Be Back Whenever


Gluhwein and Friends Heidelberg

We flew Condor from the Seychelles to Frankfurt because that’s the only direct flight to Germany and we really didn’t want to connect through either Istanbul or Dubai. The flights all leave Mahe late at night (10 PM or later), making the connections at 0 Dark 30.

After flying for 10 hours, the Condor flight landed on time and our body had a small weather shock.  It was about 85 F when we left the Seychelles and it was 32 F when we landed in Germany.  What was Mark wearing??  You guessed it – shorts!  One flight attendant looked at him and said, “I hope you have pants packed someplace.”  He did!

Our luggage with all our summer and safari clothes actually showed up and we managed to have some coffee before we met the Lufthansa shuttle to Heidelberg. The room was ready when we showed up at 10 AM and our suitcases with winter clothes (We’d left them in Heidelberg with friends.) were waiting for us! By the time we sorted out dirty clothes and found warm clothes, the snow started. The Christmas markets are pretty magical when everything is white, even if it was wet snow.  When we wandered back to the markets in the evening for some more gluhwein (Susan’s favorite!), the snow stopped and was all melted!

Snowy Heidelberg shopping street

Snowy Heidelberg shopping street

Snow at the Christmas Market in Heidelberg

Snow at the Christmas Market in Heidelberg

Mark melted snow on face in Lowenbrau

Mark has melted snow flakes on his face from all the wet snow. Yes, we were having a dunkel beer to warm up!  And he’s wearing the U. of Iowa scarf to stay warm.

It’s always nice to see familiar faces and this time we enjoyed meals with 2 different sets of German friends.  The first night (after we managed to get our clothes washed!) we met Joachim at Heidelberger Kulturbrauerei for beer and dinner.  The sauerbraten was really good, and the side dishes were enough for all to share.  Their November beer was good even if we drank it in  December!

Christmas wreath

Christmas wreath at Kulturei Brauerei

The second night after a day of shopping for supplies, we met Bettina, Michelle, and Hermann for gluhwein at the Christmas market and dinner at the Zum Güldenen Schaf.  It was a fun night with the gang who’s being so kind to store our suitcases and clothes so we don’t have to take them all with us everywhere!

Christmas market pyramid

This Christmas pyramid was on the main square in Heidelberg. There were at least 5 different market locations in the city, including one with an ice rink.

Drinking gluhwein

We were all trying some Gluhwein. It’s pretty hard to hold the cup with mittens on.

9/14 An “Amazing Race” sort of day

Getting to Frankfurt was no problem from Dulles but when we tried to go to Heidelberg on the Lufthansa Express Bus Shuttle, it was a whole other story – best described as an “Amazing Race” kind of day.  As a preface to the story, we each had 2 suitcases with us – one hard-sided and one rolling duffel bag that we need for the safari and we wanted to go to Heidelberg to leave the duffel bags with friends until it’s time to fly to Tanzania.  Oh, it was POURING down rain in Frankfurt when we landed.

We booked the Lufthansa Heidelberg shuttle in August sometime so we wouldn’t have to manhandle 2 suitcases on the train with a change needed in Mannheim.  We knew exactly where the stop was the last time we did this about 6 weeks ago and we lugged our suitcases up 2 escalators or elevators and across from Arrivals to the train station to the stop.  Alas … a sign was posted that the shuttle pickup location (Wrong location #1) was changed as of September 1 to “P29 by the vending machine” but with no hint as to where P29 could possibly be located in the Frankfurt airport.

We knew the “P” probably indicated a PARKING location so the hunt began!  We asked a Lufthansa employee by the Lufthansa Shuttle desk and she sent us to the bus lot, involving another trek and an elevator ride.  Not there! (Wrong location #2)  We asked a Lufthansa bus driver there for help and his answer was “I get asked all the time and I have no idea.” Back up the elevator and, now, we see a Frankfurt Airport Information phone that Mark picks up and promptly hands to Susan.  After 5 minutes with the Information lady (She tried to send me to wrong locations 1 and 2 and I had to convince her I just needed to know where P29 is.), I finally got a good answer – Go to Arrivals Hall, exit the building, turn left and walk to the end of the building.

Before we manhandled the suitcases on two more escalators, Susan went exploring and found the location, we hoped, went back to Mark and we took our bags to P29. Now there are 2 vending machines to choose from, no signage for Lufthansa Shuttle although there is signage for other shuttles and we had 45 minutes to wait to see if we really found the correct location.  I called the Lufthansa Shuttle number and the guy who answered sounded like he knew what he was talking about and convinced me we are in the right location.  Grabbed sandwiches while we waited and, sure enough, the Heidelberg Lufthansa Shuttle showed up at the closest vending machine that had no cover from the rain. Yes, it’s still pouring down rain.

The driver was from York, England, and explained the whole mess with shuttle locations.  We were the only passengers and he was kind enough to drop us at our Ibis hotel when we got to Heidelberg.  Success at last but I now know how the Amazing Race players feel because we had NO idea – and neither did anyone else – where P29 is.

Frankfurt airport map P29

Where is P29 when you have no map?

After we made it to Heidelberg, we were in need of a shower, nap, food, and a beer in that order. The room wasn’t ready so we settled for food and beer and THEN a nap and a shower, a few hours later.

Kulturei Braueri beer

KulturBrauerei glass of Fest beer

Fountain at Castle in Heidelberg

Fountain in the gardens at Heidelberg Castle

Heidelberg and river

View from the castle looking on the Neckar River after a walk in Heidelberg