Two Tickets to Heidelberg

The Germany trip is half over, and this is a long German weekend. Monday is Unification Day and they’re celebrating either the East-West German reunion or the fall of the Berlin wall. I’ve been told both by local Germans, and I’m currently without an internet connection to check. I’m typing this into Notepad to past later.

Duisburg has been nice, but it’s an industrial town. There are a few sights within a train ride, like the Cologne trip I mentioned the other day, but I’ve nearly exhausted them. The hotel concierge said there was a nice aquarium in Dusseldorf I haven’t seen, but unless the aquarium is stocked with little German fishes with tiny mustaches, I’m not very interested. I’d much rather see architecture or old art.

Also, directly across the street from the Duisburg hotel, I discovered, is the Immanuel Kant park. Blech. If I’m going to spend a weekend away from home, I could do better than a 3 day weekend in a tiny industrial German town.

So my business counterparts and I are fleeing to Heidelberg for the weekend. Day trips from there, I can reach the Black Forest and see handmade cuckoo clocks, I can see a castle (I forgot the name of it and again, no current internet connection), and… I dunno what else I can do. I’ll find out when I get there.

The train ride so far is interesting. The countryside went from flat to very hilly quickly as the train has passed Cologne and Bonn. Now that I think of it, that’s the Rheine river I see out my window, the same river I spent a terribly long day on a boat. *Shudder* I never want to get on the boat again. I’m enjoying the river much better this way, a few hours at a time. We’re already approaching Koblenz after an hour train ride; by boat, this took 6-1/2 hours.

After that, I think we’re coming up on Mannheim. Is it related to Mannheim Steamroller? Without an internet connection and nobody to ask, I am my own expert at the moment, so I will confidently say yes, Mannheim Steamroller took their name from this little German town. If I’m wrong, I won’t know for days.

(Time passes. In fact, too much time passes.)

Well, I know this was the right train, but these German trains really do run on time. We should have stopped over 45 minutes ago. And the announcement on the train keeps saying “Heidelberg” over and over. And now… we’re in Stuttgart. Huh.

I’ve discovered that talking to German teens is easiest; they’re required to take English in school, and it’s still fresh in their minds. Once they get older (ahem, like me), their English tends to fade. And if they’re younger, they only know a little English and nothing at all about reality. (“Excuse me, son, is this the train to Heidelburg?” “I like choo-choos!”)

Some teens tell me that the train was running late, so they decided to skip Heidelburg. Huh. We get a free ride back on the next train. Total delay for us is around 2 hours… but hey, the train is still running on time!

Next stop, I hope, is Heidelberg.

(More time passes)

The Adventure in Hotel hunting is over and I’m done for the day. The Visitor’s center in Heidelberg recommended an inexpensive place downtown – but when we got there, they didn’t have what I’d call a “bed” but more of a medieval rack with a thin cloth that doubled as a mattress. No way. A call to a travel agency booked us a Holiday Inn (in Heidelberg? I had no idea they were worldwide.). After a 30 minutes drive out of town (including passing Hanother oliday Inn), we re-booked at the Holiday Inn we passed. We’re not very close to town, but it’ll do for a day, especially since it’s 8:30pm and we haven’t eaten anything since that pretzel for breakfast. The room is about the size of my closet back home, but it’s clean and modern. It’ll do. I checked on internet service, and it’s $50 a day extra. Ouch.

I’ll try to post a bit over the weekend, too, and give my brother’s brain a rest. After that last doggy picture, I can tell he needs a break.