For most of my visits to Strasbourg, France I returned home by going directly to Frankfurt airport for my flight. It is about two and one half hours away by Lufthansa bus, slightly longer by Flixbus as they usually make one brief stop. My friend from Alsace has driven me there as well. This year we had to change the plan.
Our return flight left early in the day so our options were to stay overnight near Frankfurt, or get to some place were we could make the journey in a short period of time. We decide to go to Heidelberg for two nights.
Heidelberg is a university town nestled among surrounding mountains in the Rhine Rift Valley. The Nekar River flows through the valley with the town being largely on one side and the Heidelberg mountain rising on the other. At just 48 miles from Frankfurt, it was a good place to be within early striking distance of our morning flight.
The population of the city is approximately 160,000 with a fourth of that said to be students at the renowned university. Founded it 1386, it is Germany’s oldest and one of the world’s most respected universities. It’s buildings are spread out over a large section of the old town.
The oldest streets are narrow, and making your way down them by on foot or by vehicle can be a challenge. Nevertheless, we found the city a great place to explore on foot. Narrow streets may surprise you by opening up onto plazas or university sites that provide open spaces.
In our travels about town, we often noticed many flower shops. For late October we found the abundance of flowers to be amazing. The moderate temperature and somewhat longer growing season may be partly responsible. The cultural interest certainly comes into play as tourists are not likely buying any.
In all of the European cities we explore, we stop by churches of many denominations. We often find structures of architectural and historical significance. Many still operate as churches. A few are no more than museums now. Some are both actually.
Almost in the shadow of the largest Heidelberg church, seen at the end of the main street above, is the Parish Church of the Holy Spirit and St. Ignatius, or more commonly known as the Church of the Jesuits. Built between 1712 and 1759, the church steeple was added over a century later.
Throughout the oldest section of town are buildings of the Universitat Heidelberg. One of the more impressive is the main library building, constructed between 1901 and 1905. It holds a collection of printed books counting in the millions, as well as paintings, maps and photographs, films and video. Of course, they are up to modern methods, with e-journals and other electronic services.
While the “modern” library is early 20th century, the university library dates back to 1388. It has enjoyed several locations around town. The Bibliothek, or central library, you see here is one of many libraries in the university system.
While the tram system is a good way to get around, students as well as many locals know that the best way to travel about is by bicycle. You will find that many of the university building are surrounded by bicycles throughout the day. With automobile traffic being difficult, if not impossible, around many of the school buildings, the only ways to navigate the distances between buildings are on foot and by bike.
For the Heidelberg stop over we rented an apartment near a tram station. We found it on Booking.com as we searched sites for our stay. It was a bit more than a hotel perhaps, but the large space had a kitchen, large living room and large bedroom. It had a washing machine which was essential at this late part of our trip. One of the things that amazes me around Europe are the washer and dryers, as they are actually the same machine. I just don’t know why we continue to buy two machines, but I digress. The apartment had everything you would need to set up shop, although we did no cooking. We used the refrigerator, however, to chill the wine we brought from Strasbourg and there were wine glasses in the cabinet.
Our brief visit to Heidelberg was just a day and a half, two nights. It did not give us enough time to see all of the historic sites. The autumn weather was mild and we were able to take many meals “in the streets” as my friend likes to say. Out living quarters were at the end of a quiet street in a beautiful old apartment building. Autumn would seem a lovely time to visit and we will hope we can add Heidelberg to our itinerary again.
If you don’t think climate change is real, this has been a good month to check your sense of reality. Autumn started September 20th this year and since then, we’ve had 18 inches of rain, 9 of those inches in this month. November. Not generally a particularly wet month for rain or snow.
This is the autumnal part. Some of these were shot by Garry Armstrong, the rest by me.
Photo: Garry Armstrong – The last of autumn in early November
Our leaf-covered bunny slope — AKA our driveway.
And we’ve had both, as well as a bit of brilliant autumn. We were in Connecticut when the first snow came down. We came home to snow, then the temperature rose. It rained and then the snow melted.
At the beginning of the month, we still had fresh roses growing in the garden.
Photo: Garry Armstrong – The last of autumn in early November
Curves also have a vanishing point
And then, the plants came down from their hooks and the bird feeders went up … and suddenly, the world was full of hungry birds!
My Christmas Cactus is blooming, my bird feeder is attracting literally flocks of birds. The rivers have risen to their peak and any significant additional rain will cause at least minimal flooding.
It’s been a wild and crazy month with icy cold, warm rain, heavy wind, snow and usually one sunny day at some point in the week. Or at least half a day, or a few hours.
We’re not supposed to get more rain — or snow — until Sunday, by which time it will already be December. Crazy month!
About The Changing Seasons
The Changing Seasons is a monthly challenge where bloggers around the world share what’s been happening in their month.
If you would like to join in, here are the guidelines:
The Changing Seasons Version One (photographic):
1 – Each month, post 5-20 photos in a gallery that you feel represent your month
2 – Don’t use photos from your archive. Only new shots.
3 – Tag your posts with #MonthlyPhotoChallenge and #TheChangingSeasons so that others can find them
The Changing Seasons Version Two (you choose the format):
1 – Each month, post a photo, recipe, painting, drawing, video, whatever that you feel says something about your month
2 – Don’t use archive stuff. Only new material!
3 – Tag your posts with #MonthlyPhotoChallenge and #TheChangingSeasons so others can find them.
It’s cold out and there’s snow in the driveway. We haven’t found a plow guy yet, but we live in hope. As long as he or she (we’ve never found a she who drives a plow, but why not?) gets here before we need an oil delivery, we’re good.
Martha Kennedy suggested YakTrax so we can walk up our frozen driveway and not fall on our collective heads and the dogs like snow a lot better than they like rain. They hate rain.
Well, to be fair, Gibbs feels that the sofa is the right place for him pretty much all the time, but the Duke loves everything. Bonnie only goes out when it’s 72 degrees with a light breeze.
Never you mind. We will survive winter. I just wish it hadn’t decided to begin before Thanksgiving.
The last time we had a big snow in early November, we got 120 inches for the season which was an all-time record. Even if you really like snow, that is a great deal of snow and a lot of money for plowing.
Meanwhile, I’m still living in my dreams of the autumn we almost had. Don’t ruin my dreams. I need them.
A few days ago, our entire property was completely covered by a full carpet of oak leaves. You couldn’t see anything but leaves and broken branches from the trees. The rain and wind have never quit for more than a day or two at a time.
The leaf vacuum crew came and cleaned us up yesterday and while we aren’t completely free of leaves … there are always more up there in the trees … we can see the deck and the driveway … and even the front lawn.
Of course, the rain and the wind are coming back. It’s going to be a bad week. Regardless, we’re going to be away in Connecticut for a few days, so the dogs and the weather are going to have to try and get along without us for a few days.
The weather has gotten pretty weird. It’s hard to explain, but it doesn’t “feel” normal. The weather has always followed a pattern. Not the exact same pattern every year, but typically in late August, you’d see the first yellow leaves. Night time temperatures would begin to drop which triggered the leaf change.
By mid-September, nights were chilly, even though the days were usually quite warm. By the end of September, at least half the trees had changed color and two or three weeks later, by mid-October, Autumn peaked. When we got lucky, it would linger a couple of extra weeks. If the winds didn’t rise and we didn’t get a lot of rain, you might still see quite a lot of fall right through November.
This year, spring never came. Summer started more than a month late and the flowers that bloom in May didn’t bloom until July. Some never bloomed at all. The dry days of summer never happened and the wind and the rain have continued undaunted and as far as I can tell, are not going to stop. Eventually, it will be cold enough that the wind and rain will become snow and rain.
We didn’t really have Autumn or spring. We’ve had a few days here and there, but mostly, it’s not the seasons. It’s just weather.
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