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Tourism

Heidelberg

A bit of history for what I've been up to for the past week. I went to see some fireworks at the local castle. I say local, because it seems like every town has it's own castle, each looking uniquely old in the way that castles can only look old. To elaborate, this look is I achieved (I assume) by having bits of the castle fall off. I may be wrong with this assertion, especially since it seems that lepers fit into that description too. I don't think tourists are shipped in by the busload to gawk at lepers, and I'm pretty sure they are not charged many Euros to do the aforementioned gawking at the lepers. Heidelberg is a town without leprosy (as far as I know). On your right, you can see the view of the castle (local) overlooking a good section of the old town. There is a church in the foreground. Travellers to Europe may note that there are many churches in the region, and they are quite the tourist attraction. I do not think they are very interesting past the fourth or fifth one that you visit, but their ability to provide shelter from freezing rain certainly warrants their place on any freezing person's itinerary of touristy attractions in the city. I much prefer the student prisons, which apparently were more pseudo-pubs as people would actively try to be thrown into this prison, even if they weren't students. It's a bit like the convicts being sent to Australia. I haven't actually been to this church, but I believe that this church has a special attraction, and you can climb up to the top of it's tower. You'll need to make your way past the Japanese tourists taking shelter from the American tourists though.

Ah yes, the Americans. I present to you Exhibit B, which is the castle again, without a church in the foreground. It has, instead, been replaced with a bridge. This bridge is the old bridge in Heidelberg, and is not to be confused with the other bridges, which are far from showing symptoms of leprosy. This bridge, although it is old, is quite functional in it's ability to convey people from one side of the Neckar (the river running through the town) to the other. I quite like it, especially since there's a strange statue on one end of the bridge, with a monkey that has haemorrhoids. This picture was taken at about 8 pm. Summer here is quite nice, when it's not raining, overcast, cold or just plain miserable. When it's overcast or raining or miserable, and roughly two hours have passed since someone took a picture to illustrate how nice the summer is, the castle often gets angry and starts trembling in a fit of fury. This is exacerbated if a bit of it has just fallen off. I can tell the castle is angry because it is red. It is trembling because I keep on attempting to take pictures when it is dark, by setting the shutter speed to slow, and then swearing profusely (unfortunately not in German yet) to myself as I realise that I actually need a tripod, as that stable railing which I was planning to use has now become an unstable swinging railing with a small Spanish child sitting on it. Not being one to ruin tradition (or push children off railings), I have continued this habit of shooting blurry night photos here. I am quite the expert at taking pictures of fireworks, and my hand-to-eye-to-predicting-where-the-next-explosion-will-be co-ordination is second to all.

Firework

We can see this in this exemplary piece of photography where I expertly framed a round-looking explosion with purple and green wiggly bits in the viewfinder. You'll have to use your imagination, because I only took the picture once it had disappeared. This picture is similar to what it should look like, but I could have pulled this picture from anywhere, since there is no way you'd know this was taken in Heidelberg with an increasingly angry castle in the background.

Back to the old bridge. As I mentioned, I really quite liked the bridge, it was quite comical with a monkey on the end. If the Sydney harbour bridge had a monkey on it, it would be the best bridge in the world (and it's not even old!). With my unqualified admiration for this bridge, the last thing I expected to happen was for someone to blow it up. As it turns out - the Americans, facing an enemy hogging all the good shelter in a church, decided to bomb the hell out of the nearest functioning bridge. On a related note, every now and again I walk out of work, and there's a fighter jet flying overhead. If you were flying around all day not shooting at things, you'd get a little bored too. That'd have to be in the job description - "You will be required to fly around, belittle Tom Cruise, and blow bridges up into tiny little pieces".

Ziegelhause

Just to clarify things - the Americans didn't bomb the bridge and the castle doesn't have leprosy, but there are Japanese tourists in the church. I must not go around spreading faleshoods about the place I live. Speaking of which, the place I live looks a lot like the picture on the right. It was originally a town just outside of Heidelberg, but Heidelberg got bigger, and Ziegelhausen couldn't really go anywhere. If it were a tortoise, then it could just get up and walk off somewhere else very slowly, but although town and turtle start with the letter t, they're quite different concepts. In the picture, I've just walked up the road a bit after getting off the bus, which was on-time and had plenty of seats (You listening Carr? On time. And don't give me any rubbish about the population density of Sydney not being high enough. Fix it. You have 3 years). I had also used a tram to get part of the way home too, with a total waiting time at various bus and tram-stops of 5 minutes. Not that I'm rubbing it in or anything. This is part of the hill which I walk up to get home. The important thing you want to take home from this picture is that the speed limit is 30km/hr. Everywhere. I don't believe this is the same country as the Autobahns and the 300km/hr trains. It takes about 25 minutes to get to work by car. I reckon I could do it in less than 10 (including parking) if I were to be flexible with speed limits (which I consider more like guidelines, than hard limits). The hill is quite funny to watch people drive up and down, as often you have one car coming up, and one coming down, and there's not quite enough room for both cars to go past. You end up with one car backing up, driving all over the pavement, and knocking old men off the side of the hill. The hill keeps going and going, until you hit my apartment block. It's currently being repainted, using white paint I hope, since that green grey colour looks a bit depressing. You know you're settled in to a place when you write your name into the mailbox. Just to contrast with Ben, this is my place in it's natural light, and this is where I've been sleeping for the past three weeks. So that's Heidelberg. Just for completeness, here is the monkey.

1 comment

butercup *

Well gosh.
1. it's a very long, photo filled post .. I nearly didn't bother! But did, just so that I could say:
2. I bet you'd get haemorrhoids too if you stood like that all day and all night in all weathers
3. your fireworks/angry castle photos remind me of your previous night time photos - hehe.

Anyway sounds like fun. Did I mention I'm going skiing in a little over a week? No? Well there you go.

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