|Me @ Old Town Bridge|
I got to see Old Town Heidelberg, walk across Old Town Bridge over the Neckar River, see the Heidelberg Castle, and Thingstätte. You can see the attached pictures, but honestly unless you're there in person it's kind of hard to describe the beauty in some of the European architecture. I did wonder about the castle though... it sits about 1/3 of the way up a 'small mountain' (there was debate as to whether the mountain was a 'hill' or a 'mountain,' so I thought I'd settle with 'small mountain'). I thought castles were supposed to sit higher up on 'small mountains' so they could see when armies were coming to attack. If I were to attack this castle, according to the way this castle sat I'd come from the back side of the 'small mountain' and fire down at it. Position-wise, I did not like this castle (these are the kinds of thoughts I have time to think about over here).
Thingstätte was probably the most interesting thing I got to see in Heidelberg. Thingstätte is an amphitheater that was built during WW2 and sat 8,000 people who came to listen to Nazi speeches. It was a hike to get to from where we parked (which happened to be maybe 100 meters (?) away); I can't imagine climbing all the way up the 'small mountain' to hear Nazi propaganda. For an old structure it was amazing how well you could hear someone 'on stage' from one of the highest seats (we tested it out). As I sat in one of the seats I wondered who had sat in that seat 75 years ago, and really what kind of person they might have been. Did they REALLY believe the things they heard there and TRULY buy into what was happening? I think it's a good thing these types of structures still exist, they serve as a reminder to be skeptical of what propaganda we receive today, and personally reminded me of my own free will to be the kind of person I strive to be daily.
We got to do a couple other fun things, I carved a pumpkin (which I hadn't done since I was twelve, and you can tell - I also bet you can guess which one was mine without me telling you), watched NFL football on - get this - A TELEVISION!, roasted pumpkin seeds (yummy!), I had a Radler (beer with German lemonade/soda), watched a scary movie in the spirit of Halloween, and sat down at a dinner table with other people and a spread of cheese and meat.
One more thing I saw that caught my attention: on the train on the way back to Nyon three uniformed men were walking up and down the aisles (I don't know why authority figures make me nervous, but I always take notice of them). They were looking around at the people and stopped in front of two men who honestly, looked like maybe they could have been Turkish (point blank: they didn't look like the other Germans I'd been around all week). Anyways, the uniformed men asked them, and only them, for their passports. Hell, I'm not even really sure if I'm supposed to be travelling outside Switzerland, but as we would say in the Race Relations class I took in Fall '08, I can 'pass' as a European. I'm not trying to paint Germany in a bad light, because I've seen racial profiling more times than I can count at home and in more disrespectful ways, I just think it's important to recognize these kinds of things.