"When you get those rare moments of clarity, those flashes when the universe makes sense, you try desperately to hold on to them. They are the life boats for the darker times, when the vastness of it all, the incomprehensible nature of life is completely illusive. So the question becomes, or should have been all a long... What would you do if you knew you only had one day, or one week, or one month to live. What life boat would you grab on to? What secret would you tell? What band would you see? What person would you declare your love to? What wish would you fulfill? What exotic locale would you fly to for coffee? What book would you write?"

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Hitting the College Town!

Greetings from the bus on our way to Munich, Germany! It’s Germany’s third largest city!

So picking up where I left off yesterday, after our extremely long and intense bus ride to Germany, we settled our happy feet in the lovely town of Heidelberg, Germany. I must say I had rather mixed feelings over coming to Germany. It sort of just came with the package. If I want England that badly and everything else, then Germany just had to come with it. Also, my tour guide is from Germany so she obviously knows a lot about Germany and was trying to prep us for the country on the way. She was teaching us proper etiquette unique to their culture, hand gestures, common phrases, facts & info, and information about their food. Although she thought their food is amazing as did most of my friends, the thought of “sausages bigger than your plate” scared me a little, considering I have grown up not really accustomed to eating any type of sausage. Also any of her other suggestions did not sound appealing to my picky and bipolar stomach. I rely on chicken when I do eat meat and she said chicken is not that common in Germany, and turkey is “cheap” (as in for the lower class?).

She also warned us that Heidelberg is not as big of a tourist attraction and is not a “city”, therefore not as many people would speak English. She taught us that it was rude to assume people speak English, and that we got  lucky by starting in Amsterdam where most people did. She was right. Most employees that I talked to in order to buy something or order dinner spoke no or very little English. It makes it kind of fun though—learning how to get your message across with what little german words you know and lots and lots of hand gestures. Lots of hand gestures, and making a fool of your American self. Also, you learn german a lot faster when its really your only option. Learn German or don’t eat. Also, I looked really silly reading off from my trifold phrase sheet, but it got the message across and they appreciated the fact that I was trying.

However, aside from all my Germanic pre-jitters/fears, I absolutely fell in love with Heidelberg. It was fantastic and amazing and lovely and loving and accepting and warm and happy. It was just awesome. Heidelberg is known for being a college town, and therefore encases a much younger population. We first went to visit the Heidelberg castle, which was…….I don’t have words for it. It was beyond fascinating. A step above Incredible.

Part of the outside-inside walls

standing at the entrance

From the very bottom of the town you can see the castle up on the mountain. When walking to the base (still on ground level), we could see one staircase ahead. My tour guide gave us the option to walk up the stairs or take some sort of elevator. Well, after sitting for 8 hours on a bus and spending a lot of calories on drinks the night before, I was definitely up for some stairs, as well as about 10 others.

A gorgeous view of the first staircase

Those stairs kicked my ass. Maybe it was because I was tired, but I forgot that that little staircase ahead was not going to get me to the castle. Not even the staircase after that. In fact, it was like 20 staircases. Because I forgot the castle I was trying to get to was the same castle that was a wee incredible sight atop the huge mountain.

But I made it, didn’t die. And it was SO WORTH IT! First of all the VIEW from up there was beyond magnificent ( I need to find some more heavy duty adjectives!).. The people looked like little ants from that high up! The town was gorgeous to look down on, with the houses, the university, the river, the bridge, the sky, the clouds rolling in, the sun fighting through, it was incredible. I will post a picture right below this as soon as I can find a way for my phone to communicate to the computer and vice versa…!

A view from the top of the castle...

another view of our view!! Incredible!

So not only was the view incredible but just walking around the castle inside was earth-shattering. I got so many amazing pictures. I cant wait to show you.

 I realized during this tour that I need to hire a clone or really just anyone- to actually listen to the tour guide speak so that I could go take pictures. I really am interested in both- the history and the stories, as well as the photography. But I guess the photography is a big reason why I came to Europe, and the photography is more important to me than the history lessons. So when the tour guide is speaking, I am only picking up a couple words because I am busy taking so many detailed pictures (there is so much to take pictures of!) . But then I get a little disappointed when I return to my group and everyone is laughing at a story or interested in the history and I missed it all. And I don’t have any cool facts to share with you all about the castle or Heidelberg because I wasn’t listening. BUT, I have lots of pictures! If that counts…So I need someone to listen for me while I take pictures, any volunteers ?? I guess the good news is I can never (or at least not likely) ever come back to take PICTURES, this is a once in a lifetime opportunity. However, I’m sure all that information is available on the internet, and I promise to myself to research more about the places I have visited once I get home.

But the actual town of Heidelberg once I got down from the castle, was just lovely. The tour split up into lots of groups and most of my friends were going to a wine cellar to buy/taste wine and then hit up a brewery for dinner. Wine doesn’t interest me and I still had fears about dinner- and I was enjoying taking pictures of the city way too much to go with them, so I split away, all on my own. As scary as it is to be on your own in a foreign country, where 5% speak English, it is actually liberating and freeing to say goodbye to your comfort zone , take a deep breath- and say, “I’m on my own. What now?” So I went window shopping (I actually bought things! WooT!), went to the university, walked around town, went up to the main bridge, walked down the streets and just took pictures, and….last but definitely not least, enjoyed a fabulous gelati (dairy free WOOT!).

Some pictures of walking around:

Translates to, "The soul lives on what is looking forward"

I'm pretty sure I fell in love with this guy and listening to his music was incredible. I will try and post a video sometime...maybe after we're married? Pshh. Lols.

I was disappointed in myself for dinner. Really disappointed. I was starving, as my version of lunch was a 50 cent Euro piece of bread on the bus. So that really hindered my vision and acceptance of trying new food, being so hungry,  I just wanted to eat anything I knew and was comfortable with. Well, lucky for me—American fast food chains are everywhere in Europe and I settled for my favorite- Subway. I saw it at first, and thought, “oh, thank god. I can eat Subway.” But I knew I would be disappointed in myself for not having tried a German delicacy, so I tried really hard to keep looking around town for anything else. But all the menus were in German, and I also didn’t want to sit down in a restaurant by myself, and  I couldn’t find any cute Internet cafes to sit by myself. So I settled for Subway. At least I got the experience of ordering food in German.

I ate really quickly—to avoid eternal personal shame—and got back on the town. I still felt guilty for not trying new food- but I guess I’d rather feel guilt then extreme nausea/sickness on the bus or in the hotel room, or in the city. Bathrooms are not free and not easy to find, so I have been avoiding any reason that would have to make me go any more than the usual.

Well, I think this blog has reached its readability limit. I can still talk and talk and talk but then you wont read and read and read because you will be tired of reading. So that’s it for now, I will continue on my thoughts hopefully tomorrow!


~A Writer in a Nurse's Body

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