October 18, 2018

Heidelberg

My first time in Germany...the fatherland although my fathers came from Russia...my first time in Heidelberg...elegant hotel with delicious breakfast...boat cruise right on time with the utmost German precision...hurry and get on board the lady says politely...must keep on schedule...I like that...now riding a tour boat on the beautiful Rhine River...sitting at a small table basking in the late summer breeze and sipping tasty German beer...enjoying the cruise...what’s that, a small castle?...no wait, there’s a train coming through it...it’s a tunnel...wasn’t expecting that...way cool...a few more tunnels along the journey..some beautiful mountainside homes that I want to own and become a recluse in...a bombed out castle...a few of the older men on board discussing their wartime experiences, but they don’t look old enough to have been around for the big one, WWII...I didn’t know General Patton died at the university hospital here in 1945 after a jeep accident...evening at a traditional style restaurant...more beer, delicious sauerbraten, spaetzle, more beer, homemade bread, mousse, more beer...a couple of American guys debating about which lagers are the best...I just drink...before Heidelberg, it was a bus ride and a walk in the Black Forest...Horst Jankowski, where are you?...there he is on my iPhone and I listen to the song with my earbuds as I walk and smile to myself...cuckoo clocks cuckooing, ticking and tocking and being handmade in the shops I venture into by older men with the utmost care...and rich Black Forest cake in town with some coffee that I enjoy served by middle aged German women in delightful hostess dresses...a picturesque farmhouse with bales of hay sitting quietly in front of it...silent golden rolls which look as though they could be from Iowa, Indiana, or some other mid-west state...after dinner, a leisurely walk through town...people at bars sitting outside transfixed to the television machine and watching World Cup games on large screens...I being a typical American, have no interest and keep walking...downtown now...all the shops are closed, the bicycle shop that I surmise must be a pretty busy place during the daytime, the pastry shop with German delicacies...but at this hour, only the sidewalk cafes and bars are open and I hear the occasional cheers and shouts in the distance as the locals watch their beloved soccer...as for me, I find a nice spot to sit on a park bench for a while and watch the world go by from a different perspective than normal...people riding by on bicycles, in cars, taxis...some walking by...maybe tourists like me...three and a half hours from here, Sergeant Alvin York (then a Corporal) captured 132 German troops during a World War I battle practically by himself...but now’s no time to think of past wars, terrible conflicts, and hostilities...I walk over to the outdoor bar and sit down and point to a picture of a large glass of beer on the menu...the waitress smiles and says “you would like a beer?” in practically perfect English…it amazes me how well English is spoken by so many In Europe)...I smile back and say “Ya!”...and we share a laugh...the old days weren’t always better.