Friday, 9.15.00 – Day of rest in Hirschhorn (and Heidelberg), Germany

What a relief to not have to set the alarm this morning, and to not have to get on the bike for another day of riding. Much as we love to ride our bicycles, a day off is nice. Of course, sleeping in for us is 7:00 AM instead of 6:00 AM. We’re ready for today’s exciting activity. Bring it on!

We really enjoyed the Schloss (castle) hotel in Hirschhorn. It is on top of a hill, with an outstanding view of the town, the Neckar River and the surrounding green-forested hills. There is a path into town, which includes 243 steps from our room to the village (plus some steep cobblestone paths between sets of stairs.) I know, we shouldn’t be counting the steps, but it was something to do.

       

We took the train into Heidelberg today and covered the "mile" of stores in the pedestrian area (the old part of town). We burned out very quickly from the shopping experience, and decide to hike up to the Heidelberg Castle. The enormity of the castle and its grounds was overwhelming. We ended up spending hours touring around. It’s hard to imagine what it must have been like to live there in its heyday.

       

       

After hiking back to town, we decided to return to Hirschhorn. We felt very confident of our train and track choice, since one of the few German-speaking riders had joined us. On the train, however, Judith kept saying, "I don’t remember any of these stations, and why can’t we see the walled city above the town?" "Shouldn’t we be able to see our castle?" "Where’s the town of three castles?"

Well, the train finally came to the end of the line and we discovered that we were in the middle of nowhere, and it would be an hour before we could return to Heidelberg. So, we ate ice cream. Ben, the German-speaking man who had accompanied us, took advantage of the situation. He asked the locals where to find a bike store, and ended up with a great new racing jersey. He remarked later, "I always do my shopping in Sinsheim." Sure, Ben…

We finally arrived in Hirschhorn just in time to eat dinner. As we dined, some of the folks in our group stopped by and asked about our day. We related the rail story. The other riders are looking forward to hearing about our escapades now. Why isn’t anyone else getting lost?