April 15th, 2010: Darmstadt
We spent a few hours on our first day in Germany wandering about Damstadt. Andrew spent 3 weeks in this town a few years ago in preparation for a parabolic flight, so he had a few acquaintances who go to the University there. We briefly met up with our host, a PhD student at the University, then busied ourselves for the next couple of hours exploring the city (our arrival actually interrupted a meeting our host was involved in, and then he had to mark exams). We visited the city's botanical gardens, which Andrew enjoyed very much when he stayed in Darmstadt, then ambled on along the streets . We saw some old castle ruins, and also happened by the library.
|Ruins in Darmstadt|
|Me, in front of the library in Darmstadt|
April 16th, 2010: Heidelberg
This day didn't start until 11:15 a.m. I'm not sure sure how I managed to sleep in that long, but I was relieved to have done so, as I think it helped minimize the jet leg. This late sleep-in actually worked out well as our host had to work that morning, and wasn't free until early that afternoon anyway. Once we had eaten breakfast and showered, we headed out to pick up our host at his office, then continued on to Heidelberg. Lunch was at a local diner called, Mandy's. It was delicious and extremely filling, even though I just had a burger and a drink (plus a few fries off of Andrew's plate).
|Andrew and I at one of the bridges in Heidelberg, the castle can be seen in the background|
April 17th, 2010: Eich
After an enjoyable breakfast of bread and spreads (I love Nutella), we headed out for Eich, the home town of our host. The drive to Eich took approximately 30 minutes. When we arrived we picked up bicycles from our host's parent's place then pedaled off into the German countryside. The sky was blue, with little to no clouds, and although a little cool, the weather made a lovely day for bike riding. Our route took us along the Rhine, on paths made specifically for bikers and walkers. We biked for some time, continuing on to one of the nearby (and rival) towns before returning to Eich. I wish Canada had paths like this in the countryside--I could spent hours biking without interruption. It would be wonderful.
|Motorcycles in Eich|
|Vineyards near Eich|
April 19th, 2010: Worms
Sunday actually started out with a run in the country side around Eich, then a football game (i.e. North American soccer), which our host was playing in. Unfortunately the Eich team lost 4-3 after a hard fought battle in the blazing sun. After the game we drove to Worms, one of the oldest cities in Germany, dating back to Roman times. It seemed like there was a lot of Jewish history in Worms, as it included a synagogue built in the 11th century, and oldest Jewish cemetery in Germany. The cemetery was particularly enchanting and I wish I could have spent more time there. We also briefly visited a huge Catholic cathedral, which began construction in the 12th century.
|The Jewish cemetery in Worms|
|Ice cream in Worms|
April 19th, 2010: Mainz
Our last full day in Germany was a lazy one. Andrew and I got up a little after 8:00 a.m. then went for a run along the Rhine. We grabbed some fresh pastries for breakfast on our way back to our host's apartment--they were delicious. We took our time having breakfast and getting ourselves ready for the day, not heading out again until almost noon. Today was the warmest day we've had so far, so I was able to go out without a jacket and had to apply sun screen. We spent most of our day ambling through the stores in the city centre of Mainz. Andrew purchased a pair of white shoes to go with his white suit, and I purchased a couple of scarves.
We enjoyed lunch on the patio of a lovely restaurant, purposefully taking our time and enjoying the sunshine. We each ordered a pint of dark beer, and after muddling over the menu (printed in German, naturally) we ordered two delicious meals. I had pasta in a cream sauce made from truffles, while Andrew had spargle soup (we think it's just white asparagus...although we're not too sure) and a chicken sandwich with delicious potato wedges. Once we had spent enough time resting and enjoying ourselves we ventured into the Mainz cathedral, not quite as big as the one in Worms, but definitely a sizable building. Afterward we continued to tour through the shops for the rest of the afternoon until we both acknowledged we were tired and needed to rest our feet.
Tomorrow we head for Switzerland.