Heidelberg Day 1

After 2 and a half month of being back home in Austin, it’s time to pack our backpacks and continue the second half of our honeymoon. It’s funny, but neither of us were ready to leave Austin this morning, we haven’t had enough recharging at home yet. Yes, I am bitching about the tough life I lead where I am forced to travel more than I would prefer right now…


Not too bad this morning, our flight doesn’t leave until 10ish.


Bus arrives right on time.


No line!! No line at security either!


Tradition is tradition.


RL who is always cold, somehow decides not to bring a jacket with her(seriously, this happens all the time). Naturally, I am now the one who’s cold and without a jacket.


Circuit of the Americas right after lifting off.


Immediately after taking off, I was out. RL used this opportunity to take a less than impressive photo of me.


Two can play that game. Payback is a bitch.


New Jersey country side.


Manhattan.


Landed at Newark for a long 4 hour layover.


Of course, first thing is to find food.


NYC style pizza, sure.


Boston Cream Pie doughnut from Dunkin Donuts. I am surprised at how many of my friends have no idea what this is. Try it, its good.


With 4 hours of waiting, might as well booze up. We tried to booze up in Austin airport with a mimosa, but they wanted $10…screw that.


Finally was able to get the airport wifi to work(for 30 minutes) and we got caught up on some Mad Men. Yes, we are late to the party.


Then of course, ice cream.


Then, it’s just staring blankly into space. We are already exhausted. Neither of us got much sleep last night due to excitement.


Our 777 arrives at the gate.


Finally, we boarded, and now it’s dark. That layover felt forever.


Manhattan at night. Pretty neat!


Dinner is served. We were both worried that they might not serve dinner on this flight since it left after 7pm in the evening. We lucked out!


In less than 7 hours, we’ve reached Europe!!


Or so the map claims. There’s too much cloud cover to see the ground.


Ah, our mediocre breakfast on the plane.


Even more exhausted than before.


Germany has some of the highest subsidized markets in renewable energy, and it shows. Those windmills are so tall that they poke above some of the lower clouds.


Arrived in Frankfurt on the tarmac. Now we get bused in.

Immigration was a breeze. No entry card needed, and they didn’t even scan our passports. They took a quick look at it, stamped it and let us through. Zero questions asked.


The Germans and their fancy baggage carousel. There’s a sensor that tells the machine when to load the next luggage so that no luggage stack one on top of another.


Our packs made it just fine.


Tired.


Our traveling day isn’t quite over yet. This is long distance train station connected to the airport. From here, we’ll connect to rail to take us to Heidelberg.


Got an hour to kill, might as well eat some food.


The ATM here Germany doesn’t like one of our ATM cards, and it’s putting me in a foul mood. We are both also hungry and tired, so that isn’t helping either. The stresses of traveling.


Our train arrives, albeit 10 minutes late. This is not good, we’ve got a rail connection to make, and the connection time is only 7 minutes.


Nice, but not quite as nice as the Shinkansen in Japan.


Not much to look at outside of our rain stained windows.


Our train still hasn’t pulled into the station yet, it doesn’t seem like we’ll be making our connection…


Our connecting train left without us by the time we got here.


Fortunately, according to this timetable, there’s another train that will take us to Heidelberg, and it arrives 8 minutes after our original connecting train.


Here she is.


Let’s hope this train will take us to where we need to go.


Arrived in Heidelberg!!!


Europeans and their bikes.


Our hotel is located on the “wrong side of the tracks.” The city center is on the other side of the rail tracks.


Boring…


More boring.


More boring….but there’s our hotel, after a 12 min walk from the train station. It’s like a desert out here, no cafes, no bars, no convenience stores.


Of course, it’s too early to check in. It’s around noon and our room won’t be ready until 2pm. Ideally, we’d just chill at a beer garden close by…but there are none to be found within walking distance. Despite being jet lagged and tired, we decided to bite the bullet and head into town.


On our way to the tram stop, there’s a Media Markt. I’ve read that I can get a European sim card for my phone here.


The right place with the wrong people. The dude at the cell phone counter was an ass(had shitty attitude) and wouldn’t sell us a sim card. He claims that we’ll need a German address and wouldn’t just let us use our hotel address. What the fuck man, they sell these sim cards at vending machines at the airport with no address checks etc.!! We left without sim cards.


The one good thing about our hotel is that it’s a very short walk to the tram stop that’ll take us right into city center.


Bought the tickets at a vending machine and just got them time stamped when we got on the tram. Easy.


In less than 10 minutes, we’ve reached Bismarkplatz, where all the transportation converges.


And, it took us no time to see our first H&M.


From Bismarkplatz, it’s a short walk to the old city center, one of the reason why we are here to visit Heidelberg.


Look at what we have here, another electronics outlet. Let’s see if they’ll sell us some sim cards here.


Saturn good, Media Markt bad. Our experiences here were the complete opposite of our experiences at Media Markt not 20 minutes ago. They were helpful and sold us sim cards, didn’t even ask for our addresses, just needed our passports. They even helped us activate the sim cards!

Here’s the kicker–I found out that Media Markt and Saturn are actually the same company!! Night and day differences for us just because of employee attitude.


Eager to put in our new sim cards!!


Europe and their anatomically accurate mannequins.


Old city center.


Unlike many German cities, Heidelberg was not badly bombed during WWII and thus still retained its Baroque city layout and buildings.


A door for my dog? I miss him.


The weather is actually quite a bit warmer than we were expecting. I kind of wish I had shorts on.


The old castle ruins up in the foot of the mountain. We plan on coming back to visit it tomorrow.


There are quite a few restaurants in town such as this one catering to Asian tourists. Speaking of which, I heard quite a few group of tourists speaking Taiwanese Mandarin. The ubiquitous Chinese tourists are represented here as well, fortunately not in their well known pest like locust state that we are all so used to. No big groups of bused in umbrella yielding Chinese tourists were sighted…yet.


On the way back from exploring old town, they’ve really disrobed the mannequins now. I’ve never seen a non Ken like male mannequin before. I wonder if the female mannequin got the Barbie or if its more anatomically correct?


We are now sleep deprived, hot, exhausted, thirsty, and hungry. What better place to make everything better than to visit a beer garden. This one we spotted from the tram close by Bismarkplatz.


I asked for a liter of beer. Our waitress thought that she heard wrong. She had to ask me twice more to make sure that I know that I am ordering a whole liter of beer. Hah…if she only knew…


Who knew that the Germans could make good wings!


No longer sleep deprived, hot, exhausted, thirsty, or hungry. Everything is all better now…actually, that’s not completely true. Still sleep deprived.


Next door to the beer garden is a doner kebab restaurant!!! Got a couple of these heavenly wraps to go to eat in our hotel room for dinner.


I can’t wait to eat these!


It’s now almost late afternoon. Time to head back to our hotel and rest.


This is what $110 a night gets you in Heidelberg. It’s located far out from city center, but a short walk to the tram station. Not too bad. It actually sleeps 4 people in here, they were out of double rooms.


Now, the jet leg is kicking in stronger than ever. Time to take a nap…but not before eating some doner kebabs!

Of course after a short nap, it’s 1 in the morning and I am wide awake from jet lag.

To be continued at Heidelberg Day 2.

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