Monday, January 01, 2007

Europe - Heidelberg

(Previous Stop: Brussels)

Next stop was Heidelberg, Germany, a small city south of Frankfurt. It's a unique city in Germany in that it didn't get bombed during World War II and currently houses the US Army headquarters in Europe along with other NATO offices. It also has Germany's oldest university; Ruprecht Karls University, founded in 1386. The city is also known for an abandoned castle that sits on a steep hill near the main village.

I was visiting my friend Stephan who lives here and studies Mechanical Engineering at Karlsruhe University (a top engineering school in the country). I met him while at Texas A&M through IAESTE (the international internship exchange program).

The old church in the center of the village

A building from the 15th century (I think) that had a very posh restaurant at the bottom.

A view of the castle (schloss) from the village

A good German dinner: huge pork chops with savory bread dumplings along with a massive helping of sauerkraut, with a good local brew.

A typical village in the German countryside (Stephan's mom worked at a bank here). Note the black cat crossing the road...

A sign with a slash through it means the posted sign no longer applies, so end 20 kmph zone. As soon as we left the town and saw the slash sign, Stephan hit the gas.

On the Autobahn for the first time in my life. Having been a BMW fan since middle school and loving everything about the German Autobahn since then, I have dreamt many times about the joy of driving without a speed limit. Stephan didn't disappoint, taking the VW Polo to 160 km/h (100 mph).

Taking a twisty mountain road up the backside to get to Heidelberg Castle

The woods near the Schloss

"Left to the castle"

Taking a little hike through the woods to get down a little bit. It was quite slippery on the wet leaves.

The castle's main entrance to the left with some typical terrain in the background.

A building in the castle grounds with a blue-tiled roof.

This was a great shot cause this building had no roof.

Strange, but the castle also housed the largest ever wine barrel (that's me on top).

Refreshment from different eras. Another massive wine barrel.

The Bavarian flag from when the King from Bavaria (Munich) used to stay here.

View of the old part of Heidelberg from the castle's balcony.

Each lion here had a different expression


View of the exploded amunition tower. You can see its walls are around 7 feet thick and there was an explosion inside of the amunition which blew it outwards.

Down in the village looking up at the castle

"Yes, sit here and relax and wait for the bus." It's actually a bus stop of a mobile library.

A monkey sculpture at the Old Bridge Gate.

Cool looking branches

Shot of the old bridge and the castle in the background.

The Old Bridge Gate

A typical side street with bars and cafes here and there.

They actually took the effort to lay down all the bricks in this nice semi-concentric pattern. It's worth a shot.

Taking a train to head back up the mountain to our car.

Wurst mit frites - bratwurst and fries. A most excellent train station meal. They love their french fries all over Europe.

(Next Stop: St Anton, Day 1 & 2)

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