The red sandstone church we passed on our way from the Rhine into the town center was really pretty. I can't resist a crypt, so we wandered around down there to see a bit of old artwork and statuary affixed to the walls.
It was a tad too early in the day for all of the Christmas market stalls to be open, but we still had fun walking around to see what they had on offer.
Lo and behold, we ran across a temporary Kathe Wohlfahrt store, the Christmas ornaments mothership, and we had to take a look. Of course, we found a few things we just couldn't resist. SOME of us packed light so we would have plenty of space to bring back souvenirs. And then there was
After lunch back on board the ship, we headed out for a bus ride to Heidelberg, where we took a walking tour that afternoon and got to do a bit more snooping around the Christmas markets. By this time, we were just about Christmased out. Seriously, neither of us wanted to invest in a larger tree to accommodate all of the super cute ornaments and decorative items we were seeing. Plus it's not like you can keep this stuff out all year without looking like some sorta freak... right?
We had a nice time in Heidelberg, the old city on one side of the Rhine and beautiful period homes gracing the opposite side of the white capped water as cold wind whistled across it.
The Christmas pyramid, above, would look really nice as part of my holiday yard decor. It would be a wonderfully festive touch out by the pool at our home in Texas. We can get the girls to man the gluhwein stand directly beneath it. Maybe add a keg of beer since it's seldom cold enough for hot beverages during a typical December in the Lone Star State.
There were lots of college-aged students roaming the streets and I was immediately struck with the thought that this would be a great place for the teen to do a semester of study abroad. After a whirl through a permanent Kathe Wohlfahrt store, surprise-surprise, we dropped into a bakery with attached tearoom. We sat for a while until one of the efficient German waitresses stopped to let us know that we needed to place our dessert order next door in the bakery while ordering our quiche and drinks from her. As expected, the older German ladies wanting a slice of kuchen stepped right in front of me to place their order even though I had been standing there before they arrived and they knew it. I hadn't opened my mouth, so it's not as if they knew right off the bat I was an American. This is one of those little European quirks that bugs the hell outta me, this inability to be polite and wait for their turn. They get so many things right - train timetables, great cars, tasty sausage - but all of that is negated when they cut in line in front of me.
The Christmas stalls were all beginning to look the same to me, so here are some pics of interesting things I saw in old Heidelberg.
Above is Heidelberg Castle atop the hill overlooking us. We had the option of touring it, but it was over uneven ground, only a shell and in the cold winter wind, so we just had a nice view of it during the walking tour of old town.
Here is a pic of our ship when we were docked in Speyer. It was launched in May of this year and had lovely modern decor.
And below is a shot of a large tree outline along the river when we returned from our trip to Heidelberg. I don't know how I missed this in the daylight since we walked right past it, but I did.