Hitch to the Hike Part 2
At the rest stop’s kiosk I interrupted two men leisurely enjoying a cup of coffee. They were on their way to Stuttgart on a business trip with two other guys in a company rented van. Heidelberg is on the way to Stuttgart and the van’s back bench was vacant. Score.
They were nice guys. Real interested in what we were getting up to and a little worried about us too. “If my daughter was out hitchhiking…” They drove quite a detour for us as to drop us off directly in Heidelberg.
As Kaija was getting in touch with our CouchHost Christina I observed a curly-haired, grinning, guitar carrying boy bop about the station. I caught his eye too, he came over and his grin became even bigger. He was in Heidelberg for a jam session. He invited us to join but we already had plans with Christina. His name was Felix and he studied business – but for non-profit, culture advancing businesses. He couldn’t contain his excitement for his studies as he was talking about it.
Then his friend arrived to pick him up. We had to catch our tram. It started raining. The rain was replaced with a rainbow. It looked majestic with the densely tree-populated mountains that envelop Heidelberg as its backdrop. Beautiful but distracting – we were on the wrong tram.
That’s when traveling in your own country comes in handy – no language barrier and the public transport system is familiar. We got to Christina’s stop where she picked us up and we went to her place. After some food and alcohol infused tea (I had brought raspberry flavoured schnapps. It was meant for keeping us warm incase we found ourselves sleeping outdoors) we went into central Heidelberg.
It was already dark when we walked down Germany’s longest pedestrian-only shopping street. It just went on and on and on. Every building was an “altbau” (very old, beautiful and intricate buildings) and with every left or right head turn I could look down a narrow side street that led to one of those towering, tree-filled mountains. Near the end of the road, past a church and the city hall was the castle we had been told about. I imagined it to be miles away, a tiny speck on top of a mountain but the castle was practically leaning onto the city. It was so close and well lit by a warm, golden glow that you could see the details of its run-down and cracked exterior. Christina promised that she would take us to the castle the next day.
We met up with her friend for a couple of pints. It was a Wednesday night and the city was dead. Heidelberg, a city with a large student body, seemed dead with most its students being at home for the holidays. We got some 1 Euro Koelsch (type of beer) and headed home.