A couple of weekends ago I went to the small German city of Heidelberg for the weekend. It's an old city that was mostly undamaged in the various wars, and thus its old town preserves many of the old buildings. While there, I met up with my friends Heather and Chris who live not too far away in Lausanne, Switzerland.
Pharmacy museum... with an alligator
We mostly spent the weekend wandering outdoors, looking at the various shops, climbing (small) mountains, and enjoying the outdoors. It was a little chilly, but we had a good time. Heidelberg is filled with little peculiarities. For example, up one of the hills is an old castle (you can see the castle in the first picture of this entry). The castle contains, among other things, an apothecary (pharmacy) museum. We learned in the pharmacy museum that the alligator is apparently the animal traditionally associated with pharmacy, so it was common for pharmacists to hang a stuff alligator in their shop.
The Small Vat
Also in the castle was The Big Vat, used for brewing large quantities of beer. The picture at left is not a picture of The Big Vat, it's a picture of a smaller vat in the same area; The Big Vat is too big to fit in a single picture. If you were invited to a party at the castle, you knew it was going to be good.
On the other mountain across the river, there's a famous walkway up the hill called The Philosophers' Walk. Since we were all academics (and in fact two of us were Doctors of Philosophy) we philosophized as we hiked. Our most brilliant thoughts were about building a house on a pair of cable cars: you could just move up or down the hill whenever you wanted. Patent pending. At the top of the hill we found an oldamphitheatre built by the Nazis for propaganda events.
Packages from the German Packaging Museum
Back at street level, there were still more peculiarities to be had. One of them was the German Packaging Museum, a small museum dedicated to packaging. Yes, the packages things come in, and how their designs have changed over the years. It was actually more interesting than we expected, and a fun way to kill an hour.
While we were walking around town on Saturday, we saw this shop selling "Snowballs" ("Schneeballs" in German) which were chocolate (or otherwise) coated balls of dough. We didn't get a chance to have one on Saturday but were hankering for one on Sunday. Unfortunately, the Schneeball store was closed so we feared we wouldn't be able to have one. After an afternoon of walking, however, we found another shop selling Schneeballs and each of us excitedly bought one. We headed back to our hotel to enjoy our snack. The first bite was okay, but less than a quarter of the way through our snowballs we all wanted to give up. I saved mine for "later", and "later" became "the garbage bin". But if we hadn't found the store selling them, we would have been wondering the whole time what we had missed, and now we know.