Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Chelsea in Heidelberg

Saturday and Sunday, November 9 - 10

We decided to go out of town on the weekend, as Erin had Saturday and Sunday off. Erin used to live in a town about an hour south of where we were staying called Heidelberg. We decided to go there. Erin also had a special friend down there, so it was mutually beneficial. I was excited to see another city in beautiful Germany, especially since it came after about 4 days of relaxation. 

However, Friday night Erin was kept at work until nearly 2am, so Saturday we had a late start. We all got up late and took our time getting ready. We finally hit the road about 4pm on Saturday. Thankfully, Erin drove and it took only an hour to get into town. We checked into our hotel and went straight to get a drink and some dinner.

Erin’s friend Ian took us to a traditional German restaurant that had menus only in German, which I take as a good sign that it won’t be touristy or overpriced. Ian had to translate the menu for us, and I chose to have some kind of pork steak with sauce and fried potatoes. Romeo got a schnitzel. We also shared some kind of dish that roughly translates to macaroni and cheese with fried onion rings on top. Everything we ate was absolutely delicious. Erin got Christmas on a plate: goose with potato croquettes, red cabbage, and cranberry pudding. It was so yummy! 

I decided that German food might be my favorite variety that we had tried. Italy was good but hit-or-miss; France’s food was mostly cold sandwiches; Amsterdam was unnoticeable; London was just expensive; Brussels was basically a liquid diet (cough, beer, cough); Hungary was really good with goulash; Bratislava and Prague were mostly eat-in. We had enjoyed the heck out of homemade food with Erin’s mom being basically a professional chef, but this was flipping good! I could gain a few pounds in Germany, for sure...

After dinner, we went to Ian’s local divebar called Joe’s. He told us that it’s a bit themed with metal rock music, but it didn’t seem too dark or weird. We had a variety of beverages, but I mostly had some mixed drinks. We’d had a LOT of wine at Erin’s, and I was beer-d out, too. We all hung out and chatted with the owner, Joe, as well as enjoyed the plethora of 80s music. Romeo and I headed out around 1:30am, but Erin and Ian stayed a bit later. It was a good thing we left when we did, or I think I would have been pretty ill the next morning. 

As it was, I felt pretty rough, but I was capable of thought and movement, so that was good. We had our breakfast at the hotel; I thoroughly enjoyed the fresh bread (brochen) that was still warm in the middle with real butter. Simple but delicious! We checked out at 11am, and waited for Erin in the lobby. We had arranged the night before to meet at 11am, since we couldn’t get WiFi in our room to text in the morning. However, with large quantities of alcohol comes a fuzzy memory, and I don’t think Erin remembered arranging that time with us. We ended up waiting nearly 3 hours.

Finally, Ian collected us and apologized for keeping us waiting with an offer to buy the first round of beers. At the mention, my stomach kind of churned, but we didn’t have much choice. We headed downtown and got to see the real city. Ian works at a university, but he should be a tour guide. He was showing us all these little landmarks we wouldn’t have known about, and explaining so much about the history of the town, traditions, and other “fun facts”. It was very interesting, but my body was protesting so we headed into a bar nearby. After a few glasses of wine, I was feeling better and we continued our mini-tour around the town square area.

We got to see the bridge over the Nachar River, the old castle (although I declined the hike up and tour around it), a couple old churches, lots of important plaques which were accompanied with loads of information from Ian, as well as lots of charming buildings. 

We drank at a local brewery called Vetter’s, where I found my favorite drink: beer with sparkling wine and real fresh strawberries. It was delicious and I could have continued drinking those all night. We also had some cheese spread that I enjoyed thoroughly. Eventually, we headed out again and found a restaurant. Erin remembered that I had been wanting fondue ever since our planned route through Switzerland turned into Amsterdam instead. We went to a German restaurant that also had fondue for two. 

We ordered that and when it came I think my jaw dropped. It was a big saucepan full of bubbly cheese. The waitress set down a plate of bite sized pieces of bread and I waited a beat, looking around for her to bring another plate with some other “dippers”. I expected at least some veggies or maybe apples as well as the bread. But, nothing came. I asked Ian to inquire if we could get something else as well, but when he asked her she looked very confused and said no, there was nothing else. I even offered to pay more, but she refused. (I miss American service). I was actually really stunned that they didn’t offer ANYTHING except bread. Also, the menu claimed for 2 people, but I think all 4 of us could have eaten on that and there still would have been leftovers. We ate as much as we could, and Erin shared some of her meal. Even so, when we left, I felt stuffed to the brim and not a little uncomfortable. 

We left and I was getting antsy to get back to Erin’s house, as we were leaving for Iceland the next day and I wasn’t completely ready. I could tell Erin wasn’t in a hurry to leave, and I didn’t want to cut her vacation short, but between body aches from putting it through liquid hell the night before and repeating the process again that day, and the huge quantity of cheese I’d ingested, I couldn’t handle much more. We eventually headed back to Hofheim around 10pm, arriving a little after 11pm. 

I spent about 2 1/2 hours getting my suitcases situation and weighed to the appropriate limit. Eventually I hit the sack completely exhausted and not looking forward to leaving such a comfy home for the frigid land of ice. However, I got up in the morning and felt pretty excited to see the beautiful landscapes and natural wonders of Iceland. And with that, I am sitting on a plane writing this, only 45 minutes from getting off the plane in that place. I am a conflicting ball of emotion between ready to get home and wanting to properly enjoy the last bit of the trip. In fact, my stomach is a little butterfly-y at the thought of being back in America in LESS THAN A WEEK!!!!

Wowwwwwweeee..... See you soon, America!!

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