It has been two weeks since I have been here but it seems like it has been longer. It has been an interesting two weeks for sure, between breaking my laptop and using a combination of english and german to get it fixed (note to self: come up with a term that is the german equivilent of Spanglish) sitting for 5 hours a day in language classes, and meeting new and interesting people, I have been pretty busy. As part of this course we have had the opportunity to go out on a few excursions to get a cutlural tatse of the what is around us. The first one that we went on was to a museum in Senin and then on to the town of Heidelberg. I have to admit that I was a little skeptical about this museum when we rolled up to the parking lot. Looming over head was a static display of the Concorde and the Russian version, the name eludes me right now. So I am thinking great, 2 hours of looking at airplanes big deal. Oh how wrong I was. As we enter the museum, I was met by row upon row of mint condition “classic” German Automobiles. I put an emphasis on mit condition becasue all of the airplanes in the static display seemed not to be in that great of condition on the outside. Speaking of the aircraft, I was actually able to walk in the Concorde, it was pretty much unimpressive since most of it had been gutted, but it was easy to imagine how it might have looked. The seats that were left didn’t look comfortable at all and I began to understand why the concept of the Concorde was not profitable, you paid for speed and not for comfort and in my opinion no matter how fast you go, people want to be comfortable. The automobiles in the display were AMAZING! There were Maybauchs from the 1920’s, Ferrari’s from the begining of their production, Early model year Mercedes, Volkswagons, and Audi’s. You name it, it was probably there looking like it just came off of the production floor. They also had one fo the first motorcycles everbuild, along with full size displays of steam engines. When people think of Germany it’s always about beer and brats, but believe you me, they love thier cars. On to Heildelberg.
Heidelberg, what can I say about Heidelberg? for starters, it is a city of contradictions. It is located on the river Nekar and walking the banks you can see a massive lock structure that allows the barges and ships to pass easily and makes it a hub for commerace in the surrounding villages and cities. Heidelberg’s claim to fame is that it is the home to Germany’s oldest university which was founded in 1348 in addition to that in 1907 a 600,000 year old humanoid jaw bone was discoverd here, and Mark Twain wrote his novel ‘A Tramp Abroad’ while staying here. In the city center stands an enormous Protestant church and 265 steps and a series of small heart attacks later, I found myself overlooking the city. What a glorious site it was, down below me was a sprawling city built in the classic stone and timber style carved out of the surrounding thick forrest. From this vantage point I could look across the city to the old castle and could only imagine how imposing that sight once must have been before it fell to ruins. The Alt Schloss as it is called is also home to the world biggests wine barrel, this thing is 9 yards long and can hold 55,000 gallons of wine. Why so much you may ask? Well apparently the Nekar river valley has a long tradition of wine production. With that being said, the vinters had to pay tribute to the king and I guess the king needed a place to store all of the wine that was given as tribute. Unfortunately we didn’t get a chance to tour the inside of the castle becasue we didn’t have time, however I can see myself going back to because to me, the city has lost it’s identity amid the neon lights, high end shopping, and crowds of tourists and I would like to discover the “real” Heidelberg.