heidelberg day one

Backpacking Europe1 Comment on heidelberg day one

heidelberg day one

This morning I woke up around 8AM, finished packing, and got breakfast at the hostel with one of my hostel roommates who is originally from Mexico City but is working in Ireland as a short-order cook in a Dublin pub.  I then tried to take the bus to Berlin Central to catch a train to Mannheim at 10:30, but couldn’t find the bus stop so I just decided to walk 3km with my pack to the station.  It was a fine walk, the weather was nice and there weren’t many people out and about.  A car honked at me for taking too long in the crosswalk while I had a green light, but other than that, it was a fine walk, the weather was nice and there weren’t many people out and about.

I missed the 10:30 train by just a few minutes and waited in the station for about an hour before the next one came.  I caught up a little bit on my journaling and got on an 11:32 train to Mannheim.  The ICE train was very nice, it was comfortable and had fast wifi.  I had a row to myself for a while up until a few stops before Frankfurt and many groups of people got on.  One woman got kicked out of her seat because a businessman had reserved that particular seat online and I worried that I was also sitting in someone’s reserved seat since there’s no way of really telling unless they come up to you, but I didn’t have any issues.

I took a tram from Mannheim to Heidelberg that lasted about 15 minutes.  After arriving at the station, I walked about 5 minutes until I got to the hostel and checked in.  I’m staying in a 10 bedroom mixed dorm that is probably double the size in terms of floor space than my past few dorms.  They do laundry for €5, I’m definitely going to take advantage of that while I’m here.

I met Pallav in the room, a masters student at Heidelberg University studying physics originally from Delhi, India.  We walked around Aldstadt, got ice cream and food, and headed back to the hostel.  He insisted on paying for all of the food we got and really wanted to get pictures together.  Although he is significantly shorter than me, he tried his darndest to walk faster than me and stay in the lead even though he didn’t know where we were going.

We had a debate about the metric system vs the US system and he seemed to be really intent on arguing for the US system because he thought I liked the metric system because “everyone else” liked it, but he didn’t seem to understand how the metric system is so fundamentally more efficient.  After he realized that the metric system stands for more than just a “label” and how useful 10s are, he conceded.  He is also very pro Trump, primarily because he liked Trump on WWE and The Apprentice.  I will not go out of my way to hang out with him again.

After coming back to the hostel I met two guys from the US, one a freshman at ASU and another at BYU.  They seemed nice enough but were too excited about being able to drink in Europe and went a little too hard their first night in Germany.  I also met a German guy who is from a town close to Heidelberg but missed his flight to London and had to stay in town for an extra day.

About an hour after meeting these people an older man, probably mid 50s with a large balding spot, came into the room and started cursing out the guy who missed his flight for apparently stealing his bunk.  This older man had just checked into the hostel and had no way of reserving a bunk.  He repeated to tell the flight guy that he was “fucked” and that there are “60 million secret soldiers out looking for people like you”.  He emphasized that this “is not how we do things in Germany” and that there would be “severe consequences”.  The older man has since calmed down quite a bit.  I alerted the hostel staff and will change rooms if anything else happens.

There is an older German man, probably mid to late 40s, in the bunk above mine who made a point of telling me not to move so much (I had just moved my backpack from one side of the bed to the other) because it greatly disturbs his sleep and that I should be more considerate.  Since he has told me this he has made exaggerated turning movements approximately 10 times and I have been completely still sans the motion of my fingers typing.

So far, Heidelberg has been one of the stranger places I’ve visited.  It is beautiful, but the people I’ve interacted with have not been my favorite.  I have 3 nights here and am wondering if that is too much.

EDIT MAY 17:  I just realized that I forgot to do hostel reviews since Amsterdam!  So in Berlin, I stayed at St Chrisopher’s Inn which a 3km walk/bus ride away from Berlin Hauptbahnhof and a 20 minute walk from Alexanderplatz.  Location wise, it was pretty decent considering how sprawled out much of Berlin is.  I was able to get to museum island within 30 minutes and Brandenburg gate within 45.  The hostel is just a few feet away from the Rosa Luxemburg Platz U-Bahn station which would’ve been a lot more helpful had transportation not been as expensive as it was.  The rooms were nice and clean and the beds had curtains that blocked out light very well.  There was an outlet in the headboard of the bunk which was super helpful but just slightly too deep for my adapter which fell out if it wasn’t resting just the right way.  The bathrooms were pretty clean, but for the number of people on each floor I think there could’ve been a few more showers.  Overall, I’d probably stay there again.

a twenty-something photographer & solo traveler based in the San Francisco Bay Area

One thought on “heidelberg day one

  1. Sorry to hear about your poor interactions yesterday. Men from India (i.e. not reared or having lived in a Western country) tend to be very chauvinistic, so unfortunately your interaction with him is not surprising to me. The two guys you ran into in the hostel are idiots. People I met in Heidelberg were nice. In fact I never had a bad experience, so hopefully over the next couple of days you can meet some “real” people who aren’t assholes. You should probably change rooms if the two old idiots are still there.

    Being highly intelligent can be a curse – as you’ve found at different times during your trip. Keep your head up and remember that you’re better than these dumb dumbs – as evidenced by your interactions with everyone else to date. 🙂

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