Trip Start Jan 17, 2006
58Trip End Dec 01, 2006
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Heidelberg was a virtual unknown for me, but it turns out that it is huge on the American tourist's list of places to hit up in Europe. A lot artistic articles that were famous from poets and playwrights were of Heielberg and it is supposedly for this reason that it was not bombed during the second world war. I don't know how accurate this is, but I'm sure the families of the dead innocent people in other cities would be happy to hear it. Hopefully some teenage girl will be a fan of Heath Ledger and somehow also be leader of an army and decide no to bomb Perth if it ever came to that in a war
So the city boasts some attractions that weren't really THAT exciting. The longest boulevard in Europe sounded sort of impressive until I realised that I had to walk the entire three kilometres to see the whole old city. At one end was a place called Bismarkplatz, which was at the end of the shopping street and had some other big businesses like restaurants and the like. On the other end was the ruined castle, which I chose not to go through. I chose not to because of time constraints, but also because it was on the top of this massive hill and I didn't want to climb it in the heat. It was 31 degrees Celsius and although I have been in heat 15 degrees more, it was still to hot to go climbing up a massive hill to see some rocks stacked in an orderly fashion.
The reason I had time constraints was that I was going to watch Germany vs Sweden on big screen in one of the squares in the city centre. I was meeting the three girls who I was CouchSurfing with: Bianca, Lena and Janine. Despite their Anglicised names, they were as German as they come, which allowed me to hone my German. Originally, I would always search for someone who spoke English in these CouchSurfing locations, but I realised that I am not getting better at my German by hanging around with people who can speak good English, so now I go for German only, or people have a lower level of English. Before the viewing, Bianca and I went for value and bought the six pack of beer and then we walked the 100m to the gate and realised that we couldn't take it inside because of the bouncers - that was a head-slapping moment! We trying to drink them all in ten minutes and then decided we didn't want to do that, so we tried to sell them to homeless people and other fans.
Once inside, we realised that there were no seats left and we ended right up close to the screen in a hole on the side. With these big screens, if you are to the side of them, you can't see what is being displayed. So I basically watched someone's back for most of the match. It wasn't an incredibly exciting encounter because Germany steamrolled Sweden. An adaptation of the famous quote is "there were two sides out there that day, but only one of them was playing football".
That night, I cooked them stir-fry for dinner that night as a thank you gesture for letting me stay at their house. It turned out to be a '6 out of 10' on the stir-fry-o-meter compared to what I had made in the past. Oh well, they claimed to like it and ate the whole lot, so good enough for me. After dinner the shit hit the fan with one of the girls and her boyfriend, so they chatted about it for hours and I sat there and consumed one a half bottles of wine on my own in silence, while waiting for them to finish. I would have waited in the lounge-room and listened to music or TV except they were in there and they wanted privacy. From what I gather, the issue was rather small and probably warranted a five-minute conversation, but girls will be girls
I left the next day for Kaiserslautern on the S-Bahn, which is about as comfortable as the train system in Perth. This would have been OK except it was humid, the German trains don't have air-conditioning, the train was absolutely packed, it was 30 degrees and the ride was two hours. Fortunately I had a seat and didn't have to stand up for the whole time.
Next stop, Fritz-Walter-Stadion for Italy vs Australia!