Sigh…

Today, thanks to social media, we were introduced to this video of our last home, Heidelberg, Germany.

In the middle of the most phenomenal city, chock full of history and character, was a US military community, established after World War II.  That community was why we were there.

But Heidelberg, and the surrounding Germany communities and people, were what made it home for the Goddess and I.

Here is the video.  Goddess and I cannot get through it with a dry eye.  We miss the place and our friends, nay, our family, there that much.

If you don’t watch the video, that’s understandable.  Especially if you don’t have that personal connection.

But trust me, when these are the views on your weekly Monday morning run, the place grows on you.

Heidelberg Dusting, Heidelberg, Germany
Altebrucke Morning, Heidelberg, Germany

To have been lucky enough to live in a town full of history filled with the Hohenstaufen’s, Martin Luther and the Reformation, as well as Mark Twain and the 150 years since, was nothing but a blessing for us.

Visit if you can.

Snowy Königstuhl

As I mentioned yesterday, winter showed its face a bit earlier than normal this year.

It was a lovely drive through the highlands of the Rhineland Pfalz, enjoying the snowy carpet.  But we also knew that it would disappear quickly as we dropped down into the Rhine River valley.  And it did.

But the big surprise was, as we crossed the valley and approached Heidelberg, the snowline had dropped low enough that the Odenwald had a nice cap on it too.

That quickly changed our plans.  Actually, I changed our plans and Goddess was gracious enough to go along with it.  Which meant that she dropped me off while she ran the errands solo, then came back to collect me after sunset.

I’m thankful she did.

Snowy Königstuhl

And if you click on the image, it will take you to a page where you can go back and look at the different faces of this scene.

I find the spot quite interesting, changing character with the changing light.

And changing characters.

So is it any wonder that during my weekly run up and along this hill I always have to stop and walk this stretch ?

After the Glüwein’s gone…

Oh, the humanity!”

OK, maybe not on that scale, but it’s a tragedy when you’re hoping for one last cup before headed home, only to discover that they’ve shut down the Weinachtsmarkt.

But then again, that’s the best time to get some photos, especially when they turn off the glaring lights on the Käthe Wohlfahrt pyramid, which just hours before was lit so bright that it overwhelmed the surroundings and made for horrible photos.

The nice thing about long exposures (20 seconds in this case) is that you really do not get a feel for how hard it was snowing at this time.

And that was before it really started coming down.  We woke up to 4+ inches on the ground the next morning.

Wow!

It still amazes me that I get paid to live here.

With thousands of years of history (although what you see in the image is since the 12th century AD), there’s always something new to learn and experience.  All you have to do is turn down an alley.

From left to right – the Heidelbergschlöss (Heidelberg Castle) up on the hill; the gateway to the Alte Brücke (Old Bridge), which I was standing on; then the Heiliggeistkirche (Holy Ghost Church, or Church of the Holy Spirit) just behind.

Ornaments

Whenever we go to a Weinachtsmarkt, Goddess and I try to look for the unique.

Every market is filled with shops.  Many of them are the same, from market to market to market.  The same suppliers, often the same people.  Selling the same-ol’, same-ol’.

But not always.

In Vienna it was a wonderful handmade, hand-painted globe.  “Made by a young local artist”, said the booth worker, who was completely set aback when I replied “I only purchase work from old, foreign artists”.  Then we had a good laugh as I forked over the Euro.

In Speyer, it was the same-ol’.

In Bad Wimpfen it was a hand-crafted glass hummingbird.

And while waiting for the shop owner to wrap our purchase, this guy kept catching my eye.

Tonight we’ll explore the Heidelberg weinachtsmarkt.  Crazy packed during the weekend, we made a glancing blow last Thursday and decided that we’d visit again on a weeknight.

When there’s still room to move.

I’m sure I’ll make a picture or two there.

Faded Colors

While out searching for fall color to shoot, we went to a nearby German War Memorial.  And found something new.

Mind you, this is a memorial that I run through usually once a week.

Normally the run keeps us to the main path, so there’s little exploration.  But while walking slowing along the memorial, Goddess and I spied a small building tucked away in the bushes off to the side.  So we had a look.

Turns out that the building, which is actually a small circular, roofless memorial, is a gateway to a cemetery laid out in the forest.  This was quite a surprise, considering that for the past year and a half, I had run past just yards away and never noticed.

While all of the remains in the main memorial grounds are German veterans of World War I, this cemetery was solely for World War II veterans.  Compared to the WWI gravestones, which are laid out in orderly lines in long rows, this WWII grounds had pairs of crosses scattered about the grounds facing in different directions.  But the crosses weren’t the gravesites, as they did not have any names or dates or unit designations on them.  They were just there.

Instead, the head stones were nothing more than bricks with the veteran’s name and dates.  Other bricks had unit designations, presumably to mark where members of that unit were buried.

So while we set out to find some color (there was some), instead we found a place to reflect.

Just a few feet off the beaten path.

So while we did find color, it just wasn’t appropriate for these images.