Thursday, October 18, 2007


Important side note: I now have beautiful pictures, thanks to my amazingly talented roommate Johannes, who repaired my digital camera! (Man, when seeking out roommates, it might be a good idea to first look for people studying computer science or engineering...skills...)

My dear friend Simon is studying medicine in Heidelberg right now, and since I still hadn't seen him since I'd been in Germany, I took a train to see him on Wednesday. It's about 2 1/2 hours from Saarbrücken to Heidelberg by train. He met me at the train station with a used bike he had repaired. It was really fun to explore the city by bike and it was really cool of him to think of that. He first took me through the part of the university where he has his classes and then he showed me where he lives and then we went into the city. Heidelberg is actually pretty small, about 140,000 people, but there are tons of students and it's one of Germany's major tourist destinations. Which, I have to say, is maybe the only thing I didn't like. There were tour groups everywhere and kitschy shops and such. But oh well, when you live in a beautiful place you get that. We have it in Duluth, too. But seriously, there were stores that just advertised in Japanese! Not even German. Anyways...

He first took me to through Heidelberg's Fußgängerzone, pedestrian zone, where you can shop, eat at street cafés, browse through bookstores... It's actually the longest in all of Europe. Then he showed me the University. Heidelberg has Germany's oldest univeristy (1386!!!), and it's the third oldest in Europe (after Prague and Vienna). We went into the library and the alte Aula, the oldest auditorium. That's the beautiful room pictured below. Wow...I can't imagine having lectures in there. I mean, they don't anymore, and back then such rooms were probably not sooo amazing that the students were staring at the ceiling the whole time...I'm just saying I would. :)
Then we walked up to the Schloß, the castle ruins. This was a pretty steep trek, but there was an amazing view of the Neckar River and the old part of the city, not to mention the castle. The castle was built in the 14th century and then was destroyed in various wars in the 17th century; the ruins later became immortalized in German Romantic art.

Then, as it was starting to get dark and starting to rain a bit, we biked back to Simon's place where I had a good, cultural German experience: soccer. Fußball! (In case you didn't make that connection, that's what we call that table soccer game, maybe you spell it fooz-ball, I don't know.) Unfortunately, Germany lost. They were playing the Czech Republic. Fortunately, they are already qualified for the European Cup next summer, 2008. Then we went back into town for a drink and I got to see another good German friend, Anne, who is also studying medicine in Heidelberg. And her brother's in St. Cloud right now and I got to meet him over the summer. Small world...
Thursday I got up and went exploring out on my own, while Simon and his roommates sat in their lecture hall. :) I walked along the Philosophenweg, the philosopher's path. This is another steep path leading to a great view, this time on the other bank of the Neckar. I then continued into back into the old part of the city and just soaked it all in... I loved seeing all the students out and about, in the cafés and bakeries near the old university, and then I met Simon at his cafeteria for lunch.

In the afternoon we went hiking into the foresty mountain pictured above. It was really beautiful. Simon's roommate Christian was with, and we climbed up a lookout tower for yet another great view. Heidelberg is just soooo picturesque! I love all the red roofs, the castle ruins, the villas along the's just so idyllic looking, especially from so far up!

Also on top of this mountain is the Thingstätte, which is a huge amphitheater built under Hitler in 1934. It can hold something like 20,000 people, and now it's used occasionally for concerts or other events, but most people only know it for the annual May Celebration there, or Walpurgisnacht. The students go up there and party all night to welcome in May 1st. I'm marking my calendar already...

So yeah, now I'm home...tired but excited about everything I've done in the last two weeks (my vacation is sadly coming to a close...). The Deutsche Bahn, the German trains, were striking this morning, so it took me a little longer than it should have to get home. But I kinda expected that and I'm into a good new book.

1 comment:

  1. It's fun to see Simon on your blog. I'm so glad you're having such a fabulous experience. I guess I'll just have to continue to get my European fix through the Netflix movies that are coming on your recommendation. Take care.