Mainz and Heidelberg

Trip Start Feb 26, 2009
1
5
15
Trip End Mar 13, 2009


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Flag of Germany  , Bavaria,
Wednesday, March 4, 2009

   We woke up early and waved goodbye to Carina as she left for work - finally breakfast before 11 in the morning!  We had some of the normal good stuff and decided to go for another walk around Mainz - it was a beautiful sunny day and we set out towards the Mainzer Dom to retrace our steps from last night.  We found an open air market in the square below the Cathedral, and it was an amazing landscape with all the vegetables, fruits, and flowers across the tables.
   We briefly went in to the Gutenberg Museum briefly to take pics of the ceiling (ahh tourism. . . ) and left without giving Herr Gutenberg thanks for inventing the printing press.  Sorry old chap!  We walked onwards and passed Heliggeist once again, and I think my stomach rumbled.  We then made it back out to the Rhine, and with the sun burning off the low lying clouds, there was a bright haze all around the river.  It was almost warm enough to take the jacket off, but I didn't want to scare anyone after the number of huge meals I had shoveled down during the past three days.  We continued down some of the streets and walked by one amazing church - we went in just to look at the inside - more beautiful architecture that must have cost a fortune when it was built. Once more I wondered how many bowls of soup this would have bought for poor people back in the day.  But yes Mr. Archbishop, I'm sure JESUS CHRIST would want this gold-adorned monstrosity dedicated to Him and only Him.  I bet He even puts pictures of it on His Facebook page to show off to all His friends.  "Hey Paul - check this one out!  Look at all that gold!"
   Sorry, I'm off my soapbox now.  We did some window shopping as I sniffed every sweet smell coming from the bakeries along the street.  I finally went in one and got a Berliner - basically a jelly-filled doughnut - that was tasty.  This has historical significance of course or else I would not have tried one (FA).  JFK was made fun of after a speech in Berlin when he said "Ich bin ein Berliner" which basically means "I am a doughnut."  Rumor has it that Ted Kennedy was in the audience that day and slurred out "Well Ich bin ein f*&%ing drunk!  So there!"
   Ouch.  Gratuitous Ted Kennedy joke.  Sorry, that was wide open!  JUST LIKE TED KENNEDY'S BOTTLE OF BOOZE!!  HAHAHAH.  Okay, I am done.  We got back to the apartment and packed up.  We decided to head towards Heidelberg and it's famous castle.  By the time we arrived in Heidelberg, it was just past noon and we drove through the city streets.  The Tom-Tom-talking-lady got pissed off at us and gave us weird directions, but we found the castle anyway.  We went up a very narrow road that reminded me of the streets in the Hollywood Hills - winding, and narrow with no place to bail out.  After the slow climb, we parked and walked down to the castle.
   The view from the castle was amazing, and one of the best things was that I had someone to share it with.  When I was in Scotland I was traveling solo through the country, which was cool and all, but a trip is so much better when you have someone to take in the sights with.  The castle is set high on a hill, looking down onto the city below. You can see a number of cathedrals in the distance, and the Alte Bruecke (Old Bridge) over the River Neckar stands out.  We went inside the castle and explored on our own time - the spectacular ornamental architecture on the sides of the buildings stood out first.  From the main courtyard, we went into the wine cellar and saw the largest wine barrel in the world, the Grosses Fass (Heidelberg Tun).  This thing is so large, it needs it own room.  It also has a balcony on top of it, and a walkway all around it.  It was made in 1751, needing one hundred and thirty oak trees to construct it.  It holds over 220,000 litres of wine, which is about 58,000 gallons.  Anyone thirsty?    After a tour of the Pharmaceutical Museum, which is also inside the castle, Claudia and I walked the grounds for awhile before heading down into the city.  We parked and walked to the River Neckar, where birds were wheeling overhead and ships were sliding quietly underneath the bridge towards the Rhine.  From the bridge there was a great view of Castle Heidelberg, and we stayed out to soak up some sun!  
Unfortunately for the view, our stomachs got the best of us.  We enjoyed one last good look at the castle and headed towards the nearest bar for a beer and some schnitzel (Claudia had pasta, b/c the FA's memory is like a trapdoor when it comes to food).
   With our time in Heidelberg complete, we decided to drive (or better yet Claudia would drive and I would sit) to Munich instead of trying to find a place to stay in town.  It was a long and quite boring three hours through snowy hills and rainy, cloudy skies.  We were both tired after an early wake up and lots of fresh air, and I was trying to do my best not to fall asleep in the passenger seat.  I always feel bad when both people are tired and someone has to do the driving - I feel selfish falling asleep.  Weird I guess.  I do think I provided some entertainment with my attempts to fend off sleep - I was doing the ol' "fall-asleep-and-then-snap-back-awake-while-pretending-not-to-notice" trick a few times.  Glad I can provide some laughter.  We did make it to Munich around 18.30 and found our hotel.  Claudia narrowly missed being run over by a dude on a bicycle and our reservation had been canceled by Expedia, but they still had room in the hotel and we got a room.  Claudia re-parked the car in the hotel's parking lot and we took the extremely smelly elevator (is that cabbage?) to the 4th floor.  After the long day we had no energy remaining to go into the city, so it will be a full day of Munich tomorrow!
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Where I stayed
A&O City Hostel And Hotel

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