Saturday, August 2, 2008


Day 144

After the ROL (rude old lady) had woken me up I had a horrible time trying to sleep again. I was still very tired when the sun came up, but wasn´t able to get back to sleep. I just got out of bed and decided to deal with being drowsy all day.

My original plan for the day was to go to Stuttgart and visit with Laura, who I had met in Nice. Unfortunately, her grandmother was sick and she was taking care of her. I hope that she recovers soon and that I will be able to catch up with Laura at Oktoberfest.

Instead I decided to head to Heidelberg. When I got there I walked right past the tourist office, over a bridge and into the suburbs. I am one smart person. Eventually I wandered back on the right side of the tracks and found the old town. It was an awful lot like an outdoor mall. I spent some time window shopping and then taking pictures of the old buildings. Eventually I wandered up to the ruins of Heidelberg Castle. Well, it was more like huffed and puffed my way up the 330 steps.

Heidelberg castle was a medieval structure that was altered up until the renaissance. This is when it caught on fire and was really just abandoned. Now it is a rather romantic looking ruin. I decided to spring for an audio guide of the grounds and the structure.

A massive moat surrounded the entire thing. I was mortified to learn that during times of peace wild animals would be locked into the drained moat. The aristocracy would then shoot them for fun. It doesn´t seem like much of a sport to me. I bet that those poor animals haunt the grounds now.

Like most castles there were several interesting legends. It is said that whoever bits through a particular brass knocker will gain control of the castle. A witch tried once, but was only able to make a small dent. It really did look like teeth marks. Another is that a knight had just put on his armour when a fire broke out. He didn´t have time to use the staircase and instead jumped out the window. He managed to survive the jump and left his footprint in the rock. The last ledgend is that the architect of the castle had twin sons. While their father was working they would play on the scaffolding. One day they both slipped and fell to their deaths. Their father was unable to continue building the castle. Several weeks later his sons appeared as angels to him in a dream, asking him to continue his work for them. The next day he was back at it with renewed inspiration. Above one of the doors is a sculpture of twin angels, said to be a memorial of the boys.

On a very historical note, one of the façades is said to be the best renaissance artwork in Germany.

Also here was an absurdly enormous wine barrel. Back in the day wine was often used to pay taxes. Everyone would just dump what ever they had into one barrel. I can´t imagine that it tasted very good. This thing was about 2 times my height, it was absolutely massive.

Mark Twain visited Heidelberg and fell in love with the castle and the view from it. He especially loved one of the towers that had broken almost exactly in half.

At this point I headed back to the town to visit the University Museum. For some reason it was closed even though it was a Saturday. As I was still really dragging from lack of sleep I decided to just head back to Frankfurt. I slept for the entire ride.

After some time at the internet café I spent some time reading at the hostel. I called it an early night though, I had a train to catch in the morning.

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