Friday, December 20, 2013

Day Six and Seven: Cars, Trains, Buses, and... Streetcars?

First off, sorry for not updating yesterday but we spent all day on the go and had to get to bed early because of an early birdie wake up call today. We'll get to that.

Let's start with yesterday's adventures! We started the day off at a somewhat reasonable hour, around 7, and managed to make it out the door by 8. After the way we flew in, ate breakfast, and left in a hair brained frenzy it was nice to actually have some time to do the European thing and actually enjoy some time talking and eating and relaxing. We went off to grab lunch for my great-grandmother and picked up some special dessert to share. My Oma even got a piece of this delicious cake called Schwarzwaelderkirschtorte. It's Black Forest Cake! It's amazing. 

While we were out, this little thing happened. This thing where the sky gets dark and water starts falling from the heavens. Yes, ladies and gentlemen, it started raining. It got exceedingly uncomfortable so I got myself an umbrella. It's a super nice one, designer brand, and a proper mushroom shaped umbrella. And it's clear. I love it so much! It's perfect. Once we finished our lunch and cleaned up, we were off to the bus station to get to Heidelberg. My mom won a bet while were there about which bus went where when. 
Once we were on the bus, we got lost a bit in our minds just taking in the sights, as it has been years since any of us have seen them. One of the more important/interesting to us is the Rauthaus (courthouse) where my Oma and Opa got married. 
We finally made it to the streetcar line that we would take into the city a few minutes later. We disembarked at the end of the line after much fooling around, and got our first look. 
One of my favorite things about this time of year is the food. We walked a little ways down the street after I bought a new, lighter jacket for the warmer (haha) weather. It's just so much easier to wear a light jacket in the forty-something weather than the large coat I brought with me. When we got to the first market, I bought myself dinner. Of course, I shared. It was delicious. Then, I remembered to take a look up and around. What did I see? The Heidelberg Schloss looming  over the city. 
Also here, in this square itself, if the University of Heidelberg. If I knew how to apply, and knew enough German to go to school here, I so would. They have an excellent medical school and a top notch undergraduate education. However, I will in fact be going to school in the states. To make up for this, I dream of one day spending much time at the Heidelberg University Hospital as a surgeon teaching techniques to doctors there. That's the dream, now I have to make it happen. 
Here's a picture of the market where I found the most perfect things ever:
After some time spent finding the absolute perfect Christmas gifts for a very important person and myself, we made our way back to Schwetzingen. Might I add it got extremely cold (to us) after the rain came and went? Well it did. Before we walked back to our hotel, we meandered down the street and went to Schwetzingen's Christmas market. We also went inside the gates of the Schwetzingen schloss. We'll be going back to the palace, but after Christmas. 
Finally, we meandered back home, had a snack, talked to the people back home, and went to sleep as early as we could because we had an early wake up call. 

TODAY! Today was the day to end all days! We got to make an amazing, marvelous, eye-opening trip to Nuremberg, the home of Lebkuchen. This isn't all it is known for obviously, but it's what I know it for. Our day started at 0445 and is not quite over yet, as I am still awake writing this. We made our way to the Bahnhoff to catch a train to Mannheim, so that we could make our connection with the IC bus to Nuremberg. This was an awesome way to travel, as it was comfortable, fast, and stress-free. When we got there three hours later, the architecture nerd in me was weeping was internally weeping with joy. 
Today I got my wish to go somewhere and just marvel at something. I got to do that all day long. We walked into the Old Town, the original city where the castle is up on a hill surrounded by buildings and walls at the edge of that particular part of town. Of course, it has caught up with the times as there are many shops, restaurants and things of that nature all throughout. The big thing is that very few cars are allowed in this area. We stopped for lunch at an authentic German restaurant and had actual weiner schnitzel, not that Bavarian crap. Real schnitzel is made with veal, not pork thank you very much. We did the actual European thing again today and spent two hours at lunch. It was fantastic, especially since we got to sit by a window facing the market. There was also this amazing bridge that just made my jaw drop for whatever reason. 
As we were wandering, we happened upon three churches. However, church just doesn't seem to be enough to describe these holy architectural masterpieces. There was St. Lawrence's, which was built in 1250: 
The Church of Our Lady, built in the 1500's:

And last, but most certainly not least, St. Sebald's Church. This church's construction began in 1225. If this was not a chronological post, I would tell this story first. This church was practically destroyed in World War II when the Allied powers took Nuremberg. 
Today it stands as it did when it was reconstructed after the war, in all its glory. 
After a day of marveling, we found our way back to the Bahnhoff to catch our bus back to Mannheim. The bus that took us to Nuremberg was basically a regular charter bus just with super nice interior, but the one that took us back to Mannheim was a double decker bus, complete with a first class bottom floor. We caught a train back to Schwetzingen, grabbed some provisions for dinner, and headed home. Now, we are sleeping in a bit before seeing my mom's cousin tomorrow. Until tomorrow, 

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