Heading South: A Weekend in Heidelberg
“Heidelberg – in its location – has something so ideal.”
– J.W. Goethe
Following a busy weekend back in the UK, I headed back on Tuesday via Gatwick to Düsseldorf. The first part of the trip went smoothly and I arrived at the airport without delay. With only Hand Luggage, made lighter by the loss of my jar of Marmite (sad times) I went through security rather quickly. On the other side I had a short amount of time to buy some food for the flight and then it was time to make my way to the Gate ready to board. However, we were then told the flight was delayed as someone on board had needed paramedic treatment, and to make the wait even more exciting we were all told we could only take our one piece of Hand Luggage and not a handbag as well, so about half the passengers-to-be including myself had to stuff everything into an already full mini suitcase. I ended up having to carry half the contents in my arms and had to spend the flight sat in my two coats. On top of all of that, I had a very talkative man sat next to me, who after something to drink revealed his entire life story to me not forgetting details of his time in Hospital with severe depression. Finally, we landed in Düsseldorf and I thought that the ‘fun’ was over. Unfortunately due to my delayed flight the plans for meeting my Buddy for the Ice Hockey game had to be cancelled and instead I made my way back to my flat. When I arrived back in my Stadtteil (suburb) I waited over 30 mins for my connecting tram, which didn’t turn up. So instead of wasting more time (all I wanted to do was to get back to my flat and settle down) I decided it would be a good idea to walk the distance back home. This was all very well but it was dark, warm (I was still wearing my 2 coats) and far more difficult and tiring than imagined. At long last I arrived back in my flat and it was time to flop on my bed and relax.
I was up early the next morning and set off in the direction of the Hauptbahnhof (Main station) to catch my Bus to Heidelberg. The Bus left at 0730 and arrived five hours later in Heidelberg, one of the oldest University towns in Germany. My friend Laura was waiting for me and after a short trip on the Strassenbahn (Tram) we arrived at her flat. We spent a lovely day exploring the Aldstadt (Old town) and ended up enjoying a Hot Chocolate in a cute little cafe.
After our refreshment stop we crossed the Old Bridge (Carl Theodor Brucke) and walked back along the River Neckar, admiring the beautiful views back across to the castle and the Altstadt.
The next day we went back into town after a lazy morning to do some browsing around the shops. I didn’t do too much shopping but bought 2 specialities from the region. One was a so-called Studentenkuss (Student kiss), which is a piece of confectionery first made by the local chocolatier Fridolin Knösel who felt sorry for the love-struck student’s of the town, who often eyed-up the ladies of Heidelberg’s finishing schools. The product gave the Student’s a way of passing on their love tokens without censorship from the protective chaperones. The Heidelberg Studentenkusse are made of a praline-nougat-chocolate filling on an wafer based and coated in dark chocolate.
My second purchase was a Schneeball (snowball) – a pastry from the area of Rothenburg ob der Tauber, near the city of Nuremberg in Bavaria. The pastry derives its name from its spherical shape and comes in a variety of flavours – with coatings of chocolate or with fillings such as marzipan. I opted for a chocolate coated snowball.. yum yum!
From town we walked a little further into Heidelberg’s Weststadt (West town) where we spent some time admiring the beautiful old Villas and managed to pick up an old leather trunk, which we transported back to Laura’s flat to be cleaned.
After a stop off for a late afternoon bite to eat, we set off again in the direction of the Botanical Gardens. The sun was starting to go down which made it even more picturesque and the walk along the river was very pleasant!
Unfortunately Friday morning came about all too quickly and it was time to bid both Heidelberg and Laura goodbye and embark on the trip back ‘up north’ to Düsseldorf. The trip back involved no problems or delays (thank goodness) and I made it back to my residence safe and sound.