Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Day 4-7 of our European trip ...........Heidelberg!

So with our luggage (firmly) in hand, we travelled to Heidelberg.

This was about a 4 hour drive, which I *thankfully* slept reclined back most of the way, since my husband (AKA Mario Andretti) was up to like 220 KPH (about 130 MPH.) I woke up and saw the speedometer - he had both hands on the wheel and he was really focused ........ so I sat up very slowly (I didn't want to freak him out) and said "hun, aren't you going a bit fast???????" (He said he was keeping up with traffic - traffic that was apparently only visible to him, lol!!!) He backed off slightly to about 90MPH (I mean at one point, this little Mercedes we were in was burning up - I said "should it smell like this - burning?" - and he said "oh it's just the clutch going down these hills" LOL!!!) Poor soul who gets that rental car next, we really tested what it could do! (Though I'm sure most people do while they're driving on the Autobahn!)

So we made it to Heidelberg, *fairly* uneventful (except for the fact that Sam will likely be fined hundreds of Euros for a speeding ticket because he DID caught in a speed trap where they snapped his photo. (In all fairness to Mr. Andretti ...ahem...Sam...it did go from 100kph to 70kph in about 20 feet so I think it was really a set up!)

I was laughing when Sam told me we were going to Germany and staying at the Marriott ... (I was like all the way to Germany to stay at a Marriott??) But like most Marriott's ... the service was outstanding and the hotel was beautiful. It was clean, (immaculately clean) and they were more than Americanized - the paper at the door each day was suited to your individual language (ours was English but I noticed next door to us was French, across the hall another language.) When we called lobby they spoke English right away so they must have had something system-wise that said we were Americans.

Sam had his conference for two 1/2 days so after I slept in, and Sam brought me up breakfast - fruit and pastry or croissants ........... I hopped online to get some work done so I wouldn't be overwhelmed by e-mail afterwards. One afternoon, I got a great massage at our hotel - and surprisingly it wasn't expensive, only 60 Euro an hour (about 96.00 - pretty much what we'd pay here.) We had two functions (in the evening) to attend - the first was like a welcoming ceremony and the second was this awesome buffet style American BBQ - where they grilled up steaks, shrimp, chicken, corn on the cob, veggie skewers ...etc.
Sam's company had a hospitality suite where they invited customers to come up and have drinks, snacks and play poker, etc. I was up there for awhile and it was pretty obviously that it was a "boys club" so I decided to go back to our room and get on the computer for awhile. (lol...though I will say he did bring me a cocktail or glass of wine every so often, so that was perfect!) In addition to having perfect cell phone service, we were fortunate to be able talk to the kids through Nanny Debbie's computer a couple times (and see them on her web cam) so I downloaded some photos onto our Kodak site so we could show them where we'd been so far!

...Speaking of Nanny Debbie - just to give her a few KUDOS - she's been doing a really great job over the past few months with our family. She's not only acclimated to us but she's gained a genuine LOVE for our kids that is more than we could have hoped for. She is seriously hoping to stay until the kids are in kindergarten and that is more important to us than anything (stability). She works on her "off time" and she gives her 110%. I am not sure if she reads our blogs all the way down, but I hope so because we think she's doing a GREAT job and I hope she knows how we feel about her. It is obvious that our kids love her to pieces and that - to us - is more important than anything. We want our kids to love the person who takes care of them during the days and it's clear that "Miss Debbie" is a constant and important part of their lives already. We were find her...she's definitely part of family already!

We walked around downtown Heidelberg and visited one of the Army bases that Sam ships to every week, and tour their warehouse which was pretty interesting. The little town was great - there were tons of restaurants and shops and we thought the people were extremely friendly. It's totally livable....malls, shopping, beautiful houses and scenery ... lol!

Here's some pictures from our trip. By the way - before I went to Europe - and I know this can't be just me who has thought this, but I had envisioned the "Autobahn" to be this raised highway (one highway) that you got on and it was like a one way from here to there type of highway (no exits on / off.) Don't ask me where I conjured up this vision, but the Autobahn is nothing more than a highway that looks like I95 in better condition for the most part. There is congestion, road construction, exits on/off, merges, yields, etc. I just thought you got on, got to go as fast as you wanted and then you got off somewhere at the end. Funny how you envision one thing and it's completely something else. Oh, and the "Autobahn" is like every highway. A5, A7, A8 - they're all Autobahn. Funny! Did anyone else think that or is it just me? :)

I believe this is called the Nekkar River (Someone correct me if I'm wrong)
This was such a pretty bridge, with the arches and the boats ...

The Castle in Heidelberg...very beautiful. Unfortunately, we didn't take the tour.

The downtown part of Heidelberg ... it was really great. There was even a modern mall ... we should have stopped here first after the airline lost our luggage!

The houses along this river were so gorgeous.....and what a view!

After 3 days in Heidelberg, we packed up and said Good-bye to Germany ... and headed to France. We'll see you there! ..........


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