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Published: April 27th 2019
Sadly, the stretch of glorious weather we've enjoyed so far came to an abrupt end, as we awakened yesterday morning to dreary skies, intermittent light rain, and much cooler temperatures (the high today just barely reached 60-degrees).
On account of the inclement weather, we decided to rest most of the day, but did venture out amid the sprinkles to partake of a fabulous lunch at a quaint hotel and restaurant, named the Hackteufel ("-teufel" = "devil" in German), located on the Steingasse, the tiny street leading to the Old Bridge.
The Altstadt section of Heidelberg was mostly deserted today, compared to the throngs of people we've experienced since our arrival, and the tables, chairs and umbrellas along the popular Steingasse were nowhere to be seen. But a fair number of diners had already filled the Hackteufel dining area by the time we arrived at this warm and cozy place around 1 o'clock. After poring over the bi-lingual menus for a few minutes, Dee decided on a German version of ravioli, while I've been dying to try fresh asparagus, which is a German favorite this time of year.
"Spargel", the German word for asparagus, is so popular here that
we've seen it advertised virtually everywhere - on menus, outdoor sandwich boards, and at grocery stores. White asparagus seems to be the favorite variety here, as we've seen none of the green asparagus we're accustomed to back home.
I ordered a piping hot bowl of asparagus soup, which was absolutely delicious (best I've ever slurped), and followed it with veal schnitzel, potatoes and more asparagus served with Hollandaise sauce.
As we've commented already, the portions here are typically gargantuan in size, easily capable of feeding two people by our standards! We struggled mightily to devour our meals, but fell a bit short, so the pleasant waitress offered to pack the rest in a bag for us to take home. After we waddled from the restaurant, Dee did some browsing at a nearby specialty shop, pricing tablecloths and other linen items, and then made a brief stop at the grocery store on our way back to the apartment.
Today (Saturday) the weather was pretty much a carbon copy of yesterday, with periods of light rain and cool temperatures. I talked Dee into making a return visit to the Hackteufel, where we ate lunch yesterday, so I could have
more of the asparagus soup; today I complemented the soup with some tasty snails in garlic butter. Dee opted for a rather unique combination: a bowl of potato soup with slices of wurst, camembert cheese dip, red radishes and a Bavarian pretzel! Everything was delicious, and our waitress was as nice as could be, despite the fact that the restaurant was soon slammed to capacity with hungry patrons.
After lunch we walked a few blocks to visit a part of the famous Heidelberg University, specifically the University Museum housed in a building constructed between 1712 and 1728. Heidelberg University is a public research university founded in 1386, and is Germany's oldest university. Co-educational since 1899, the university consists of twelve faculties and offers degree programs at undergraduate, graduate and postdoctoral levels in some 100 disciplines. With a student body of about 30,000 students, the university is spread over three major campuses: the humanities are predominantly located in Heidelberg's Old Town, the natural sciences and medicine in the Neuenheimer Feld quarter, and the social sciences within the inner-city suburb of Bergheim.
The museum offers an interesting set of exhibits covering the history of the university's early years (through 1803),
then into the age of romanticism, and finally the 20th-century, including the tragic years of Hitler's Third Reich. Visitors are also allowed to walk through several rooms of the so-called Student Prison, where students were "incarcerated" for carousing or committing other offenses against the public order.
Life in these prison rooms (or cells) was apparently not that harsh, and by all appearances they spent most of their time decorating the walls with graffiti! Our last stop on the museum tour was the Great Hall, a magnificent neo-Renaissance space that continues to serve as the venue for special university events, such as graduation ceremonies.
Following our museum tour we headed back toward the Marktplatz, taking a quick peek inside a Jesuit Church, before Dee stopped to purchase some tablecloths at a shop on Hauptstrasse. After a gelato tasting at Amerino's, we finished our afternoon at Casa del Caffe, where we sipped our gins and tonic at an outside table with raindrops pelting our table's umbrella. Later, after reaching home, Chef Dee prepared a tasty goulash dish for supper---how she puts meals like this together, on the road and in unfamiliar kitchens, is a testament to her skill and fortitude! Dee's Comments:
Yesterday, I kept singing to myself, rain, rain, go away, so Mitch and Dee can play! We have been blessed so far on this trip as far as weather's concerned, so it's O.K. if we take a break, since Mitch's back muscles need to heal some more before our journey to Copenhagen next week.
Had a great morning, taking it easy, watching some BBC on TV, then ventured out in the rain for some lunch at a lovely little place (Hackteufel), where the food was great, but way too much for us to handle! A friendly Italian couple from Genoa, probably our age, sat next to us, and we tried to communicate with them. Traveling is so nice when you meet new friends!
More rain when we awakened today, but we soldiered on at noon through the gloom and chilly temperatures, with a bit of wind as well. I'm laughing at myself, thinking of all the days we've had near 80-degrees, so I sent some heavier things home with Danielle---now the temps in Copenhagen look to be pretty chilly for our upcoming visit, so wish I'd kept the heavier clothing after all---LOL! I'll just have
to smile, and then walk around wearing two tops.
We stopped at the same restaurant for another great, but less filling, lunch. Loved the pretzel, radishes and cheese I ordered. Then off to the museum, which was quite interesting, plus 42 stairs up/42 stairs down to tour the Student Prison (I managed to survive!). The streets were surprisingly packed with people, despite the rain; stopped for some gins and tonic before returning home to strip-off our wet clothing and dry out!
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