Wednesday, August 5, 2009


So let's start with a little Foto Madness!
This shot was taken outside of a cute little store in Heidelberg. My GOSH they had some adorable, highly colored trinkets and playthings. But standing guard at the (closed, yes it was Sunday in Germany) door were these two delightful guys.

Funny Face CommodeNormally I would call this a Funny Foto Freitag, something I got from 50% of My DNA, but my friendly neighborhood science teacher is MIA. She's disappeared folks! I'm sure she's off having a great time (read, A LIFE) and will return soon. So I'll play her little game without her for a while.

Sweet No and I spent last weekend in Heidelberg checking out the sights, marveling at the 800 year old castle, enjoying the charming old part of the city, and among others, met up with the sweet, charming Heidelbergerin and her tall (remember, I'm horribly short... lots of people are TALL) and funny Heidelberger-man.

When No and I were talking about a visit to Heidelberg she started joking and saying that now I would be a true American in Germany, because it seems that ALL Americans want to visit Heidelberg. She couldn't explain the phenomena, just said that it is the common stereotype. Often when Germans are traveling they will run across an American who upon learning they are speaking with a German will be ask if the German is from Heidelberg or has been to the city. No matter the answer, the American usually goes off into a "my father was there in the Cold War, my brother visited in the 60's, my Grandfather said it was the most beautiful city in Europe" kind of thing.

Why is this? I'm not really sure. Perhaps the relation is from the Cold War. My father WAS stationed NEAR Heidelberg (along with a good percentage of the U.S. Army in that time period - even Elvis was here) and brought back reels and reels of slides from the area. Every time we had visitors, my Dad would bring out the slides for a show. He had many pictures of Heidelberg and the surrounding area, but he had taken the opportunity to get around, so there were pictures from Belgium, France, many locations in Germany, Austria, Switzerland, and I believe at least a few from Italy.

But does this off-hand correlation with Heidelberg really justify that well over 50% of the tourists I saw (and heard) were American? I have no idea how this could work out. Maybe it is because Heidelberg is one of the few German cities which were spared the highly destructive carpet bombings meant to bring Germany to its knees and end WWII. Maybe it is the 800 year old ruin castle? Perhaps they come in droves to see Germany's longest pedestrian shopping area? YES, a HUGE outdoor mall, complete with Starbucks and other strange choices to be seen in such an old environment. Now THAT sounds like something which would interest my countrymen!

I kid you not, every few steps while walking along the main thoroughfare I was assaulted by English. I say assaulted because after being surrounded by German (and at work French, Spanish and Italian) my ears act like a strange English antennae and almost jump up when my native tongue is within earshot. At the office I know that people are speaking to me when they begin speaking English thus when I hear English, I assume that the person is wanting to speak with me. I've talked about this weird phenomenon before in a long ago blog entry titled Sensory Overload which is exactly what it feels like to me.

How could I not listen to the couple sitting behind us at the restaurant as they discuss what they will do/see next? Is it really possible to blank out the noise of a passing pedestrian as he asks the woman beside him if she "would you qualify that as a manufacturing problem or a design problem"? In one word... No. It is impossible for me to tune them out. It is the same thing I deal with every time I visit America or any English-speaking country. It is HARD, so HARD to deal with the language all around me.

While walking among the white sport shoed folks (stereotypical American footwear makes them stand out every time) I took the time to eat some local fare. In this case it was Saumagen or "stomach of the female pig". It turned out to be alright, tasting like most any of the sliced deli meats widely available in the US, just sliced more thickly and pan-fried. I tasted potatoes and celery in this interesting reminder that the Germans use EVERY part of the pig in cuisine. The Saumagen came with Sauerkraut and Kartoffelp├╝ree (mashed potatoes) of course, both were also quite nice and rounded out the meal very nicely.

At the suggestion of the before-mentioned Heidelbergerin, we avoided Vetter's restaurant food and went straight to the beer. It seemed like every third person was walking around with the easily-spotted brown bottle and enjoying it highly, so we decided it was the thing to do when in Heidelberg... OH MY... we were right! We walked in and asked for a dark beer and came out with a FANTASTIC dark, sweet, thick malt beer which went down smoothly as we sat on the riverbank opposite the old town and watched the sunset/moonrise.

A friend of mine told me that Heidelberg is very romantic, and now I believe him. It seemed that the best times we had were on the "other" side of the river, taking in the quiet beauty of the incredibly picturesque villiage of the old town. There were so many opportunities for simply enjoying each other's company which in our hustle and bustle world just get left behind. We really enjoyed our time by the Neckar river, on both sides.

Been reading:
  • Former Blackwater CEO Erik Prince - Now the dirty stuff is going to come out about Blackwater (now renamed Xe). I wonder why you would change the name of a successful company? Is it because the other one was kicked OUT of Iraq BY the Iraqis?
  • Churning Ocean Waters, One Jellyfish at a Time - This is a really wild theory, but I can see where it originates from and it makes sense in a way. The first thing I thought while reading this is that this is just another species that once extinct or severely reduced in number due to environmental stupidity on the part of humans that will have a HUGE and unforeseen impact on the Earth.
  • Russian Subs Seen Off U.S. East Coast - Looks like Mother Russia is getting more serious about throwing around some military might.
  • Don't trust Obama on gay marriage - I believe the author has hit the issue on the head. Obama will sell out the gays and lesbians in a heartbeat if it is politically advantageous for him to do it. Clinton did it first of course, but he did it best... DOMA and Don't Ask, Don't Tell hurt gays and lesbian rights in ways that we are just now fully realizing. Let's hope that Obama doesn't make another such "compromise" which undercuts the small gains the gay community has made.
I will leave you with a cute video which has become pretty viral.
THIS is the way to come down the aisle!


CrackerLilo said...

I never thought of going to Heidelberg, and neither did my brother when he went to Germany. But we have almost no military in our family. We joke that our grandfather "um, served at the VFW."

Those dressers or nightstands or whatever in the window would give me night terrors in a bedroom. But I'd want to see what's inside!

The Antiques Diva™ said...

Interesting post today and you've certainly inspired me to add Heidelberg to my must visit list!

Jan said...

The photo of Heidelberg is spectacular, as usual - and you make me want to drink beer! I don't normally like it; I like wine.

I've seen the video; I'm a tad disappointed the bride and groom didn't do more, but you have to admit - their friends have a great sense of humor!

Snooker said...

@ CrackerLilo
You are so unAmerican. Never wanted to go to Heidelberg! Boh! :)
The dressers look like something from Alice in Wonderland, eh?

@ Antiques Diva
I bet that the little side street stores harbor some lovely treats for you.

@ Jan
Beer is good for you girl! Drink more of it. Well... at least nice, smooth malty beer... THAT is good for you.