Day 4.5: Still Monday, March 23
I forgot to mention that after sticking our fingers in the Rhine, we went back to the train station, got our stuff out of the locker there, and got a train to Heidelberg. From there we got on a bus that got us closer to the hostel we were planning on staying at. It took us a while to find because of how the streets are there and the directions we got at the Information dest at the train station were not perfect. But we got there eventually and got a room. Our room was in a different building though, so we had to go find it too which took a while. We dumped our stuff off and then went and found someplace to eat. It was called Loewen Braeu, and was pretty much empty. But it turned out to be tasty, as would prove to be the pattern in Germany. We would somehow find the emptiest restaurants and they would have really tasty food. Dunno what's up with that. Also, this was the day it started raining. Just started as we were leaving Mainz, and continued to rain on and off for most of the rest of the time we were in Germany.
Day 5: Tuesday, March 24
We had wanted to go to this little town, Neckarsteinach, thats a little ways outside of Heidelberg, and we decided that if it was nice Tuesday we'd go Tuesday, otherwise we'd go Wednesday. Well, Tuesday morning, we got up, went and got pretzels for breakfast, and then went to the train station to get directions. By the time we got to the train station, it was hailing out. HAILING. So the logical decision was to hop on the bus that the lady at Information told us to take and go. Our logic was, hey, the bus is here, let's get on it! Also, Neckarsteinach is in the direction where the sky isn't as icky! So we went. Now, the reason we wanted to go was because there were 4 castles in a row there. Two were privately owned, so we couldn't go look at them, although we did walk by them to get to the two ruined ones. (Private castles tend to be in one piece with people still living in them.) The two ruined ones were much smaller than Schloss Reinfels (spelling??) but they were still fun, mostly because they were falling down but still had towers you could go up and look out. Also, the weather was a lot clearer and not hailing in Neckarsteinach, so it was a good thing we decided to go. Worst that happened was that it would sprinkle for a couple minutes every now and then, but it wasn't that bad. When we were finished crawling around the castles, we tried looking for someplace to have lunch in Neckarsteinach, but everywhere was closed or not what we wanted to eat/pay. So we got a train back to Heidelberg, and ended up getting lunch...somewhere. I don't really remember. After that we wandered around for a while, and eventually went up to the castle in Heidelberg to look around the gardens there. It was really cold and rainy though, so we left earlier than we wanted. We had originally planned on staying till it got dark and the city lit up, since the gardens are kind of above the city so you can see it all, but that didn't really work out because of how cold it was.
Jake says that I'm really not telling anyone anything, since I don't remember the names of places and since I'm not really saying what I think of them. I disagree. There is enough information in here that if you're interested in going somewhere I mentioned, that you could google and find it. Also, my opinions tend to be attached to pictures more than to words when I'm recounting things, so I guess you'll have to wait for pictures to see what I thought of specific things. Annnyway....
Day 6: Wednesday, March 25
We had planned to wake up at 8 to get up to the castle and do it and the rest of Heidelberg things so that we could finish everything before we had to check out of the hostel at 11. The waking up worked good, but it was more or less pouring when we got up. We decided to get some pretzels in the hope it would slow down a bit, but it didn't. So we walked up to the castle in the rain anyway. I think it would have been more impressive if they would let you in more than the courtyard and one room. But, they did have the world's largest wine cask or something. It was actually kind of funny, you walk in, and theres a big one sitting there, and you're like, wow, that's pretty big. Then you walk around to the back side of it, and see this other room that is FULL OF A CASK. You could fit a couple elephants in there and they'd be comfortable. Other than that, you could see the courtyard, and a little bit of the outside that was kinda ruined. There was a museum in there, but it didn't open until 10 and we didn't want to stick around in the rain for an hour. So we left early, and went and had lunch at this restaurant that was all set up like a tournament inside, and the food was pretty good too. After that we went back and got our stuff and went and got a train to Freiberg. On the train, I ended up falling asleep and when I woke up I dropped my mp3 player and it broke. *sad face* Anyway, we took a tram to close to the hostel, went in, and they only had a room for one night, and we wanted to stay for two, so the guy called the other hostel and got us a room there for the next night. That hostel was called Black Forest Backpackers, and they had weird showers. Worse even than freshman dorm showers. They were nifty in theory, but in practice were just plain creepy. Basically, its a giant metal cylinder, with a door with a window in it. So, unless you are VERY careful, anyone can see inside. Yes, there was a guys shower room and a girls shower room, but still... I lucked out, no one came in while I was showering, but it was definately one of the quickest showers I've taken. Apart from that it was a very nice hostel. They had internet for cheapish. After dropping our stuff, we wandered around and got dinner. Again, we ended up in a nearly empty restaurant. Food was pretty good, I had swabian raviolli which is a couple of raviollis in tasty soup... although it's really more like broth than soup. But it was good. The guy there stared at us the whole time we were eating, which was kinda creepy. Freiberg is pretty neat, and I bet it'd be even better when it's not rainy. They have these gutters running through the city that they used to use to put out fires. Ask Jake about them, he knows more than I do since he's been there before.
Day 7: Thursday, March 26
Adam's handy dandy book said that there was a little town near Freiberg that was cool, called Triberg. By this point we had pretty much resigned ourselves to the rain no matter where we went, so we just decided to go on Thursday because it was more convenient since we had to switch hostels, this way we could just drop our stuff in a locker at the train station and then pick it up later. So we catch our train and get to Triberg. Now, I should probably tell you that Jake and I had figured that since we'd be going south and that time was moving foreward, that it would be getting warmer the whole time we were gone, so we didn't bring anything warmer than hoodies and rain coats. On the train, we keep seeing snow, and by the time we get to Triberg, the snow is at least a foot deep. But at least it's not raining (yet). So we wander around, and go look at the waterfall there, which is the tallest one in Germany I think. But it was snowy and the path was closed for the winter, so we only got to go up a little bit. Needless to say, our belief that it would be warm also meant that we just wore sneakers. So our feet were wet. Luckily, just across the street was a museum with some history of the Black Forest, so we went in there for a while to warm up and dry off a little bit. After that, we ended up going to a cuckoo clock store, where I got a cuckoo clock and some other stuff. Then we walked back to the train station and got a train back to Freiberg, picked up our luggage, got a tram to the hostel, another Jugendherberge. This one was definately one of the nicer hostels we stayed in, big-ish room, bathroom, breakfast.... basically it was just really nice. Other places gave breakfast, but this was one of the better ones, and I hadn't been expecting the bathroom. Anyway, it was here I figured out that my mp3 player was dead, I had thought it was just the battery, but when I tried charging it it made broken noises. For dinner, we went out and wandered around Freiberg until we finally ended up at an imbiss (fast food place), where we got pizza. Then we went back to the hostel and I reorganzied my stuff so it'd all fit.
Might be all for today.... we'll see, I might finish Freiberg and Munich up tonight as well..