Tuesday, June 05, 2007

Switzerland Journal: Day Seven

Tuesday, May 22nd, Heidelberg Germany.
I was really feeling ready for a break, and wanting to just lounge around for a while. So we did, having a very leisurely breakfast out on the patio, overlooking the Rhine River. Just beyond the roses the river flowed by smoothly, with occasional sculls racing by, with men pulling at their oars in perfect synchronization.
The sun was shining, the birds were singing, the flowers were fragrant. I really didn't see any reason to leave!
The hotel buffet was amazing, as usual. Here is one plateful (I'm ashamed to admit it wasn't the only plateful, the pastries and fruit plate didn't get a photo.) The little sausages, well, that is a butter pat next to them so you can see how small and cute they were. I had to sample each of them, didn't I???? A fried sausage, mushroom, broiled tomato, a tiny potato, and two small slices of cheese...I promise I left a little on my plate trying to make sure I arrived home still fitting into my clothes!
Our attentive waiter Emre. (Notice the orange thing again...) A tad bright first thing in the morning, the only thing brighter was Emre's smile and attitude. He was from Turkey, and his wife's parent is from this area, and is ill, so they are here for now. He said he misses home, but would also like to see more of the world. I really enjoy meeting Marriott employees, they are from all over the world and always have such lovely gracious manners.
Our waiter gamely kept up with Bernie's espresso needs, my cappuccino needs, and yes, my champagne needs.
I could get use to this...
While Bernie settled the bill, I snapped pictures of the lobby's little flower arrangement. Note how a leaf is wrapped around the inside of the clear glass vase. Simple and sweet.
"Honey, will you be a dear and call a cab? I want to get up to the castle before the day gets away from me!"
Notice my green life saving wet neck scarf....that thing is drenched right now.
Oh, take a picture of us in the cab! How fun! (Somebody should stop us already...)
A view FROM the Heidelberg Castle. We were hoping to take a tour, only to learn that we had just missed one, and the next one would make us too late for our train. What to do, what to do. I said: Let's just wander around as much as we can and whatever we can see will be better than nothing at all. I was enchanted just seeing the trim atop the neighboring building!
Some of the castle is in ruin, other parts are in pristine condition. I did learn that part of the castle was destroyed by a lightning bolt in the 1500, and a various times following that, and was mostly reconstructed in the 19th century.

Ladies, stop snickering. That was the fashion back then. It was called a codpiece and the king's codpiece were stuffed to be the size of a football. And usually the codpiece was done in a contrasting color, so you would be sure to notice.
Why some parts were fallen down and other parts were just fine mystified me.
I loved how there were details everywhere. I wondered about who decided that that detail should go there. Did they have the equivalence of an interior designer for the castles back then? Or did artisans approach the king and pitch their ideas? Or did the Queen just come up with great decorating ideas and badgered her husband until he agreed to have the motif added. Whatever, this guy doesn't look too happy to be stuck up in this particular corner.
Here's an idea: Let's put in a little door inside the big door! With a really BIG knocker! We can use the big door for when the horse have to ride into the castle, and then the little door for when the dog wants to come in! Das Hund should be able to grab the knocker in his mouth and then drop it, so it'll bang loudly and let us know when he wants back inside.
(Or was it for people? Were they really that dinky back then?)
The fact that a castle actually was a place where all the king's buddies and power brokers lived account for the typical apartment like areas that I have seen in every castle. I think they might have let you inside if you were on the tour, and I would have loved to see what the inside of one of those apartments were like.
St. Gallen isn't the only place with oriel windows. This one sure looks like it was an architectural afterthought. Can't you imagine yourself perched real pretty like up in that window, peeking down on the courtyard and looking all haughty? Of course you can! I'll bet you can even picture the velvet gown you are wearing too!
What is up with this? They started with bricks, then said, "You know, this will go a lot faster if we just throw on a boulder from time to time. No one will notice, and it will save us a bundle!"
Under every window and between each set of doors there was sculptures of some kind or another. I puzzled over some of them. This one above for instance. What did it mean to have two apes on the bottom, with a band around their necks holding them together? I understand the three shields, it represented a union of those "houses", probably in 1524. I just don't know what "houses" the shields represent. Sounds like a research question to me!
Time now for a pop quiz! Who is being portrayed in this sculpture?
The first one who gets this question right will win a mention/link to their blog in this space later on. I will also mention all the other people who correctly identify this man. You may think as long as you would like, but you must answer the question honestly via a comment at the end of this post, even though the answer will be given later in this post.
If you haven't solved the question in your mind before the answer picture comes up, then you must not claim you knew after you see the answer.
Bernie and I amused ourselves for quite a while trying to identify everyone.
If anyone is fluent enough in Hebrew translate this, I would greatly appreciate it! Germany was originally Catholic, before the Reformation of course, but scholars have always studied in Hebrew. Most of the great founding American Universities required fluency in Hebrew, and their crests include words written in Hebrew.
This guy is clearly the King, because he is holding a orb. But check out those pant legs! What an adorable style idea! Funny little faces on your knees! Fabric folded horizonally on the upper leg-now that's one way to help add some heft to a figure!
"Will Work for Jesus"...right after I finish viewing the Rhine.
This guy was such a character! I never got close enough to him to see what the bug was made out of. It was the orange shirt that caught my eye first thought. He was part of a group taking people in wheel chairs with muscular dystrophies through the castle. He seemed really nice.
Some views just look better with family in front.
"Honey, I think that wall space between the four windows on the castle wall would be a perfect place for this lion idea that I saw on the home decorating channel!"
My walking shoes and black socks with a skirt may not be fashionable, but I was comfortable.
Bernie noticed this Mason sign inscribed on one of the bricks.
At one point we saw this poster. So that's what this castle looks like to a bird. Really nice!
I read later that most of the castle was actually reconstruction from ruin during the 19th century Romance movement.
Time's up on the quiz. If you look at the script under the statue, you will see the word "Sampson", the second "s" looking like an "f". It represents the story of Sampson killing a lion, and holding the jawbone of an ass. See the story in Judges Chapter 14 and 15. German translators, feel free to let me know what else the plaque says!
And we have a winner! Lovella comes in first, as all her Sunday School teachers beam proudly at her from both on earth and in heaven.
Anyone else know the answer?
The view across the river, presumably Mannheim.
As I looked over the old city of Heidelberg, I thought about my mom's grandmother, who I never met, as she died when my mom was only seven. Elizabeth Muells was born 28 Dec 1862 somewhere down there, as was her mother, Katherina Falkner, on 25 Feb 1842. Back and back the dates go...I suppose my ancestors saw this castle at its beginning, and at its ruin, and watched as it was rebuilt once more. Elizabeth married a man from Mannheim, just across the river, and went to live in America, where she lived until her death in 1933. Two of her sons returned to Germany to fight as Americans in World War One. How odd that must have been for her!

Somewhere there was shale roofing tiles.
Bernie took these shots.
We read the book "The Art of Travel" during this trip. One chapter examined the traveler's urge to either bring something back from their travels, or to leave some of their identity behind. This lonely out of the way little window seemed a draw for people to carve their names, and thereby leave a bit of themselves behind.
I lingered, looking across the river, wondering who were the first people to linger at this window and wondered what they thought as they look out of its tiny leaded panes.
On the outside castle wall little flowers were growing in the crumbling mortar.
Wouldn't it be a lovely if the only reason we needed walls around us were to give flowers places to grow?

Tree leaves. I thought they were flowers, but the undersides of the leaves were white. I'd love to know the name of that tree.
Posted by Picasa One more look at the Rhine and Heidelberg. Rick Steves, the travel guru, said Heidelberg and it's castle is not worth visiting, as it is too touristy. I can imagine how that could happen; even visiting it during what is called a "shoulder season" still required patience as huge groups of Koreans gawked along. I still think it is worth it...it is such a pretty view from the castle. The castle really made it on the tourist map when the movie "The Student Prince" was released back in 1953, as the story concerned Heidelberg and the castle. I grew up with a record of that movie's songs, and as we headed for the castle found myself singing "Drink, drink, drink to eyes that are bright and lips that are gleaming so bright!" while Bernie shook his head and said he had never heard of the song or the play or the movie.

Well darlin', lucky you, I found a website where you can hear sound clips of all the "Student Prince" songs! Scroll down to see your playing options.
On a different website, don't miss "The Drinking Song" which begins with counting in German! "Serenade" is pretty cool too. To hear them, click on the following website (sing Serenade to me and I'll be yours forever!) "I'll Walk with God" is a tear jerker on that site as well. A special eyebrow lifting song can be heard on the first site, found under the iffy title:
"Come Boys, Let's All Be Gay Boys!"
Enjoy them all, with my compliments!
Good old musicals, where ever did they go?
Back to pictures...This tree was up in the Castle gardens. I wonder how old the tree is? Cool trunk!
Yipes! Wonder what happened?
The walk up to the gardens was a killer; thankfully from up top you can ride a down. The big orange wall says so!
One of the wheel chair castle tourist. It gives a whole new meaning to the phrase "arm chair traveler." Check out those wheels...orange, of course!
The Bergbahn funicular rail heading down. I was seated right up against the glass in front, which was floor to ceiling in the cab. At the end of the rail was a knot of tourists, mostly men. Bernie noticed their grins as we glided down the hill towards them and told me to rethink my posture in my skirt. Ooops. Guten tag!
After we left the castle we went to the bus stop to wait for a bus back to the city. This little composition of color and weeds caught my eye; you'd never see something like that in Kingwood!
The house across the street from the bus stop. Oriel windows! Turrets! Can I rent from you guys for a while?
Around the corner from the bus stop...
Next to me at the bus stop (black and white stripe, the other motif that was everywhere.)
Still within view of the bus stop: I thought the area was Protestant, but I guess one Catholic still is around. Pretty shrine, on an otherwise mundane building. The details on the serpent beneath Mary's foot is especially nice.
I'm a sucker for window boxes, especially outside tiny attic windows. I imagine a poetic soul abiding under the eaves.
The bus finally came, and was packed with kids. They didn't look much different than kids in North America, except they didn't have school logos on their sweatshirts. The black and white stripe shirt thing again...
Bernie hooked up with this guy outside the train station. They had a lot in common.
Bernie went to check the schedule, and Schultz and I got acquainted.
I patted his tummy and gave him a good bye kiss.
Inside the station were these pretty little sandwiches, none of which I got to taste! They sure make their sandwiches look perfect.
We took a quick spin through the station's grocery store. I must have been really thirsty, because the ice tea display was worthy of a picture. Actually I was interested in their idea of wild cherry ice tea. That sounded delicious.
Bernie had mis-read our train schedule, we actually could have taken the castle tour and still made our train. He felt pretty bad about that; I didn't care, because it meant we could explore Heidelberg some more! We started walking. Apparently there is such as thing as an "American" hair style. The red tornado 'do in the corner frightens me!
Pop Quiz #2: Why do you think Jill took this picture?
First person posting the right answer in the comments will be credited here later.
Laura knows why I took this picture. Guess nurses wear white over there!
If Indee and Otis ever get to go to Heidelberg, they can be tied up at this little dog leash holder while their owners go inside to shop. Aww...doesn't that remind you of something that Uncle Scott might think of?
Inside a large department store.
Does it rain here a lot? Does everyone color co-ordinate their umbrellas to their outfits here?
One floor up was the kid's toy department. I had to laugh at the "play" food, so different than what an American kid would have in a play kitchen.
Castle characters...I want the princess, and the knight, and the king....
Huh? Why would you want "Wild West" when you can have Castle Characters?
For Christmas this year, I want a castle! The box was the size of my suitcase, so buying it was simply out of the question. The drawbridge was especially fun!
The department store (H&M?) had a cafeteria on the third floor, with delicious looking food. We grabbed trays and selected a few items to serve as both lunch and dinner.
I found a seat next to the window. It had a pretty nice view of the city below.
I think Bernie had some kind of schnitzel, it was tasty. The orange walls and lamps didn't bother us at all. Guess another tourist was behind us, or perhaps he just had a shirt with words in English.
After we ate, we continued to look around the store.
Father's Day is coming up...maybe Dad would like a tie from Germany. Hmmm, what color should I get?
If I get him a tie, maybe I should get him a shirt too...
Dark suit, orange shirt, orange tie. Perfect!
As long as were here, why not consider an whole new wardrobe in orange for that matter?
(At this point the store manage came over and without speaking a word in English made it abundantly clear that NO PHOTOS ARE ALLOWED! Oops...Ugly American Me. Wonder if he would of treated me differently if I had been wearing orange?)
Just for the record, I did buy something there.
A hat!
A black hat!
Exactly like the white one I had been wearing, and some peds so I could ditch the black socks with the walking shoes.
The black and white shirt thing again...and a guy who is watching me very carefully.
The trains are colorful.
You might have to climb the stairs at the train station, but your luggage can ride along side on a conveyor belt. Luggage doesn't need the exercise!

Isn't she absolutely ADORABLE in her little orange bonnet and red sneakers? She looks so German to me, like a little Hummel doll come to life.

While we waited I finished up another bottle of water. I haven't whined as much in this posting about how hot it was. For the record, it was, and the water bottles we lugged around were this sized. Surprisingly, there were very few bathroom breaks! Bernie and I actually walked around the neighborhood a lot before we went to the train station, and I bought a few thin slices of a sausage
with pistachios (pistachios seemed to be in a lot of different foods) in the meat mixture. We snackd on them while we waited.
For the most part the surrounding blocks just looked industrial and didn't capture my imagination. There were many different cultures represented in the neighborhoods, and lots of ethnic restaurants. The world is shrinking, I think it will be more and more difficult to find "authentic" locations and culture that match those locations.

Already we find ourselves comparing places with Disneyland's version, feeling slightly cheated that residents don't don colorful folk wear and scarf down their own country's cuisine.
I suspect to find "the real deal" it is necessary to head out to the countryside. That's the case in Texas at least. If I ever have a chance to visit Germany again, I do hope we can travel outside of the cities, as interesting as they are in their own right.
And with that...good bye to Heidelberg. We caught the train, and headed back to St. Gallen, where our "home away from home" awaited.


Lovella ♥ said...

Was it Samson? I'm right? Awesome and I didn't cheat either, well except to confirm the jawbone story was Samson in the Bible, and then not to look daft . .( I know Julie will read this and I don't want to embarrass my cousin) I double checked in my concordance . .
#2 . .was it because the guy in the window was wearing an orange shirt? pretty good guess anyways,

Oh and I'll have a nice slice of dessert the puff pastry with the cream in the middle.

I'm terribly curious now to see my parents pictures of Germany. I'm sure they saw that same castle.

Thoughts on Life and Millinery. said...

Sharp eyes Lovella! Your name and link is now under the Quiz #1 picture as our winner. I hope other names will be added as well, to reassure me that at least a couple of people still know their Bible stories.
And you got the second quiz correct as well. Are you finding yourself seeing orange everywhere now? I am...even blogger uses orange a lot in their signage!

Lovella ♥ said...

Jill, it's pretty funny. I'm actually looking for it in the stores in clothing and shoes. I just bought a Rachel Ray orange dutch oven. I'm officially popular.

A Lady said...

I was going to say, #1, I don't have a clue. and #2, because he is sitting in the window and wearing an orange shirt. Pt's called me away, but Lovella beat me to it. She deserves to win though! Good for her for getting them both right!

Julie said...

Aw, Lovella you couldn't embarress me!! smile
Congratulations on winning the contests!! Good job!
I was going to guess either the orange shirt in the window or the "is that a washline fastened to the house?"
Jill, another fascinating post!!
But I think if I ever get to go to Europe in the near future I will definitely pack my 'rose coloured' glasses so I can handle all the orange!!
Why bother co-ordinating umbrellas to your outfit? Just buy orange!

The inscription under Samson is in an archaic German I don't know. The gothic script is no problem but the words are strange. I think the first part says that Samson's strength was from God... but the second part I don't know.. it is written in a rhyme - second and last lines rhyme.
Just for your info... in German all dogs are masculine in gender "der Hund" - whether they are female or male... all cats are feminine "die Katze" whether they are masculine or male. Even when they are neutered they are still never 'das'. smile

I'm really serious about you making a DVD of your travels - your pictures are soo interesting and your dialogue is so articulately humerous and informative that I would give your DVD a standing ovation.