I decided not to post yesterday. Pretty uneventful, typical Sunday consisting of a long run and lots of eating of leftovers from the party. Oh, and of course Kaffee and Kuchen.
Today I went on my first solo adventure of the trip, and ever really, not counting this past summer in Vancouver. I ventured to Heidelberg, the birthplace of my dad. I woke up bright and early to way breakfast and walk to the bus stop. I got there a little early so I decided to catch the bus that came 5 min earlier than the one I had originally planned on getting on. So glad I did!! Traffic was terrible, and I ended up getting to my team just as it arrived. I took the tram from Hürth to Bonn where I got on my long distance train to Mannheim so I could switch to another tram to Heidelberg. The ride was absolutely beautiful!! The train chugged alongside the river the entire trip, and I got to see so many villages and hilltop castles.
Once I got to Heidelberg I hopped on a bus and headed to the “Old Town”. I wanted to go explore the Heidelberg castle first so I bypassed all the shops, planning on stopping by them on my journey back to the train station in the afternoon. I knew there a funicular railway up to the castle, but I walked right past it. So I ended up hiking about 2 miles up the mountain to get to the castle. I’m glad I did because the views were spectacular!
I bought my ticket to explore the castle courtyard, HUGE wine barrel, and pharmacy museum. To enter the palace you had to be on a guided tour so I decided to just explore the exterior.
I then took the funicular back down the mountain. That was a cool experience as well. By now it was 1:30 PM and I was starving!!! I went to a little cafe near the oldest University in Germany, and ordered my very first spätzle. I got one with turkey and mushroom sauce. It was a bit too heavy of a meal for me to eat on the regular, but it was good nonetheless.
The rest of my time, I had about 3.5 hrs to spend before my train, I explored the streets and alleyways that the beautiful city had to offer. It was one of the few German towns that avoided much of the bombing of WWII. Many churches and old buildings/homes still exist making it a must see stop on a German vacation. I really enjoyed all the little local shops, especially all the bakeries and chocolate stores!!
After all the walking around I figured I’d head back to the train station. I didn’t quite know how to get there on foot as I rode the bus it, so I decided to play my favorite game of the day called “Follow the Asian/English speaker” knowing that they were more than likely trying to get to the same place I was. Worked like a charm.
I am writing this as I sit on my train headed back home with my McDonald’s and Starbucks. So American I am. I did grab my very first pretzel though to even it out!
I’m so glad I got the courage to go on the venture today all alone. I feel so much more confident in my ability to navigate and conquer the confusing German train/tram/bus system. This newfound confidence will be useful the next two months.