. And now you can see who didn't put on any sunscreen on Friday. Joss went down for a nap and the kids wanted to watch TV, so Rob and I went out to explore.
We headed straight to the alte brucke with its renaissance city gate. It was buzzing with tourists from all over, at least for about 20 yards.
But admittedly it does have a great view of the schloss. Then it cleared right out across the bridge. By the time we got to the other side, there were only Germans.
We took a road called the Schlangenweg (snake walk) and it was both steep and snaky. We wanted to get up to the Philosophenweg or philosopher's walk.
Once there, we found wild blackberries and the professor had to reach over and try one.
We also saw magnificent views of the city. I don't know that it made me philosophical, but it did make me impressed with the philosophers -- they must have been in great shape, because that was no mere walk! One of our students was a missionary here, and he told us that up on the top of the mountain by the ruins is a great place to play capture the flag. Put it on your itinerary, people. Capture the flag in Heidelberg.
The professor being philosophical in the philosophers garden at the end of the walk. They have a great microclimate here that lets them grow all kinds of good things and we admired lots of exotic plants.
We wandered back over to the other side and up the high street. But it was filled with the most clueless kind of tourist and so we struck off a block here and a block there. We found the Jesuit church.
I really liked their drive-through candle lighting door -- for those times when you've got someone on your mind but you don't have time to go attend a service.
They were having a wedding inside.
Then we stopped by this church which used to have a wall separating the catholics (in front) and the lutherans (in back). The wall came down, but the catholics moved over to the jesuit church.
This is the house of the golden knight, a renaissance party which was built for a huguenot fabric merchant.
And this is, uh, the Kornmarkt and I'm going to go out on a limb here and say it was where they used to sell corn. No idea. At this point it was time to wake up Joss, so we headed back to the hotel where the kids were still very happy doing nothing.
We convinced them to come out for some burgers and fries at the Hard Rock Cafe. Because it's Heidelberg, you know, that hot spot of rock n' roll.
The kids liked it and the music was louder than even Joss. It was a successful meal, and I'm glad that we haven't had to resort to McDonalds as a bribe even once on this trip. Hard Rock will suffice, I think.
After dinner we walked back up to the Kornmarkt where we caught the funicular.We learned the hard way at Neuschwanstein in 2006 that if there is transportation offered up a mountain, you should take it. Also, it always helps to use Alternative Modes of Transportation when pulling reluctant children around.
I had very low expectations of the castle and very low expectations of me, so I was pleased as punch to have made it up here. It was glorious.
This view, of blue sky through the windows of the palace, is one that tourists and writers and students and poets can't get enough of.
And I had to say, it was pretty sublime. Here's a dragon drain with eyelashes. Where else can you find eyelashes on your drainpipes, I ask you?
Here's the whole family in Heidelberg. If you thought it was actually gonna happen, you were more optimistic than we were!
Roses bloom beneath our feet. All the earth's a garden sweet. Or so I hear.
This was the way down. Now you see why we took the funicular -- we would never have made it to the top otherwise.
For dessert we bought the kids Schneeballen -- huge spheres of mushed up cookies with filling and frosting.
Will had eaten them back in 2006 at the Christmas markets.
They were well-received, but then it started raining and we walked back to our hotel, thankful it was just a few minutes away.
Everyone got bathed and watched the Asterix and Obelisk movie on TV. We did it! We made here!