This morning we said auf wiedersehen to Kris, Nat, and Frankfurt and were off for our first day of travelling. We left Frankfurt around 0900 and after riding the ICE and an S-Bahn (two different kinds of trains) we arrived in Heidelberg. Heidelberg is in the Rhine Neckar region and the main reason we wanted to go here was to see Heidelberg castle (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Heidelberg_Castle). I should probably mention that Ryan, after partying last night, had a pretty nasty hangover. The train didn't make it any better, but still, we were up and ready to explore a new city. We walked through Heidelberg's old town which felt like we were in a theme park. Somewhere which was constructed to look like the perfect German town....only we were actually in one. The streets were all individual bricks in various patterns with sausage stands and buskers playing accordion on the street. When we arrived at the castle, we took the funicular, a train like thing on the side of a mountain, to get to the entrance. It was on this excursion that I realized two really big problems I have with Germany
1. 1. They do not believe in water fountains
In Germany, the customary thing to drink is sparkling water. When I go somewhere asking for Leitungswasser (tap water) they always give me a weird look. And then when we want to fill our water bottles, there are no fountains to do so!
2. 2. You have to PAY to use the toilets!!!
I PEE SO MUCH! I have had to hold my bladder until it is about to burst because I refuse to pay 0.5 euro to pee. I have gave in a few time and Ryan even had to use a 0.7 euro bathroom when his stomach erupted after a night of drinking but I prefer to find the hidden free ones.
After spending the afternoon in Heidelberg, we were back on the train and off to Trier - our next stop where we will be staying with another CS host. I actually really enjoyed the train. We were going through the Nekar valley which holds hundreds of vinyardes. On one side, we had a river view and the other, large mountains whose sides were covered with rows and rows of grape vines. Also, atop almost ever hill was a castle. Some looked old and broken, but others proudly donned flags and were very well maintained. It was quite the ride.