It’s me again, from aboard. Just departed from Bratislava, and
“Me and a few boys of mine
am partying in the night
tell me what’s the matter
if they call me, I must go.”.
Until Vienna, again. Less, than 4 weeks left from this season, finally. As I look through the window, I can see, as the lights of the street lamps are reflected on the surface of the water, paint the waves of the ship in orange color. Every small movement, every tiny moment has an aftershock, what can turn the peaceful water into cloudy. Mainly, if a ship goes against the current.
I decided to start a new chapter, to bring my blog to a higher level, from now on I’ll write all my posts in English as well. At least I gonna try it. I would like from you a kind of feedbacks, what do you think about this, how understandable it is, shall I continue it or stop trying with the English. Please leave me a note somehow.
So, as the title indicates it, I’ve been on a hiking tour, again. I do like this hiking thing. Out, in the nature, in peace, quiet, see the world in different views. Likely. For my fortune, we had a really kind CM on board, and she let me go with the group – 4 person plus myself – to the tour. They dropped us off from the ship in Mainz, after had a transport by bus to Heidelberg. The trip took around 1 hour, but went
Mainz is one of the oldest city in Germany, was established in the Celts times. Later it was one of those seven cities, where the kings and rulers could elect The Leader from them. It used to be in a brilliant financial position, thanks for the rivers – Rhine and Main -, and the used this advance many times.
There is a story about a king of Mainz, who wanted to marry his daughter to someone. For the future husband, there was one condition: he had to kill the dragon. Usual story, spoiler alert! But! The princess killed the dragon, after he had a bath in its blood under a tree, and got invulnerability. Only one thing he did not see. During the bath, a leaf from the tree fell down on his back, so after that there was a small spot, where he was vulnerable. And from these information, you can figure out the rest of the story. Another guy stepped into the picture, later on a women as well, so they had to find a solution for this. Our Hero’s wife helped her new guy with an “X” mark on her husband’s back, where the leaf left a spot. In the next battle, this other guy – I don’t remember their names exactly – did shoot Our Hero in his back, where was the mark, so he died – of course.
Also, he married the other daughter to the Hungarian king, Attila. So, this far from home as well, the Hungarians had a relationship. What a surprise!
About these stories, an opera had made by Wagner. 14 hours long opera. Can you imagine? And that’s not all. If you would like to see it, and buy a ticket, it’s better if you prepare yourself to stay in the line. Not like in the supermarkets, when they have 70% sales. That’s nothing comparing with this. Here, you have to wait 12 (!!!) YEARS (!!!!!!!!!!!) for the concert. After all, standing in a line in the supermarket is not so terrible, right?
the end we arrived to Heidelberg, and got off the bus, left the other half of the passengers there. Exactly 5 of us got off, and met with the tour guide. As he informed us, he’s name is Andreas, a retired lawyer, local citizen, and now a tour guide. He has a lot of knowledge, but really. And he lives here, in Germany, where is no speed limit on the highways. And once he tried it, big time. The unlucky – or lucky – car was a Saab, when he was in hurry to home, so he pushed the speed up to 275 km/h. I think he knew the law and the possible fees and consequences, easy like this… But that’s all about him, let’s go up to the hill. First we had to go through the river, on the lock. Underneath a cargo ship just moving up to the next level in the lock, so they have to see from the shore as well, because it’s different than from the ship.
When the ship went out from the lock, we could move toward. Andreas explained shortly, what we should expect for the next 2 hours. 100 meter elevation, asphalt-dirt-earth-rocks under our foots, then flat part with an amazing view, nature, later steps, a lot of steps downstream, so be prepared! I, as the youngest member of the group, stayed in the back, helped the slower if it was necessary, but they could keep the speed pretty good. After a while we stopped to have a look in a restaurant. He had stories about this place as well. This is one of the oldest and most famous restaurant here, the students from the local university used to come here to study, drink and for sword-fights. Whaaaaat?
Yes-yes, for sword-fights. And what kind of students were they? Mark Twain, Otto von Bismark, just to mention 2 of them. The place’s name is Hotel Hirschgasse, earlier used to be an inn, now days it’s part of a Small Luxury Hotel (SLH)-chain, what is not a small thing, as he said. He ran inside, and after a few seconds, we could enter after him. Small restaurant, wooden tables, with the scratches of the swords, in a shape of their names. Renato Antal, I offer it for you!!!
Continued our trip, another steep part came. Sometimes we stopped, to listen him, because in his age it’s not so easy, to walk upstream and speak in the same time. But nobody was upset, he shared interesting, funny stories with the audience. The road, the nature was so peaceful, clear, quiet, amazing. Everyone was taking pictures, as many as we could, you can’t come here every day. And as I experienced, it’s still a touristic place. Groups were going on a way down, on foot, or with Segway. You know, that two-wheeled balancing-machine. In quiet, in a line, slowly.
Nobody was shouting, no one was listening music, just the beautiful nature. Slowly, the surface changed from asphalt road to dirty, rocky road. Rarely you could see signs in metal poles, they preferred to paint the signs on the rocks, to indicate, which way you should go. Otherwise you can get lost easily. He warned us, we won’t make to the top, there is not enough time for that, but still we’re going to make a good distance. And when we reached the highest point of our trip, the view just came in front of us on the left hand side. Better and better spots followed each other.
I wasn’t surprised that my phone turned off – again… – because of the battery, mainly I did not put away from my hand. Andreas was talking, stopped, explained everything, what to see, which direction. As he mentioned, Heidelberg is one, if not the warmest city in Germany. The university had built as the third university in Europe, with a really funny background story. The King of Heidelberg visited the Pope in the Vatican, to ask for help and permission for the construction of the university. The Pope was good with it, if he got something in return. They agreed, and the King made a really interesting move, what a normal people never think about. He invited the Jewish people into Heidelberg, to settle down, live there, in exchange they have to pay a symbolic amount of money. It was a small amount for them, but for the King! He needed just this, and collected as much as it was enough for the Pope. After that the construction started, and that’s the story, how Heidelberg got a university from the Pope with the Jewish people’s money. Interesting.
After this, travelling was the next topic. Who travelled with who, to where, how many times, how was it. One of the guests mentioned, that they’ve travelled before with the other river ship company, but our is better. Andreas replied for this: “For me, Viking is like IKEA.”
Everyone agreed with this. Started to go down on the stairs, and again, the breath taking view of Heidelberg. Also, we could see many rare things, like a tree, which originally can be found in North-Africa and still, here it is living like this is his homeland. Date tree, palm tree, so many things.
Later we reached the city again, went across the old bridge, under the town-gate. Next to the gate, there is a statue, shows a gentleman, who really loved to live. Don’t think any bad things, no alcohol, no drugs, no gambling. But the ladies… They’re his weakest point, to put in this way. And he gave them everything, and – as a story sais – a bit more. A few dozen of children for the world. And all of them were living in his castle. Couldn’t be an easy life.
We strolled around the old-town of Heidelberg, the temple, reached the main square, with a statue in the middle – of course. As we got the information, it used to be a very important square in the old times, because the trading routes of Rome-Cologne and Paris-Prague crossed each other here, in this point. So those were busy days back in that time as well, just as now, when the whole square is full with tourists, restaurants, gardens, waiters and waitresses. The fountain is also not a usual one. The poor people had built it up, as a representation against the pressure of the rich citizens. On the men’s back part they put the head of the lion – as the king -, to represent how much they do not care about him, in their way. Andreas asked us, can we see, where is the lion’s head? Everyone was searching it, looking around, and then a lady just shouted: in his ass! That’s what I call culture.
We still had a small amount of time, so he escorted us to a local beer garden, as the deserved price for our tour. We followed him, trusted him. And how well we’ve done! In the back of the garden was a table for 6, so we sat there and ordered. Some pretzels, strictly home-made, and beers. 4 wheat beers and 2 dark, of course home-made. We’re chatting, where to go next, how is the trip so far, what’s their profession. Time passed by, and in the end we realized, that 5 minutes left to the meeting time with the bus.
Paid the bill, ran back to the bus, hop on, and we’ve been already on the way to Rudesheim. What is a more familiar place for me than Mainz, I used to run here a few times before. And! And! On one of the corners, you can find a car saloon. Ok, ok. I know, you can find almost in every second corner a saloon. But it’s not that kind of saloon. As I saw, only Italian cars on the other side of the windows. But don’t search for the brand new Fiat or Alfa Romeo. No way! Lancia Delta HF Integrale, Fiat 124 Abarth, old Maserati, already – almost in original standing. I did not have time to have a closer look on the showcase, not to go inside. Next time, for sure I’ll go there as soon as I have some free time, to see what’s there.
So, that was my day in Heidelberg, on the Philosopher’s hike tour. It was not boring, but kind of a good training. I really enjoyed it, every minutes, so I’d like to thank you again for everyone! And of course, what else can I do, just to recommend!!!!