Wednesday, 2019 October 02

We were up and moving about the usual time. After breakfast we chilled in the rooms for a bit, then met back in the lobby. I checked us out and requested that our car be brought up. We then waited outside.

Someone pulled up in a black Audi wagon; we all started moving towards it until we realized it wasn't our car. Luckily the valet brought ours up a minute or two later. We loaded up and hit the road.

Getting out of Nuremberg was a little confusing - I think it was due to construction, but we got routed down some very tight residential streets. We did eventually get onto the A6 towards Heidelberg. This was mostly the reverse of the drive we'd made on Saturday; I had originally planned on taking a different route, but I forgot about that until we were well under way. I did remember to set the GPS for a specific parking garage, rather than the city center. I didn't want a repeat of Saturday.

There was construction on the highway (of course), but other than one delay of maybe ten-fifteen minutes we kept up a good pace.

As we approached Heidelberg, Google suggested a different route. It seemed like it would take us through a couple of small towns, so I accepted it. This started out well - the towns were very scenic, and it was nice country - but we just kept getting onto smaller and smaller roads, to the point where they started to resemble paths more than actual streets.

Eventually we ended up with the road closed ahead of us; luckily there was a small hotel there, so we turned around in its parking lot and backtracked until we found an alternate route. This did take us (eventually) to the parking garage I was aimed at, but the roads remained very small and very twisty. I was not a happy camper once we finally emerged onto a relatively major city street.

I made one wrong turn, but got to the parking garage with relatively little drama. Until I tried to park - once again, our big A6 wagon was too much car. I did manage to back into a spot, very slowly and very carefully, with Krista and Dad both guiding me. I had just enough room - barely - to squeeze out of my door.

Dad decided he wasn't up to any more walking, so we left him at the garage. Krista and I walked out of the garage and immediately saw Heidelberg Castle looming beautifully right in front of us.

The path was obvious, so we started walking up it. It was a steep climb and Krista was not a happy camper. We kept going for a while, until we got pretty close and Krista got some photos, but she decided she'd had enough. I was not particularly disappointed by this, so we turned around and headed back down to the car.

This isn't to take anything away from Heidelberg, castle or town. It was absolutely gorgeous, and if we were in better shape and less worn out from the travel we would have loved to explore the area.

Krista went to pay for the parking while I got the car out of the spot. I didn't see Dad when I walked up, but then I realized he was waving at me from the passenger seat of the car. It turns out that I hadn't locked the car when I walked away, and the car next to us had left so Dad just got back in to wait for us. Another car had taken the spot next to us, but I managed to get back into the car and pull out with no drama.

From there we got back onto the highway - the A5 - and got into Frankfurt in about an hour. I found my way to the airport Sheraton and parked in the temporary parking right by the door. We got checked in, which took a while, then went to find our rooms.

The hotel was absolutely huge and our rooms were about as far from the elevators as they could possibly be. I was legitimately worried about Dad, but he made it fairly easily. I then had to backtrack all the way to the elevators, go up a couple floors, and make the same journey to our room. Finally I was able to drop off my bags, then I went to return the car.

Theoretically where I was parked was free for 30 minutes or less. I knew it had been more than 30 minutes so I figured I'd owe maybe a euro. Instead it was 5 euros, absolute highway robbery. I paid, though, and then tried to find the car return. This was not easy - it turned out that there was a fork, more or less, with the hotel one way and the car return the other. So I had to backtrack part of the way out of the airport, then get turned around and retrace my steps, only to take the other fork.

Once I found the car return, it went pretty smoothly. It was a little weird, though - I'm used to American car rentals making sure that all four wheels are still on the car and calling it good. Instead the car was inspected carefully. The woman also asked me how far I'd driven - I don't know, she was just in it, why didn't she check the odometer? But I told her where we'd driven and she estimated the distance from that. She also seemed to not entirely believe me when I told her I'd prepaid for a tank of fuel, even though it was written right on my receipt.

Eventually though she agreed everything was good and I was on my way. This involved taking an elevator up quite a few stories, then a very long walk back to the hotel (entirely inside, though).

I was starving and very thirsty at this point, so I chugged some water in the room. We then headed downstairs and found Dad. We discovered that none of the restaurants were open yet, other than the "sports bar" - and this only served sandwiches and the like.

When Krista had checked us in she'd gotten us club access, so we went to the Sheraton club. They had snacks and beer in the fridge, so we took advantage of those to take the edge off.

After about an hour the hotel restaurants started opening, so I went to check out Taverne, the German-themed offering. I was able to walk right in, so I texted Krista to bring Dad down.

I didn't have high expectations, to be honest - it was decorated way over-the-top, clearly targeting tourists, and the waitstaff was wearing (tasteful) dirndls or lederhosen. It did have beer, though, which I desperately wanted at that point in the day.

It actually turned out to be excellent - the food was great, the service good, and we had a great time. Dad ordered some sort of roast pork and thought it was delicious. I had the pork knuckle (I can't resist bone-in meat) and it was phenomenal. Krista had the spaetzle and raved about it.

We managed to stumble back to our rooms in food comas. Krista and I did a bit more packing and charged all of our devices. I made a Facebook post to a few friends letting them know that we were still alive and everything was going well (generally Krista and I don't post when we're traveling because we're paranoid about people knowing that our house is empty). Then it was bedtime.

Tuesday, 2019 October 01 Thursday, 2019 October 03