Old Bridges and Wild Boars!

Trip Start Oct 18, 2012
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Flag of Germany  , Baden-Württemberg,
Sunday, October 28, 2012

Howdy folks,

Steffie and I didn't get up to much on Friday much as we are both still sick, so we decided to have an early night and go out and do a day tour of Heidelberg. The only problem with this was the weather. When I arrived a week ago, it was 20 degrees and yesterday it dropped down to freezing. In spite of the overcast weather, rain and sleet, we got up early and caught the tram into Heidelberg. Edingen is only 10 minutes drive away from both Mannheim and Heidelberg so it only took 20 minutes to take the tram in. We got off at the visitor information centre, grabbed my first German coffee at McDonalds and continued along to Bismark-platz.

This marked the start of the old town (alt stadt) where the cobblestone streets held 200 year old buildings or older. We walked down to St Anna-Kirche which is a 300 year old church but it was closed for rehearsals so we walked down Plöck Strasse until we reached the University Library and St Peter's Church. The former had a world globe dating to 1751, the Codex Manesse (famous volume of Middle Age German poetry) and many other thousands of books and historical artifacts although only a select few were on display. The later is the oldest church in Heidelberg at around 800 years old. When Steffie and I went inside, we found a opera underway so we stopped for 30 minutes to listen to the 40 piece orchestra, choir and narrator. But due to the acoustics, not even Steffie could tell me what it was about.

We walked back down to the Hauptstrasse and up to the popular centre of town. There we found the Hotel Ritter, Heiliggeistkirche and Marktplatz. The hotel is the oldest building in old town, the church is 600 years old and the market square houses the 300 year old town hall and a statue of Hercules. A little further down, Karlsplatz gave a great view of Heidelberg Castle and the foggy mountains surrounding it. Having almost reached the end of old town, we turned around to walk back to the old bridge (alte brucke).

It was definitely cool walking along the Neckar River and the old bridge is one of the most famous things about Heidelberg. It was certainly popular with Japanese tourists who were crowding together for a photo. We took a mandatory photo of the gate and the monkey before stopping in at the Schnitzel Haus for lunch. The pride of Schnitzel Haus is their menu of a hundred different variations like bitter chocolate sauce or hot jalapeno peppers. I went for a schnitzel with a tomato and sauerkraut sauce so I guess it could be considered one of the safe offerings. In any case, it was great to get out of the cold for a while.

After lunch, we returned along the Hauptstrasse to Bismarkplatz stopping in at many of the shops along the way. This street is famous for being the longest shopping street in Germany although the shops had to conform with the historical buildings that housed them. Our last stop was the old university at university square, although we didn't check out the student prison this time.

We caught the tram back and Edingen and had a nice dinner with pasta and mussels before dragging Oliver away from WOW to play some old school board games. It was a lot of fun and I laughed so much that my throat hurt even more, but it was worth it. I haven't played some of those family pack games since I was a kid.

This morning we all sat down for a big breakfast before Christian came to pick me up. I had told him that I was interested in playing football, but because of my throat I could only spectate. They had a gathering of around a dozen players on a shorter practice field with no referee, lines or other official rules. Nevertheless, it looked like it was good clean fun and I have to go and buy some football shoes this week if I want to join in. Nearby there was a paddock filled with longhorned bulls and blackfaced sheep which looked funny.

This afternoon, Steffie suggested that we go to the Dossenwald which is a forest on the road to Schwetzingen. It was pretty popular with plenty of cars in the carpark and people walking their dogs on the trails. They had two animal enclosures: the first with wild boars that were being fed apples and the next with Aurochs (ancient cattle) and Mouflon (ancient sheep) that were pretty interesting to see. The boars were pretty big and the aurochs weren't shy about trying to get fed!

It was a nice relaxing walk through the forest although it was more developed with a railway line, picnic tables and a horse track than I pictured a German forest to look like. In any case, it was good to get into nature and even spot a passing DB train. No wildlife, but then again it wasn't a national park. We did a 6km loop before I drove Steffie's car home, being the first time in traffic in Europe. I didn't do too badly and only once missed the right gear!
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