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Jun 20, 2012

A day in Heidelberg

After several hours in Professor Maran's office above the student cafeteria at the University of Heidelberg, we finally checked off all the points on the list of things to discuss in preparation for our upcoming field campaign in ancient Tiryns, Greece (more to come on that in a later post).

Just two days before the summer solstice, the warm air in the enclosed space had made us sleepy. We adjourned immediately to the outdoor tables and equipped ourselves with beer to enjoy some sunshine. It was fun watching students - of all ages and nationalities - enjoying the fine weather.

After a light dinner in the Altstadt, we wandered over the cobblestone streets looking for a nice place to enjoy a drink after sunset. It was then I realized - once again - that my Chucks were inadequate protection from Cobblestone Foot Pain. That's when I began pointing to random bars and shouting, 'Look, they have tables. And chairs!' and 'Oh, how nice, looks like the perfect place to grab a drink.' We finally ended up just a few feet from our inner city hotel. My feet sighed in relief.

Cobblestones are not only responsible for Foot Woes, they, along with narrow streets, are perfect acoustic reflectors. Just as I was about to drift into sleep in my hotel bed, the entire population of a small but loud country, began partying outside our hotel window. Since I didn't have any offal handy to dump on their heads, I had to endure it. The garbage collectors completed the restful experience at around 6:00 a.m.

After a hearty German breakfast, 'we' decided to ascend the Philosopher's Walk, a historic path on the northern bank of the Neckar River that winds its way up and around the Heiligenberg and that would afford us a spectacular view of the city and Heidelberg castle. I spoke quietly to my Chucks, begging them to be nice. Not wanting to be wimpy, I endured the pain and the ascent, but it wasn't pretty. People at least a decade older than me were passing me without even breathing hard. A reminder that I've had way too much butt-in-chair time lately. 

But finally I got to the top. And it was worth it. Even though I didn't feel at all like talking existentialism, it was quite relaxing and peaceful.

View of Heidelberg castle from the Philosopher's Way

Heidelberg from above

View of the city from across the Neckar River
Then we had to skedaddle back down the trail as it was time to head back to rainy Cologne. It's no wonder that every tourist has Heidelberg at the top of its list. My only wish was for one more day and a decent pair of walking shoes.