–> Morning fog –> Afternoon mostly sunny – high temp 54ºF
The previous evening, Karen had set the intention with the boys that our second full day in Heidelberg get started a little earlier than the “lunchtime” starts we had been getting. The intention was to go visit Thingstätte and then be back in the afternoon in time to watch the candy man make candy. Morning idleness and afternoon activity was the norm for the boys at this point of the trip, and it was about this point of the trip that I had made my peace with that.
On this day Karen noticed the candy man in the candy store across from our apartment was making candy early (well in the 9:00am hour) so she rallied the boys and they all headed down to watch. I peeked from our apartment window just as Karen pointed out the candy man where were were staying… they all looked up and the candy man waved at me with a big smile on his face.
I left the apartment for a bit and walked around. The weather was very gray and a litle bit of drizzle fell. It seemed to me that this would be pretty miserable Thingstätte hike weather. The higher we would hike, the grayer, wetter, and colder it would get. When I got back to the candy shop I shared that with Karen and we mentioned it to the boys. Aidan was disappointed, Dylan was not. I told Aidan we’d see how things looked in the afternoon, that the weather could improve and the hike could occur.
After the candy making watching had ended (after what seemed like more than an hour), the boys returned to the apartment and Karen and I went to explore town some more and grab some lunch. We ate ate a burger place and was served by a very soft spoken german girl with a very mellow demeanor. I mention this because it stuck out to me. The squatted down next to us to take our order, and as we were ordering, Karen asked her to please be patient because she wanted to order in German. When Karen started saying parts of her item in english, the girl softly said, “In German” prompting Karen to complete her order as she intended.
After lunch we decided to explore the other churches in the proximity, Peterkirche (St. Peters Church), and the Jesuit Church. All of the churches we and chapels we had been visiting were impressive, but the Jesuit Church seemed very opulent… maybe because of the white.
The weather had cleared to partly cloudy skies and a pleasant temperature, so when we returned to our apartment we discussed our afternoon outing to Thingstätte. Aidan was excited, Dylan was not. Karen told Dylan that we wanted to show them the pathway that we had walked the day before up to Philosophenweg, but that if he didn’t want to go all the way, Karen would stop and return with him while Aidan and I continued.
When we got to Philosophenweg, Dylan said he was done, and ready to go back. At this point, there was some minor drama (compared to previous days). Karen thought she would be fine missing Thingstätte, but at this point she realized she was going t be disappointed. However she kept her word, and Aidan and I went on while she stayed with Dylan. I had read reviews on Trip Advisor that talked about the hike, and they mentioned it was quite a trek, but since we are a hiking family, I didn’t think to would be too bad… well it was QUITE a trek… like Devil’s Slide type of trek. I forgot to track it on the way up, but I did it on the way down, and found that one way it was 2.34 miles to the apartment, with an elevation change of 900 feet. Aidan and I commented on how it was a little more than we expected, but neither one of us ever complained or mentioned stopping. It was nice to spend that time with him :-). We found an odd structure that we could climb up via an inside staircase… it looked like a giant bowl on top with what looked like a pipe in the center. We have no idea what it was for, but I speculate that it was a giant fire bowl for some purpose unbeknownst to us.
We also got some good pics along the way.
When we finally reached the top, we first found and explored the ruins of a monastery that was built in the 11th century… 1054 to be exact. The monastery tower, which looked like a giant rook from chess, was open and had a staircase, so we climbed it.
After the monastery ruins, we continued the short way to our goal, Thingstätte. It sort of loomed at us out of the forest. We approached from the stage end. Aidan walked through first, but I paused to capture this for Karen’s sake.
The place was pretty surreal, and the acoustics from the stage were bizarre. I could easily hear people up in the stands who were talking in a normal tone, and the sound of footsteps when people walked up and down the stairs was as if they were stepping on gravel right next to me. The shape was somewhat parabolic which created this amplified sound affect towards the stage, but the opposite was not true. I expected the stage area to amplify to the crowd, but it was the crowd area that amplified to the stage which made me wonder who this design was intended to “pump up”… it seems to me it would be the presenters as the sounds of 5,000 attendees would be massively amplified for them.
After hanging out and “experiencing” this place, and answering as many questions as I could that Aidan was asking about the Nazis and Hitler, we started back down the hill. The clouds were clearing up and I was able to get a couple neat pictures on the way down, including Aidan on something we played on at a park we found… we call it the teeter-go-round.
After we returned to the apartment, we went to get pizza for dinner. We ended up at the Hard Rock Cafe… it was not “normal” pizza by our So. Cal. standards, but was the closest thing to normal so far.