We are having a fantastic time in Germany! I intended to blog every day about the trip, but have been busy and/or tired and have had hit-or-miss internet service. So I'll get started on catching up now.
Friday April 3rd--We arrived at Frankfurt airport and rented a nice Mercedes B-class car and drove to Heidelberg. The drive is less than an hour. We parked in a parking garage near Universitaetplatz and started walking around. The Alte Stadt of Heidelberg is pretty compact so doesn't take too long to get from one place to another. We walked to Kornmarkt and took the Bergbahn up the cliff to Koenigsstuhl. Fantastic views from up there. There was also a little restaurant, a falcon show and a "Fairy Tale Paradise" for children but we didn't do any of those things. Coming down from Koenigsstuhl we stopped at Schloss Heidelberg. We were very tired so didn't feel like doing a guided tour or an audio tour, so we just walked around on our own. It was interesting to see the different architecture styles from the different periods it was built. We took photos of ourselves at the Grosses Fass, which is a huge wine barrel where all tourists seem to have their photo taken.
After visiting the castle, it was time for lunch. We returned to Kornmarkt and then walked to Marktplatz where there were a number of restaurants. The weather was beautiful (sunny and 60s) so we chose a table outside at the restaurant called Hahn im Korb. Karl and I had the "Haenchen-Wellness" (grilled chicken breast) with vegetables and "Salzkartoffeln"--a kind of potato. Caroline had chicken noodle soup. No beers at this meal---we all needed to stay awake!
Many restaurants have "Wellness" items on the menu. It can be totally in German, and have the English word Wellness in the name. We enjoyed people-watching and listening to the church bells.
When we finished lunch we walked around the corner to the Alte Bruecke, a bridge across the Neckar River. Nice views from here, and we watched a barge of gravel go under us. Then we walked back to the area around Heidelberg University and visited the Studentenkarzer. This was a jail where unruly students were detained. The walls are covered with artwork done by the detained students. It's really fantastic. I remembered it from my visit to Heidelberg 32 years ago. Afterwards we visited a couple of churches, the Heiliggeistkirche and the Jesuitenkirche.
Then it was time to visit Jana and her family! We got stuck in a ridiculous traffic jam on the Autobahn and were about 20 minutes late. Fortunately, I had a cellphone that works on the European network so I was able to call and let them know we were running late.
It was nice to finally meet Jana's parents and sister! They are very nice, welcoming people. We had a tasty dinner of goulash with noodles and red cabbage, followed by cheesecake, ice cream, cherries and chocolate. Jana's house is lovely. It is located above the village and has a very nice view. Caroline stayed in Jana's room and Karl and I stayed in a room on the lower level of the house.