Sunday, January 24, 2010

Doners A Plenty

I had never even heard of Heidelberg before this trip. I think Heidelberg should be most famous for its amazing Doners. I must say that I was pleasantly surprised with this little gem of Germany. Its the kind of place I would live...if it had a beach.
A big little university town with some pretty ancient history. I've only read about castles that had moats and boobie traps, I thought they were all a myth, but we got to see one up close and personal. What's even crazier is that the moat was not only used to protect the castle but provided lasting entertainment for the royal residents. The moat housed lions and bears who would fight some unfortunate soul and provide the evening's entertainment. Apparently the lions did not cope well with the German winters and were later replaced with bears, probably to the dismay of the king. We all know people lion wrestling is far more entertaining that bear wrestling.

One myth that goes along the with castle is related to a shoe imprint in one of the back courtyards. It is said that a queen living there had a secret lover and one day the king found them together and the lover fled out the window and left his shoe print on the walk way. If men go there and their foot fits, they are supposed to be good lovers.
The university is one of the oldest in Europe, I think it rivals the Jagiellonian in Krakow. There is every faculty except engineering and it produced many Nobel Prize winners. The most striking aspect of the university is the student jail. A museum today it was once used to lock students away for minor transgressions and truancy. As I understood it time spent there was not totally unpleasant and usually did not last for very long. The reason there was a student jail was because the university was self governing.
The town also boasts the biggest wine barrel. It can hold around 228,000 litres of wine!
The absolute best part of Heidelberg and of the trip was on our very last night we all went out for a beer to cheers to a great time and in the bar was a group of choir singers. We were being rowdy and all of a sudden they start singing for us! They must have sang at least 5-6 songs and even gave our professor a copy of their CD. It was a perfect ending.

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