Heidelburg to Lucerne

The end of March was spent in the lovely German city of Heidelburg.  The location of Germany’s oldest University.  Also, many fraternities own and operate their own pubs.  It’s kinda interesting.  Looking down on some of the frat houses the backyards are also filled with kegs.  Drinking is very prevalent in Germany.  As is smoking. 🙁 In the picture below, that little gap in the top tree line, with a tower in it was built by a frat.  They do odd things.

The tour went to the Heidelburg Schloss (Castle) on the first official tour day.  We were led by a local guide who explained this history of the location, the various kings and what not that built onto it, the French who tried to destroy it, and failed because of the wall thickness, the apathy of the French soldiers, and the damp weather at the time.  It’s also where the Hanover dynasty began, these are the relatives of the current British Monarchy, which is more German than British.

After the castle, we took the Funicular down to the old city.  The Funicular is the easiest way to get up the mountain to the hotel and castle, otherwise, it’s a steep walk, and you could drive, if you wanted to.

This picture is of the old, still in use, funicular car that goes even further up the mountain for hiking and a really great view.

 Back down in the CIty, we toured around a number of old squares, which coming up to lunch were soon filled with tables and chairs from the various restaurants.  It’s very common for people to sit outside and if it’s still cool some places provide blankets at the table! We learned ab it about the history of the city and it’s interesting church differences, Protestant and Catholic.  I only snagged a pic of the inside of the Catholic Church, although both are beautiful in their differences. 

The tour ended around noon in the University Square.  After which I wandered down a number of streets for several hours.  Cobblestones are not doing my feet any favours.  However, I visited the Lindt store.

Several varieties of chocolate later.

I also found the Lamy store; a famous brand of pen, especially fountain pens.  Completely, unessisarily, I bought a beginners fountain pen.  This is the kind they’d use in schools to teach fancy script.  But I really like it’s lightness and am going to enjoy the smoothness and fanciness of writing with a fountain pen.

I returned back to the hotel in the later afternoon.  Such a beautiful location.  The window in my room doesn’t have a screen and it opened large and wide.

On April 1, we travelled through the Black Forest. Unfortunately, I don’t have any good pictures of the trees.  We use didn’t stop anywhere to get good pictures of it.

Stopped in Triberg which is a centre for cuckoo clocks; traditionally made in the Black Forest by farmers with a long winter ahead. I wandered and ate lunch with one of the older ladies on the trip.  Bonnie is a sheep fanatic, she weaves, and plays the bagpipes, yet isn’t Scottish.  A very interesting lady.

Then we travelled again through the Black Forest, upwards and onwards to Lucerne, Switzerland.

We checked into the Hotel Flora, a lovely and central location to what they call the Old Town of Lucerne but on the side of the river called New Town(which is a lie, because it’s Old Town on both sides of the river).  After supper I wandered around the touristy area (it’s all touristy, Lucerene’s economy depends on it).   

The bridge on the right side of this picture is several hundred years old and each (excepting those that burned) frame of the bridge has a unique picture.  The guide we had on Saturday said that no one really know what the pictures mean anymore but the originals are left up as part of Lucerne’s history.  About 200 hundred years ago there was a massive fire and many of the pictures burned, they’ve left the burned frames and timber up as a reminder of what happens when individuals are careless.   The official story about the fire is carelessness, a lit cigarette not put out, the unofficial story is arson.  There is a second bridge whose pictures tell a macabre story about death and it’s inevitability.

OUr tour of Lucerne was interesting, sorta.  I’m sure there’s more history here than what was imparted.  There are many painted buildings and towers.  There was a lovely market in the morning.  So many flowers and bread!

I’m attempting (attempted) to not spend money here as Switzerland is really expensive! But I had to have Swiss chocolate and entrance to the Picasso Museums m  (pictures not allowed) was the same price as my expensive chocolates.  Ridiculous. The Sammlung Rosengart Luzern (Picasso) is well worth the visit though.  Pictures just can’t do justice to seeing his work.  It was a great experience, There’s also a movie about the museum foundation and real pictures of Picasso and his work provided by Photojournalist David Douglas Duncan.

Tomorrow we’re off to Lichtenstein.  That’ll be something else.

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