This is Paul. He is our new 2 month old puppy and we already love him so much. He will stay a very small dog, he will probably end up weighing around 3 kgs. You can do anything with him, even carry him like a baby. Cute right?!
A couple of weeks ago I went to Heidelberg for the day. It is one of the most picturesque towns in Germany and is well known outside of the German borders as a popular tourist destination. I'm sure as I was walking down the main shopping street I heard more English and other languages being spoken than German.
After having a coffee in one of the many, many cafes, looking in a few shops and stepping inside the church, I walked up A LOT of stairs to the famous Heidelberg castle. The castle ruins are among the most important Renaissance structures north of the Alps. The castle has only been partially rebuilt since its demolition in the 17th and 18th centuries.
Mark Twain, the American author, described the Heidelberg Castle in his 1880 travel book A Tramp Abroad:
“A ruin must be rightly situated, to be effective. This one could not have been better placed. It stands upon a commanding elevation, it is buried in green woods, there is no level ground about it, but, on the contrary, there are wooded terraces upon terraces, and one looks down through shining leaves into profound chasms and abysses where twilight reigns and the sun cannot intrude. Nature knows how to garnish a ruin to get the best effect. One of these old towers is split down the middle, and one half has tumbled aside. It tumbled in such a way as to establish itself in a picturesque attitude. Then all it lacked was a fitting drapery, and Nature has furnished that; she has robed the rugged mass in flowers and verdure, and made it a charm to the eye. The standing half exposes its arched and cavernous rooms to you, like open, toothless mouths; there, too, the vines and flowers have done their work of grace. The rear portion of the tower has not been neglected, either, but is clothed with a clinging garment of polished ivy which hides the wounds and stains of time. Even the top is not left bare, but is crowned with a flourishing group of trees & shrubs. Misfortune has done for this old tower what it has done for the human character sometimes – improved it."
The view from the top is amazing and it is easy to see why Heidelberg has over 3 million visitors a year (most of those are from Japan and the USA).
In the above photo you can see the old stone bridge which is a medieval gate bridge. You can walk across to the other side for a different view of the castle which sits on the hill overlooking the old city. Originally the bridge was part of the town wall.
After a day of walking, I stumbled onto a side street which seemed to be dedicated to chocolate. I found the most amazing hot chocolate cafe, there were so many flavours. In the end I settled on a cashew and caramel hot chocolate (with chocolate that is made in Austria haha). It was a nice way to end my day in Heidelberg.
I think anyone who visits Germany should go to Heidelberg, even just for one day to experience such a beautiful, fairy tale like town.
Last weekend a friend who lives in Heilbronn invited me to visit. Heilbronn is about the same size (population wise) as Tauranga, lies on the Neckar river and is known for it's wine industry. It was nice to see another part of the region and have a break from Stuttgart city.
The above photos are all taken from walking into town by the Neckar. The apartments are so cute and colourful! As you can see, it wasn't exactly the best weather, but it didn't rain! It was actually sunny on Sunday, it was so warm it really felt like it could almost be summer. Everyone was in the city, everyone was eating ice cream and gelato. I think I have found my favourite flavour combination so far; coconut and bacio.
There was a French market in the city centre on Friday. It wasn't very big, but there was a variety of sausages, meats, cheeses and sweets. They were also selling crepes (of course) and a few other small things like soap and bags. It is not a very "historical" city, that's what Germans say anyway, but there are some nice churches and old buildings.
On Saturday night we went to a BBQ and I got to meet a few other people. It's so common here to live in a flat or apartment. I can't imagine growing up in anything but a house. People have tiny balconies and still manage to have BBQs on them. I even heard someone say that when they had no balcony at an old apartment that they would just open the window and stick the grill on the window sill to cook meat... So I conclude that Germans are absolutely crazy about BBQs and they will make a way for it to work no matter the living situation.
Another thing I realise is that there are only two people in all of Germany who don't like beer...my host Mum and I. That's it. We are the ONLY ones. And people will always try to find out what beer you like, so the conversation just can not be avoided.
My weekend consisted of a lot of walking, gelato and chocolate...Sounds very European to me.