Wed 18 Dec - Heidelberg, Germany

Happy Birthday Bill (Di's brother) - our day started with a long distance mobile phone rendition of the famous song. Bill seemed to enjoy it.

Di had woken up feeling headachy, fighting a cold and needed some rest, so after breakfast together she sent out Hans by himself for a few hours.

Hans explored the other, northern side of River Neckar including the Philosophenweg as we yesterday had planned for today. This was how he traversed.

This sign could be found across the Alte Brücke and before the start of the zigzagging up the hill.

A few shots of the quite unique way of getting up to Philosophenweg.

You walk through a very narrow path and on cobblestones all the way. The terraces have been in place for centuries.

It may be a bit spooky here at night...

At the top of the zigzag and at the Philosophenweg, looking back down towards Altestadt and River Neckar.

Running the risk of overexposure, here is yet another shot of the Alte Brücke. It looks so good.

Kaiserstuhl with its telemasts (where we went up yesterday on the Bergbahn) could clearly be seen from Philosophenweg. Yesterday we hiked down from there to the Schloß which you can also see here.

Hans was trying to find our home at Schiffgasse from up there. This is definitely the street and we can see the pointy tower furthest away to our right when we leave the hotel. We also have another cone topped tower in the courtyard of our hotel, and it could be the one in the middle of the photo, but beyond that it was hard to detect anything further.

Philosophenweg goes through this criss cross of terraces and vista points and you feel that this place would be very popular in summer. Today though there were a couple of joggers, a couple of dog walkers and a couple of other tourists beside Hans. In other words, very quiet.

As Hans came up to Philosophenweg after the zigging and zagging, he decided to walk the path less travelled, eastwards rather than the western direction that he had in mind before getting there. It just looked more interesting and it was. The surfaced walkway finished as he entered a bush setting and then a sign pointing towards Oberer (or Upper) Philosophenweg.

And this is how that looked. Off we go onto the Oberer.

Yes, yes, Hans just loves these bush settings and bush tracks.

Fast forward, and Hans wandered in a loop back to the zigzag way, and retraced his foot steps back down to river Neckar, having decided to then wander westwards along the river.

A selfie while having a mandarin break.

Cute! Normally, these signs for vessels have messages along the lines of "f*** off", but here they advised you that if you anchor here during the/a festival, you may not see it all. Cute English too.

River Neckar eastwards from the Theodor-Heuss Brücke. Hans decided here to not wander any further away from home, so he crossed the bridge and walked back on the other southern side.

Di was not in the room where Hans returned around noon and very soon Hans was kicked out as well. Room cleaning in progress.

Hans then went to Starbucks for a cup of tea and Di soon arrived there as well for a tea too.

After Hans left, Di slept for a while and dosed up on tablets. This seemed to help and by 11am she felt ready to head outdoors to

For those regular blog followers you will know this was NOT Di's normal behavior unless its shopping in food markets (she must be sick!). Actually it helped because she bought a new cardigan and camisole which made her feel refreshed and more feminine, and then some necessary moisturizing creams too. About €40 spent in total, not bad and enough shopping for this year.

Di also returned the Patricia Cornwall book she had read to the free book exchange near Bismarckplatz.

After meeting Hans at Starbucks, a fashion show was requested and we returned to our room, waiting briefly for room service to finish, and Di then tried on her outfit and showed Hans. Thumbs up.

A break was now on the agenda for Hans, and Di read and "facebooked" for a while, then went in search of our lunch. It is easy to get food in Heidelberg but good soup was proving tough. Despite the weather they don't really do much soup here, and Sydney is the reverse (weird).

She found a tavern that advertised 3 nice sounding home made soups and went in to try out their tomato, basil pesto soup. Delicious. So she ordered a "mit nehmen" of a potato salmon soup for Hans.

This proved a bit trying for the staff, even though they said it could be done, but they eventually worked it out and after 3 attempts delivered hot soup in a container in a bag. No spoon but we had one so all was OK. Hans liked it so it was worth the effort.

A further lazy afternoon followed and then around 6pm we figured we would have an early dinner.

We had been looking forward to pasta, based on a place we saw last night advertising lots of choices - however poor TripAdvisor reviews of that place (the volatile chef smokes while cooking your food!!??) - sent us in another direction.

This place, the White Knight, has reasonable reviews and we had spotted it yesterday too.

But we were very early and no one else was there except the staff, so we got full and immediate attention.

Di inadvertently was very colour co-ordinated and aligned with the Christmas decorations.

We were happy with our choices - Pretty good seafood penne for Hans and lasagne with salad for Di.

A few more punters arrived around 7pm but we were finishing our meals by then. The staff seemed a bit disorganized (hey, Italian...) so we were glad we ordered and ate early.

Back on the streets and we slowly meandered home. These Christmas markets and surrounding buildings had great lighting.

And this stall was advertising Akubra hats, odd spot for it - OK we got a bit homesick and reflected on being home in 3 weeks time.

One more shop window we browsed reminded us of Timo in Munich (married to Di's cousin Astrid).

For 699€ you could have this very Bavarian outfit complete with lederhosen and cape. Not really suitable for Oz but looked dapper here.

One final shop stop was our local Edeka supermarket or city-markt, which has recieved daily visits from us for nightly supplies of milk for Di (it helps her sleep) and chocolate for both of us. Last time here.

Home to an early night at the end of our Heidelberg stay. Off to meet family again tomorrow...

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