The week ended with a bang—well, with a firework show by the castle. My posse and I made a day of it, starting with the movie “Friendship!” which we all found highly entertaining. We bought enough supplies for a small picnic on the Neckarwiese as we waited for the fireworks at the castle to start. We were camped out for a good two hours beforehand and much hilarity ensued. We chatted and sat with a group of Germans and the day in general was a load of fun.
Other events of week’s end included another tour of the city with a bit of history attached to it. We formally met the Brueckenaffe (bridge monkey). There was mild disagreement as to whether he’s holding a coin or a mirror in his hand. The mirror theory seems to have more credit because of the short poem next to him:
Was thustu mich hie angaffen? Hastu nicht gesehen den alten Affen zu Heydelberg
sich dich hin und her
Da findest du wol meines gleichen mehr.
Approximately translated thusly: Why are you looking at me? Haven’t you seen the monkey in Heidelberg? / Look around / and you will probably see – more monkeys like me!
The story is that he’s holding the mirror out to people to show them the other monkeys—themselves!
I braved yet more public transportation Friday evening with friends as we made the short trip from Heidelberg to Bad Duerkheim for a wine festival. Not just any wine festival, but apparently “das groesste Weinfest der Welt!” The biggest in the world! A parade greeted us upon our arrival in the town, and people on the floats were literally pouring out free wine. Inside the fair was just as fun, with food stands and sweet stands and rides as far as the eye could see. Tables were set up under tents and crowded with people drinking and sampling different types of beverages. It was a fun experience and I enjoyed myself, even if I didn’t actually get around to drinking anything.
Another highlight for me was making a new friend, a lovely woman named Biene. We met up after being introduced by my German professor via Facebook. She was kind enough to buy me Spaghettieis, which, by the way, is being added to the list of things we need in America. We chatted and watched the people go by. She was also cool enough to drive me back to Neuenheimer Feld. I hope we can meet up again soon!
Today has been slow and uneventful, which is probably a healthy break from the past week. I chatted with my newest housemate, a friendly German named Alex. He put it in my head to go see a theatrical production of Kafka’s “Das Urteil,” showing in a small theatre not far from our neighborhood. I think I shall, but not this evening. For now, I’m content to sit with the door to my balcony open and listen to an anonymous neighbor playing a solo concert on what I assume is a violin. It’s overcast but peaceful outside. I can’t wait to see what next brings with language lessons and buckling down to work.