Thursday, August 18, 2016


One of the greatest things we have right now are tickets that allow us to go anywhere in the state of Hessen for free, by bus or train. We only have these passes for the six weeks that we are living in Marburg (we will hopefully get something really similar when we go to Munster), so while we're down here, we decided why not take advantage? We kicked off our explorations with a day in Heidelberg! 

We caught the 10:35am train to Frankfurt and a noon train to Heidelberg. We were traveling with two other Fulbrighters. One was staying overnight with a friend who's living there for the summer, and the other stayed with us the whole time!

This was outside the train station in Heidelberg.

We took a bus to the old town and it was bustling. I knew Heidelberg was a popular place, but wow, it was really teeming with tourists.

There were a lot of food options on that main street, and we wanted something cheap. We decided on Schnitzel and looked at the menu at this place but it was too expensive.

We ended up with chicken schnitzel sandwiches from a bakery. It was my first time having schnitzel (and I didn't realize chicken schnitzel was even a thing until this day) and it was delicious.

We walked around this area for a little bit. I don't know much about the history here or the buildings themselves, unfortunately, so these are just pictures of things I thought were pretty, although perhaps they are also significant in some way. I do remember from my class on the European Reformation that Martin Luther argued one of his theses here, but I don't know where or which.

We were headed for the castle on the hill.

This is a phrase I've picked up! It says "footpath to the castle" - that funny B thing in the first word means "double s" and they can't decide if they should just do away with it completely or not, which is why some words have it (like the word for footpath) and some don't (like the word for castle).

Along the steep path we passed a herd of yak (yaks?) snoozing in the grass.

The castle at last! The walk up didn't take very long, but it was very steep!

The castle is pretty old. The original part of it was built in the early 13th century, and it was added to over time. It's considered a ruin, and part of that is due to age, obviously, but I also discovered that it was struck by lightning TWICE, five hundred years apart! We could see some of the restoration going on around the castle.

From the hill with the castle, we were offered a lovely view of the city!

We split ways with the other Fulbrighter at the castle. She and her friend decided to do a walking tour, and we decided to not do the tour because we wanted to head back at an early hour.

We filled our water bottles up at this statue. I still haven't seen a typical American water fountain, just things like this in touristy places and I've got to admit - it's pretty neat!

We had someone take a picture for us - Carson, Julianne and I.

We walked over this lovely bridge.

We had to walk through this to get there. Pretty impressive!

One thing I'd heard about was that in different parts of Germany, there are different men for the walk/don't walk symbol. Here are the ones in Heidelberg. 

Our next adventure was the Philosopher's Way

It was much more steep than the walk to the castle and it was hot and my legs weren't enjoying this walk. It was beautiful though!

The view at the top was amazing. You could see so far!

We passed a large field toward the base of the next bridge as we came down from the Philosopher's Way and stopped to rest.

The one thing we kept saying to ourselves as we worked our way to the top of the hill was "Gelato. We get gelato when we finish" so we did just that.

I'm sure there are plenty more things we could have done in Heidelberg, but we felt like our hours of walking around in the heat and sun were finished, so we headed back on the 5pm train.

There's a glare so you'll have to look closely, but I thought the offerings in some of these train station vending machines were fun: all of them I've seen have Capri-Sun pouches!

We had a little wait at the train station in Marburg for the next bus (I refused to walk up another hill), so we went to the pizza place across the street from the bus stop and enjoyed our really cheap (we thought they'd be tiny because they were so inexpensive but we could have gotten just one for under 5 euro) pizzas while watched Germany beat Portugal 4-0 in the Olympics.

That night, Carson and I slept for 11 hours! I don't think that the walking would have been so bad if we'd been prepared for all that heat, but it was over 80 degrees and sticky (still nothing like Florida!) and the weather app had said 70 degrees so I wore jeans instead of shorts and they stuck to me and that wasn't fun. But thanks to the heat and exercise, we got a great night's sleep!

The best thing about having these free tickets is knowing how much we saved. A ticket to Heidelberg would have cost us each a little over 40 euro each, but of course that was free, and we spent money on food and one souvenir instead, which still brought us in for under 20 euro. I think we'd planned on lazy weekends, but since we have these tickets, we feel like we need to get the most out of them!

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